Right Corneal Graft Rejection
This last week last been been stressful and I’ve yet something else vision-wise to adjust to.
Last Sunday I noticed mistiness, pain and weeping in my right eye. Having had similar symptoms when the 25 year old corneal graft in my left eye began to reject and I needed a partial re-graft in May last year, I feared the same thing was happening again, but this time in my right eye, which had originally been grafted 22 years ago.
My vision in that eye has never been good. As a child I had a pellet flicked into to it from a catapult and that caused me some vision loss. Eighteen months ago I was assaulted by someone with mental health problems. She punched the right side of my face causing me to sustain a retinal bleed. Both of these things affected my distance vision considerably but I have retained some close vision.
I was anxious to get to Moorfields to get my eye examined. I desperately wanted to go early the following day, Monday. But I have been waiting for several months to have the gate to my balcony replaced and Monday was the day this was finally going to happen. This may seem like a insignificant thing, but my next post, ‘The Gate’ will explain why this was so important to me.
So it was very early on Tuesday morning that I left home, grateful that the glop problem I had experienced on my left lens had now been solved and I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to wear my left lens all day.
I got to Moorfields just before 8am, and was just about to reverse into my favourite parking space when I very large lorry drove over the pavement and manoeuvred into the gap! I was not happy! I got out of the car, but not quickly enough to speak to lorry driver, who had, conveniently for him, disappeared. He was parked illegally, the bay was only able to be used by cars with residents permits or Blue Badge holders. So I had to find another space quickly as I wanted to get to the Emergency Department before the morning rush. The only space I could find had unmarked orange bollards at one end of it, not a valid way of preventing parking, but a ploy often used by builders who want a particular space. Unashamedly, I parked my car and moved the bollards, so I could get my wheelchair out.
Fortunately from this new space, I was able to get to the hospital without taking my wheelchair on the road, a very dangerous things to do, as I would be invisible to any lorry going in or out of the building site beside the hospital. I didn’t want to end up as a wheelchair casualty.
At the Emergency Department I was quickly seen by a Nurse, and then by the Doctor, he examined my eye thoroughly and then sent me for an ultrasound on my right eye. I’ve had ultrasounds done on other parts of my body, but this was a new experience.
It was painless and quite comfortable, just a light touch over my closed eye lid. Technology is so wonderful, from the optical ultrasound it was determined that I had no detached retina or retinal bleed. I was relieved, at least with a diagnosis of graft rejection, I knew what I was facing.
The Doctor instructed me to use Dexamethasone drops every half hour into my right eye, and use a steroid ointment at night. Then an appointment was made for me to see the Corneal Fellow two days later.
All I had to do now was collect my medication, whilst waiting, the Moorefields Mascot paid a visit to pharamacy, encouraging patients to visit the research unit to see what when on there. Tempting though this was, I just wanted to get home.
Three hours after I arrived I was leaving Moorefields, excellent quick treatment, the NHS at its best.
The cone dumping builders were waiting for the space I had appropriated, but at least they weren’t abusive. I was just pleased to get back in my car and be able to drive home.
On Thursday, as I was waiting for my next appointment, Ken Pullum walked passed me, most surprised find me at the clinic, and no doubt relieved that it wasn’t him I’d come to see with yet another problem with my scleral lenses!
The Corneal Fellow, whom I had met briefly last year, decided to prescribe me systemic steroids, to see if that, combined with the topical steroid drops and ointment would reduce my swollen and waterlogged cornea. I was to take 50mg of Prednisolone for 3 days, 25mg for 3 days, 15mg for 3 days and finally 5mg for 3 days.
I was to return the following week to see my own consultant to discuss any future treatment and possible future surgery.
After all the difficulties caused by not being able to get my care hours increased following my surgery last year, I wanted to have a whole year without hospitalisation. It looks now as though this may not be possible.
My only consolation, is that at least if I do need surgery, the good vision I have in my left eye will enable me to be reasonably independent post-operatively.
My only worry is that my balance is very poor at the moment, I’m having at least one fall a day. I’m not sure if this is due to or exacerbated by my loss of vision in my right eye. Part of the reason I know is the unsuitability of this flat, the lack of space I have and not being able to use my wheelchair inside the flat. Carrying trays from kitchen to living room or drinks to my bedroom is hazardous, and would be so much safer if I could use a trolley or my wheelchair.
So amidst having to prepare for probable future surgery I must increase my efforts to move from this flat, it is becoming a more dangerous place for me to be, and moving needs to happen soon, for both my safety and sanity.