Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flashing Lights

So I'm back.  I can't believe it's so long - five weeks - since I've written a blog post.

Firstly, I was away - - from mid-August to the end of August - and then I was busy.  I plunged straight back into working with the actors' agency and also with the medical students, plus some work with nurses too.

I've just started teaching on a new course for medical students.  Well, it's new to me, though this is the third year it has run.  Most of the other teachers working on it have done it before, and I want to do it as well as possible, so it's taken a lot of work to get ready for it.

Our summer holiday was wonderful.  Down through France, a week in Northern Spain, and then back through France again.  Temperatures over forty degrees.  Mediaeval hill villages.  Mountain scenery.  Swimming in the gloriously warm and clear Mediterranean.  Everywhere we went I wanted to stay longer - - except for Tarrega in Spain, which is where our car broke down.  Although it was traumatic at the time, it meant we had to stay an extra two nights in Alquezar, which is a stunningly beautiful mountain village.  Wonderful.

I have a few stories and I'll be telling them to you - - !

But then I got the flashing lights.  Yes, I planned to start blogging again last week but suddenly my left eye developed its own little firework display.  No colours though - just white light, flashing like crazy.

Which, when you're in bed, in the middle of the night, and everything is dark, is scary.  It's scary when you open your eyes and see a lot of white flashes.  It's even scarier when these continue when you've shut them.

My eyes are SHUT!  Why can I see LIGHT?  PANIC!

All this working with doctors and medical students has given me a kind of lay knowledge of a lot of medical conditions so of course I had a think about the worst ones first.

Brain tumour?  No, I didn't think so, I didn't have any of the associated symptoms.

Detached retina?  Now, I wasn't sure - - I knew that can cause lights, but I thought there would be other symptoms too.  The Communist had a detached retina in his mid-eighties so I knew a little bit about it.  I was pretty sure it wasn't that - - but not certain.

Migraine?  Well, I've had three migraines in my life.  One when I was a teenager at the seaside, one when I was teaching and one when I was pregnant.

The one when I was teaching was the scariest - - I suddenly went almost completely blind and had to leave a very difficult class, secure in the knowledge that if I didn't get someone else there fast to cover for me there wouldn't be much left of the classroom.

Anyway.  Doctor?  Optician?  Accident and Emergency?

Yes, well, soon, I thought.  I'm not missing my trip to Chester Zoo.  (More about that later, too!)  And I've got some work to do for the actors and some filming to do and some third-years to teach  - - -

So finally on Friday I went to the nurse (the doctors were all booked up).  But she went and found a handy GP (as I thought she would), who peered at my eye for ages and said he didn't think it was a detached retina (there'd be more symptoms) and he thought it was migraine, because you can get migraine without the headache.  They were very thorough - I was in there for over half an hour.

Then on Saturday I went for an eye test, which was due anyway, fortunately.  My eyesight has never been of the best.  I have blogged previously about my first ever eye test, age five.

"Just read the letters on that board, dear."  "WHAT board?" - - And so it was discovered that I needed glasses - - !

The optician yesterday was great.  She took ages and was really thorough - I had some "floaters" in my left eye and hence kept failing the peripheral vision test - I had to do it three times until finally I passed it!

Because of the "floaters" and because the flashing lights were in a particular part of my eye, she concluded that it wasn't migraine.  Apparently there's a gel sac attached to the retina which can detach - it's NOT the same as a detached retina which is far more serious - and sometimes bits get left behind, and if they do then you see a flash of light every time you look in that direction, and have "floaters" too from the bit that's come off.

Eventually it should subside - - and indeed it is doing.  The firework display is now down to only a few sparklers.

But it was very frightening, I can tell you, and I feel very fortunate that it wasn't anything worse.

I'll be back soon to tell some tales of other things.


Anonymous Ruth said...

I really hope it does resolve itself quickly. Eyesight issues can be truly horrible.
PS I'm third time of trying to prove I'm not a robot by typing the captcha characters :(
(maybe I am a robot or my eyes aren't working well)

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Shooting Parrots said...

Glad to hear that it is calming down. I must say that my first thought was migraine when you described it.

4:30 pm  
Anonymous Christine said...

Glad you had a great holiday and that the flashing lights didn't appear while you were away. And goodness, that must have been scarey! Hope it continues to improve.

7:00 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I'm glad you had a lovely holiday in France and Spain but sorry to hear about the flashing lights. Hopefully, you're through the worst of it. Looking forward to tales from those nether regions and that night when Fernando the matador whisked you off your feet when Stephen was blotto with Ian at the sangria festival.

7:24 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Welcome back! You and your posts were missed.

12:31 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home