One of the biggest fears I have, associated with my diabetes, is the development of retinopathy. Put simply, diabetic retinopathy is caused when the diabetes affects the small blood vessels in the retina. It can eventually lead to blindness, especially if a person continues to have poor diabetes management. What scares me most about this, is that diabetic retinopathy progresses with time, but may not cause symptoms until it is advanced and close to affecting a person’s sight.
I have in my mind, the memory of my grandad progressively losing his sight, as a result of him refusing to manage his diabetes sensibly. By the time he passed away in March 2012, he could barely see. He carried around a magnifying glass, but this didn’t make much difference. It still haunts me, the fact that if my grandad had treated his diabetes differently, he could still be alive today. Toward the end, I gave up trying to make my grandad realise what he was doing to his body. He wouldn’t listen to his own granddaughter. That makes me angry and sad.
All this being said, is leading toward my annual retinal screening. Friday 1st November. Another month, another hospital appointment. Seriously, I feel like I live in the hospital! I should at least have my own car parking space, by now.
I told the retinal photographer about my constant blood-shot eyes. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like this is anything diabetes-related. Still, something I need to get checked out with the optician. Unfortunately for me, I completely forgot about the eye drops. You can imagine my horror when I see the lady coming toward me with a pot of eye drops. I can only wonder what must be in that little pot, to make my vision near enough disappear. I’d rather not think about it.
Anyway, fifteen minutes later, with blurry eyes, I had my photo taken of the back of my eye. Big flash, and bam! I find it quite amazing the capability of today’s technology. If only I were that amazed by the waiting times to get my results. I was told that there didn’t seem to be anything significant, but I would have to wait 4-5 weeks for my results. It feels like time freezes whenever I’m waiting for results.
The worst thing about my retinal screening, is the headache that follows. This year, I broke a record. My headache lasted a whole 3.5 days! However, it’s much better to have a headache, than lose my sight. I can cope with a headache (just!).
On a lighter note, the day of my retinal screening, was a day filled with giggles. All week, I had been having trouble getting the needles for my insulin pens, so I decided to try the pharmacy at the hospital. However, I don’t think I was taken very seriously, due to the massive sunglasses I was wearing! I then proceeded to bake a loaf of gluten free bread, whilst wearing the sunglasses. I managed to save myself from embarrassment, remembering at the last minute, to take my glasses off when answering the door to the postman!