Today I have a digital eye screening for diabetic retinopathy.
Since I probably won’t be able to write much shortly I’m typing this as I walk to my appointment.
The rain that’s been a feature of the last two days has stopped and once again it’s sunny – which doesn’t bode well for my eyeballs afterwards.
Bright light will hurt.
For those of you unfamiliar with what I’m about to have done – it’s an ongoing testing regime for diabetics where you have drops put in your eyes to dilate your pupils before someone takes flash photographs of your retina.
It’s as pleasant as it sounds.
Your eyes are sensitive to light and your vision is blurred for hours afterwards.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes though it’s essential because this test aims to give an early warning about any degradation in the small capillaries and blood vessels in your eyes.
In the long term this aims to reduce the complications associated with diabetic retinopathy – which can lead to premature blindness if undiagnosed.
Since my diabetes still appears to be in full remission I’m hoping that this will be the last time that I have to do this.
I really want to get a letter in the post afterwards saying that everything is still completely clear.
I’m also dearly looking forward to the day where my GP states categorically that I no longer need to be on the diabetic register.
Once I’m off it I’ll have to pay for my NHS prescriptions again – but honestly I’ve barely visited the doctor for any kind of illness since I started to improve my health and fitness two and a half years ago – so this really doesn’t bother me at all.
Although my overall health has dramatically improved (see my list of non-scale victories in my menu) the one that I’m MOST proud of is my reversal of diabetes.
On the 13th January 2014 my doctor first told me I had blood sugar that was way out of control.
I had a HbA1c reading of 94.
At the time I’d been unable to stop going to the loo every 45 minutes, could barely drive home in the time I needed between desperate visits to the toilet and had wet the bed twice because I couldn’t get up to go to the toilet in time.
I could also barely see (although I didn’t realise this was related until a while later) because my vision had become so blurry.
My glasses were making absolutely no difference by then and my job (which required me to be in front of a monitor for eight hours a day) left me with diabolically painful eye strain.
I’d also purchased a 55in TV to play video games on – not because (as most of my peers assumed) I was obsessed with the latest technology – but because looking at anything smaller made my eyes water after half an hour.
I was a mess – but I didn’t realise HOW BAD my eyesight had become until it got better.
(Author arrives at the doctor and goes to get some drops put in his eyes)
The fuzziness is beginning to gradually take over and it’s becoming more difficult to see my phone as I type in the waiting room.
After speaking to the nurse about no longer having to do this it seems that I’m on the screening register for life, unless I decide to voluntarily opt out.
If I do this means that I’ll not be tested again for three years – and I’m not sure how I feel about this.
On the one side I’d love to never have to go through this again – but maybe it’s stupid of me to opt out just because I want to be free of something in my head.
What if in doing so I stop getting tested and miss something that has begun to degrade regardless of how careful I’m being with my diet and exercise?
I’m going to have to think about this at length. I have struggled with my eyesight for many years (because I’m largely unable to see through one eye) and I’ve always been hyper paranoid about the possibility of blindness.
If something happens to my good eye then it would change my life dramatically.
(Things become too blurry to type so I just sit and wait for my test)
Now it’s much later in the evening. The vague nausea and headache that I always get after these drops is beginning to subside and I’m still thinking about diabetes.
I’m annoyed at myself a little for wanting it to just magically disappear in a puff of smoke and I guess I’m having to face up to the fact that to some extent it will probably always have to be a feature of my life.
Maybe that’s a good thing though.
Maybe I’m better off that way – because if it’s an ever present fear then I always have a reminder of what might happen if I take my foot off the gas.
I don’t plan to any time soon.
Enough with the contemplation. I get my results in four to six weeks. Hopefully they’re all clear and then we can move on to my HbA1c test.
I really wish that I hadn’t done this to myself in the first place.
It would have been nice to have grasped what was really important in life before I damaged myself do much – but I guess everything happens for a reason.
If nothing else for others I’m both a cautionary tale AND an example of how to attempt self repair.
I guess it’s much better than being a name carved in granite and for that Internet I’m really grateful.
I’m going to sleep now, happy in the knowledge that I’m well and that when I wake up this cruddy sensation will be gone.