Detached again – the Sequel

Since receiving many positive comments about the blog entry “Detached in Rockhampton”, I have been concerned about how to keep that level of excitement and interest in the blog given the lack of travel opportunities. So I have done what film producers do when bereft of ideas, create a sequel.

As I sit in the entrance of St Andrews hospital (last Thursday), I am reflecting that this blog entry was planned to wax lyrical about the marvellous progress I had made since my detached retina operation four weeks ago.  Alas, I am scheduled for more surgery in two hours’ time as the first round is failing. In spite of the great surgery, careful recovery progress, the bottom of my retina is detaching again and will continue to do so unless more radical surgery is undertaken. 

Our first checkup after four weeks saw us travel to the Queensland Eye Institute armed with a list of questions based the next phase in the recovery, when to swim, bicycle, travel etc.  It took less than a couple of minutes for Dr Shama to dissolve this plan after reviewing left eye scans.

Plan B: a rubber band and some 5W-20 or was it 10W-30 given our warmer climes? I believe that the technical term is a Left Vitrectomy, detached Retina with buckling. Yes they use a belt and buckle around the eyeball, what fun.

Seriously, as the gas bubble dissipated and was being replaced by natural liquid, the pressure was reduced and the retina has not stayed stuck to the back of the eye. The gas bubble works in 80% of cases, just not in mine. The planned option is to fit a silicone belt buckled around the eyeball and inject a silicone based oil then in place of the removed gas.  The oil will remain in place for up to six months before a further operation to remove the oil next year.  If successful, I should recover 30 to 50 percent of my left eye’s vision. I got all this news at 11am just before we were due to have lunch with friends. No eating and drinking allowed for me.  I just had to watch, as no food or drink for at leat six hours before surgery, while Anne and our friends tucked into a tasty looking lunch.

I think hospital wards must be a little like aircraft, the crews are always different as no one from my last operation four weeks ago is around this time in the same ward (2F). The paperwork is significant and duplicates all that I did four weeks ago. However it is to ensure I get the right surgery so no complaints here. 

I have the same surgeon and anaesthetist as last time so the team is all together again. Dr Sharma organised the people he wanted on the team again with little notice. A big thanks there.

I just hope the after party blues will not be as bad as last time. Sadly I have been told the procedure will be more uncomfortable than the first time. My discussion with the anaesthetist about how seedy I felt leads to a change in anaesthetic mix. I had been chatting with the anaesthetic nurse and she had enlightened me to all the mixing drugs and monitoring of the patient that goes on during the operation.  I just thought that the mask went on and then it was off to coffee for the anaesthetist. Must be all the old masters paintings I have seen where they anaesthetic was administered via alcohol or a piece of blunt wood.  Science has moved on, thankfully.

Let’s get this show on the road.

I am told I have wiggly veins in my hand so the cannula into my arm near the elbow. Sadly no more commentary as the lights go out pretty quickly so over to my photo team. 

Anne has asked that I include a warning this time for those of a more sensitive disposition. So here goes WARNING – DETAILED MEDICAL PROCEDURES ARE  INCLUDED IN THE FOLLOWING PHOTOGRAPHS.

The team hard at work to save my retina.
Look at the neat stitching.
Just pull the thread a little tighter.
Amazing the skill level to do this. (A Closeup)

Back in recovery and while I drift in and out of consciousness in the first few minutes I do not feel seedy as I did last time. The change in the mix of anaesthetics has worked and I feel good.

Back to my room in ward 2F and a quiet night’s sleep as there is very little elective surgery that day.  I am the only patient for eye surgery.

Taking it easy after a busy evening on the operating table.

Two new things I learnt in hospital this time, firstly some people have  this operation up to five or six times, not me I hope.  Secondly remember, while recovering from the effects of the anaesthetic,  the nurses adjust the bed up and down for treatment and when you get out of bed they have not shortened or lengthened your legs.

Safely home with Anne caring for me.
Day 6

So what’s next?  After a week on my back, opposite of the last time, and a further week of recovery, I return to the surgeon for a follow up.  I must wait for three to six months before the oil is extracted, yes another operation under general anaesthetic, but I am planning for this to be the last of the eye blogs. Again a big thanks to all involved in my treatment and this was all done in the space of 10 hours, two less than last time.

– Anthony

23 comments on “Detached again – the Sequel

  1. So detailed, Anthony. I hope these blogs will be included in your book! So tough for you both… such an active couple. Many moons ago I worked in the Manchester Eye hospital and know time and rest is the key with detached retinas. Keep smiling… you have a good nurse . Hugs to you both 😘😘

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    • Not sure about the colour change? Always been brown. Wanted to to do a video of the bed being driven to the operating theatre but hospital rules, no video. Do not plan to do a third operation so no eye video I am afraid.

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  2. I’m glad I read the blog and I must commend you on all the brilliant details that you manage to include, but as I couldn’t skip past the gory photo’s, (even with a warning), I’m going to support you by not eating for a few days….. Thanks for that !
    Bon courage.
    Keep safe.

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  3. I hope you get good results Anthony, sorry to see you’ve had so much trouble with this. Best of luck for a speedy second recovery. -Eric

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  4. Great fortitude, brother. Hope the recuperation goes well, however long it takes. And thanks for the text warning for the squeamish, which I used very carefully to navigate the scroll!

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  5. 5w 10w that is so Anthony 🙂 . I hope you get better soon . I’m sure that keeping still isnt easy but hang in there . Wishing you a positive outcome , Martin

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  6. I love your humour Anthony & your spirits .. Even in worrying circumstances such as these, you manage to make us smile, even chuckle … I love the title btw, although of course I wish the story had just been on your check-up & an easy recovery program from your first operation . Those photos … Woo… amazing surgery ..
    My best wishes for a trouble free recovery & a successful outcome xx

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    • Thank you for your kind comments. As you did, I had hoped for a better outcome but this will be the last time I do such a blog. Recovery will take a while but will know more on Thursday.

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