Secrets, Lies & Chat

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Glaucoma - The Silent Thief of Sight

It's Sunday evening in Sydney, the Sunday of a long weekend. Tomorrow, Monday, is the worst day in the week in my opinion, so having that particularly negative day off work is a bonus. Don't you just love long weekends? I'm always on countdown to the next one, even if it's three months after the present one; it gives me a goal to work to.

Fortunately, working for the Government, I am entitled to 26 flex days off a year. A flex day is a day you have to work extra time to earn so in order to have a 9 day fortnight, I would need to work 3/4 hour extra for 9 days to make my 7 hours up. Even dangling the carrot of a day off a fortnight isn't enough to get me to work all the extra time. I've only taken 11 of the 26 days this year and the year finishes in November. All days not taken are then lost, therefore I'm looking at losing probably 13 days minimum that I could have had off if I didn't find going home at the end of my core hours more of a priority than having a lot of time off work. I am taking a flex on Tuesday so my long weekend is extra lonnnnnng and a three day working week has a certain sparkle to it!

Yesterday and today Bryan and I spent at the markets trying hard to get his toy business up and running. It's a hard slog and this weekend was probably one we should have just stayed home due to it being a long weekend with an RDO (rostered day off) for a lot of people on Tuesday, and on top of that, it's school holidays. We had three customers today and sold $42 worth of toys. Not even enough to pay the cost of the market site. Yesterday we sold $86 worth of toys and did make our stall site cost plus petrol plus an extra $30. But unfortunately Bryan's stationwagon had a problem with a radiator hose and there went the $30 on a new hose.

It seems like he isn't supposed to get up and running in the short term. Yesterday was a beautiful day in Sydney and we attended a street market in Chatswood, but the people just weren't around. Today it was even hotter, 30 degrees, and again, the people weren't around. The market today was at Moorebank, in a park, next door to Flower Power. There was even music to shop by as Leather and Lace were there for most of the day doing brackets of songs. Just a lousy weekend for all marketers I imagine.

Bryan is starting to wonder whether he will ever find his nitch in the Sydney markets. We have been to a lot of different ones now, with our best sales being at Castle Hill Craft Market where we sold $152 worth of toys. I know it's only been a couple of months but we expected things would be going good now as Christmas approaches. If you don't sell stock then you don't have the capital to buy timber and paints to make more product to sell. That's where he is now; but we are forever optimistic, and we have markets lined up for the weekends in October. Here's hoping they come good for us.

Now to the subject matter - glaucoma - the silent thief of sight. I found out a few weeks ago, when I visited my eye specialist to arrange for some day surgery on my eye that has been ravaged by keratitis for over 20 years, that I have something even worse wrong. I have glaucoma in both eyes, with nerve damage, and have already lost a large percentage of the vision in my left eye.

It's been explained to me that even if the drops I am now using daily stop the progression of the damage, or slow it down, I will never regain that sight again. It may stay as it is, but the odds are that I will eventually lose the vision in that eye. My right eye, suffering damage also, is nowhere near as bad, with only a small percentage of sight lost. I'm fighting a battle now in a war I can't win. Where once I thought keratitis may eventually take my sight in my left eye, I now know glaucoma has already stolen a lot of it. Daunting thought, losing your sight, so I'm going to think positive that it won't become any worse than it already is.

I have a problem when I'm looking at things, like faces when talking to people. Their right eyes and the top of their heads disappear as I look at them and it's very offputting and annoying. I used to think I had hair over my eye or my glasses were dirty. Little did I know what really was going wrong. My eye specialist was sure that the problem was my eyelid was drooping as a result of keratitis and age and he intended to cut the eyelid and pull it up a bit. When he was doing the tests to see what he would need to do, I had to read the chart on the wall with my right eye covered. All I could see were the two bottom lines, not read them, but I could see them. The rest of the chart was in darkness. Next thing I'm having different tests done and after a field test the prognosis was bleak.

No operation to lift my eyelid will make any difference to my vision. Anyone who is reading this should seriously consider having an eye test for glaucoma even if you don't wear glasses and don't think you have eye problems. If you have ever taken or used drugs or ointments with steroids in them, go have the test done NOW. I believe that the reason I have glaucoma could be because I have used eye ointment with steroids to treat the keratitis. But then it could also be hereditary and that's something I don't know about.

My three adult children are having the test done and my brother has just been for the test. His eyes are okay but he now has to have the test six-monthly as a precaution. If I had known I had this earlier, I perhaps would be in a better position to save my vision than I am now. How no-one ever twigged to this is beyond me as I have spent a lot of money in the last 5 years going to eye specialists for treatment for keratitis. I can't understand my specialist not testing me for glaucoma at some stage except that every time I saw him my eye was ravaged by ulcers from keratitis so any tests were out of question. I also wear glasses and it's two years since I had my eyes tested last. It seems the glaucoma must have hit me pretty quickly, as I know each time I saw the optometrist I had a glaucoma test.

Please don't leave it like I did. Go have the test done and keep going every year or so just to be on the safe side. Trust me, you don't want problems like I now have where even new glasses don't help very much. A simple test could save you from something you couldn't imagine happening to you.

Take care.



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