Guest blog by Charlie Richardson:
I’m a 27 year old mum to two beautiful daughters. Two daughters I want to see grow up.
I have been diabetic for 18 years and during my teenage years my control wasn’t the best but also wasn’t awful. 6 months ago I got referred to the ophthalmology department at my local hospital. Early diabetic changes were detected. Hba1c was sitting pretty at 6.9% after being on the pump 9 months. Surely my eyes weren’t too bad?
Quick examination showed I needed urgent laser treatment within two weeks. Like a whirl wind I was soon having intensive lasering about 8 sittings on both eyes. Then nothing, no follow up appointment so I carried on my life as normal.
One evening after putting my girls to bed I saw my eye bleed. I shouted to my partner “my eye is bleeding” he was reassuring me it wasn’t. I phoned out of hours eye clinic and they said they would see me in the morning but until then I had to watch my bleed. I cried. I couldn’t risk losing my sight. I want to see sports days and graduations and wedding days.
The next day I was told intense lasering would be needed under general anaesthetic. A vessel has burst and was filling my eye jelly with blood. I had more lasering and could only see out of one eye. My left eye was a pool of blood, a week after the intense lasering my right eye, my good eye too bled. I was blinded by blood. The hospital said they couldn’t see me. I’d have to wait 32 hours to see a doctor. How would I look after my children, how would I cook meals and iron my partners clothes? He was my rock and supported me through it all. The hospital told me they couldn’t do anything except hope the blood would disperse on it’s own. I felt alone. Ignored. I also would have to wait a further two weeks to see my own ophthalmologist.
On those two weeks my sight started to come back. The pools of blood clumped together. I had clearings I could see through. My latest hospital appointment suggested I need a vitrectomy, and surgery to cut away any scar tissue I have. It’ll mean I won’t be able to drive again, but I’ll hopefully be able to see my girls grow up. I can’t imagining my mother choosing my wedding dress or my partner dressing our daughters, these are things I want to do and I plan on doing them.