By November 9, 2015 Read More →

Detached Retina’s

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I have Ocular Albinism OA2, I think, part of the package is the retina doesn’t form property. This year we’ve been renovating. Last year paint outside. This year lost of paint and changes inside. I finally have a dedicated studio space, first time ever.

 

 

As with all things there is a price. When I was moving my studio equipment into my studio space I had an accident. I know what your thinking blind guy power tools. Don’t be too surprised I learned how to use power tools at the CNIB. They used to have a sheltered workshop where us blind people made stuff. I bet some sighted person was aghast at a blind person and a saw, and shut down the workshop. I’m actually very good with a saw. Its the hammers that confound me. I was taking apart my vocal booth by myself. I’ve done this many many times before. One of the walls fell on my shoulder. This accident prompted one of my renovation hospital visits. I think there should be a rule. Five hospital visits per renovation project. I think thats my final tally, really depends if you count the surgeries or not.

 

 

My drywall person was nearby and asked, “are you ok?!”. I responded weakly , “checking… um yes”. My drywall person asked, “do you need a hand?”. I responded a little more such of myself, “no I’m good”. Then I tried to move. One of those moments when your a guy, when you have to ask for help, that you hate forever. I quipped, “on second thought, yes please?”.

 

 

Who knew that when you turn 50 your vitreous, the goo in your eye hardens and shrinks. With a good whack the vitreous will then detach from your retina. In my case it took the retina with it.

 

 

Most of my life I’ve wondered what a retina detachment looks like visually from the first person perspective. My vision at best is entertaining; flashes of light, washed out images, no images, fireworks, etc.. I’ve often wondered about my malformed retinas. Apparently OA2 doesn’t increase your chance of retina issues, who knew? Really, you do wonder, OK what is going to take so I can’t see anymore at all. You think about these things, you really don’t, I push my vision hard. You try not to mess with the little bit of vision you have but life does indeed happen.

 

 

My left retina started detaching in June. I think it took five doctor visits to confirm the diagnosis. I was seeing way too much cool stuff. This is where tenacity comes in handy. You keep moving an issue forward until you solve the problem. I don’t remember how many doctors it took to confirm the diagnosis. One of the doctors scared me it felt like he was trying to climb into my eye. During the eye exam this eye climbing doctor, he dropped his magnifying lens on the floor rinsed it off under running water and stuck it back in my eye. Mentioned that incident to my surgeon, he quipped, “I hope he washed it off”. Humour in an eye doctor is not always appreciated.

 

 

Part of my OA2 experience is Nystagmus an uncontrolled movement of the eyes. The eyes are scanning to get as much information as possible. The downside it makes you look like your on drugs. Or so I’m told. I can’t see my eye’s move, we’ll I can’t see them move in a mirror. I can see the movement in the first person, very disturbing if your not feeling well. Because of the movement it took a lot of effort to confirm my detached retina. The confirming experience is seeing a little multifaceted crystal effect. The crystal was very beautiful, all in all I prefer my sight.

 

 

The June surgery was terrifying. I’m not a good patent. In fact I totally suck as a patent. The doctor and the doctor he was training gave me the confidence that all would be good. It was.

 

 

After surgery your supposed to keep your head down for a couple of weeks. I’d just started a new job which I do love, I really didn’t have the time built up to be sitting about. Me sitting around with my head down for two weeks would have been very bad. I’d have gone mad. Luckily my eye’s and I heal very quickly. I was back at work in a couple of days. That first week back was tenuous but all in all everything went great. For the rest of you if they tell you to keep your head down, keep your head down.

 

 

Post operation for the June detachment I was amazed at the improvements in my sight. All the floaters were gone and for some reason my strabismus alignment perceptually seemed better than it had ever been. It took me about three weeks to be comfortable seeing again but it was wonderful.

 

 

The renovations continued we resurfaced the front deck and in October the right retina detached. Much less drama this time and only took a couple of visits to the doctor to confirm and arrange surgery.

 

 

I mentioned that I suck as a patient part. There is an option to do the surgery awake with a local block. I quipped to the doctor for the personal safety of all involved lets not and just do the general. The doctor one of my favourites told me a local block wasn’t an option for me anyway because of the nystagmus. Thank god.

 

 

On the day of the surgery the anesthesiologist, who must of had a date, was pushing the local block even though the surgeon and I had already agreed that a general anesthetic was what was happening. I’m not the best at handling last minute changes to situations like this, in a few words it freaks me out. With the disagreement I was up and ready to leave, no surgery. The surgeon came over and cleared things up, thankfully. Not being shy with my opinion I expressed my concerns with the anesthesiologist, likely to my detriment, to the surgeon. Never dis your anesthesiologist just before surgery. The last words I remember were, “you wanted to sleep!!!, you’ll sleep!!!”. I felt like I had a Vegas hangover for a week.

 

 

Again the result of the surgery was amazing. Never, never, did I say never, use a saw with one eye. Even though I don’t have depth perception its better if I use both my eyes when using a saw. Just about had a real stupid accident, thankfully I didn’t and thankfully my friend was over helping me finish the deck. I was allowed to hold the posts up when they were in place. Good compromise.

 

 

I really do worry about losing my sight one day. I know I really push my luck. I was in the day after post operation appointment checking my smart phone. The doc was in mid sentence of telling me no computers for two weeks. Yeah that’s not going to happen as I’m typing on my phone. I do respect my vision and actually cherish it as well. My curse is the stupid of youth at middle age and not wanting to slow down, much, yet.

Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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