Blog Entries With Tag: eyes


Posted: Oct 3, 2012

It was the first week of the school summer holidays in 2009. Francesca was 6 years old. She had been feeling (what we thought was) under the weather for a couple of weeks. She was very tired but it was the end of the school year and she had been very busy with various things, so we put it down to that. She was also drinking vast amounts and going to the toilet a lot, which didn’t seem surprising, given the amount she was drinking

One morning, she woke up considerably worse so my wife took her to the doctor with a written list of symptoms so she didn’t forget any. The doctor didn’t seem unduly concerned and told her to take Francesca to the hospital for a blood test. It was too late to take her that day and we had no idea how urgent it was, otherwise we would have taken her to A&E. We took her to the hospital the next morning for the blood test. Francesca was so weak by then that I had to carry her from the car to the phlebotomy department. The nurses struggled to get blood from her and seemed very worried. I thought for a moment that they would fetch a doctor or take us to A&E. In the event, they took her sample through for analysis immediately. Less than an hour later, after I had gone to work, my wife received a phone call from one of the doctors at our surgery. He told Claire to take Francesca to hospital immediately. When she said she couldn’t as she didn’t drive and it would take me possibly half an hour to get home, the doctor said “She needs to go to hospital now so I’ll call an ambulance. Please pack an overnight bag. “She rang me and I raced home but they had already gone to hospital. I raced there and arrived to see Francesca on a bed with lots of tubes attached to her. We were told her fingers and toes were cold and this meant that her body had started to shut down. We had got her there just in time. 

After spending a few hours in A&E, she was transferred to the children’s ward and put in her own room. Later that evening, the paediatrician decided to transfer Francesca to the High Dependency Unit at the bigger hospital in Coventry in case her condition deteriorated so that she was already where she would need to be. She was transferred by ambulance under blue lights. Fortunately, she didn’t get any worse and was transferred back the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton the next day.

While she was there, we began the daunting process of learning what we needed to do for Francesca; blood tests, insulin injections etc. There was an enormous amount of information to take on board. We met with the diabetes nurses (who we would see a lot more of in the years to come) and the dietician, all of whom were full of advice.

After spending five days in hospital, Francesca was considered well enough to be released, much to her relief. We left the hospital loaded with books, sheets of information and lots of the medical equipment that would become part of our everyday lives.

A few months later, in February 2010, Francesca was dealing really well with everything but we were starting to worry about our five year old son, Jacob. He started showing the signs of type 1 but a blood test and a urine test were both clear. However, one evening when we were doing the necessary with Francesca, Jacob asked to be tested. The meter read ‘hi’. Off to A&E we went, complete with overnight bag, and our worst fears were confirmed. It was a heartbreaking moment for me when he looked up at me and said, “Am I diabetic too, Dad?” Because recognising the symptoms had helped us to have him diagnosed much sooner than Francesca, he was only in hospital for one night. The doctors wanted to keep him in longer as his BM’s were still too high, but we felt we knew what we were doing by now and he was upset at the thought of staying in hospital another night, so we took him home.

Night-times can be difficult to predict or monitor, and children with type 1 have died in their sleep because their blood sugars go so low without them knowing, so one of us gets up in the middle of the night every night to check their BM’s.

This is why we need to find a cure for type 1. Naturally, I wan5t to do my bit to raise funds for the JDRF. I am involved in a project for World Diabetes Day.

Mums of type 1 children made a video called ‘A Mother’s Anthem’ which you may have seen. The suggestion was made for a Dad’s version. I decided to take up the challenge and saw the potential for a song. The lyrics are from the Dad’s perspective.

The song is about to be recorded and produced professionally with the help of an acquaintance of mine who is in the business, who is also finding a good singer. There will also be a video which is in the process of being made.

The song will be available as a download and (hopefully) a CD single as well. All funds raised will be donated to the JDRF. It will be released to coincide with World Diabetes Day on 14th November.

Watch this space to find out where you can buy it.

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Tags: Eyes (1) Innocent (1) World Diabetes Day (1) song (1) Dad (1) A Mother's Anthem (1) JDRF (1) cure (1) Type 1 (1)
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Posted: Apr 7, 2011

Last November I wrote about having scratched my eyeball with an eyelash separator and previous to that I'd written about another blog on my eyes - all within a month of each other (when it rains it pours).  It was not a pleasant experience with having the scratched eyeball, and trying to seek proper medical help was a pain in the behind.  Trying to see my opthomologist who I see every 6 months was not an option and the only way I could see her or any other eye specialist besides just the clinic GP I saw required a ER reference from the attending GP I saw which they felt was not needed.  According to them, they could not detect much damage, gave me some antibiotic drops - good bye.

Forward now to the month of April, 5 days of torture with an eyeball - yes THAT eyeball - feeling like it's been playing in a sandbox in the beginning, and then the eyeball itself becoming a massive red, weeping mass in the eye socket.  Having to attend the JDRF Symposium on Sunday in this condition was not fun at all!  This experience was as unpleasant as what I went through back in November.  Due to a dermatologist telling me that having rosacea leads to scratchy eyes, dry eyes - I thought that I had the same condition as what my Mum suffers from - blepharitis (I mean - I have inherited most health issues I have now from her side of the family - e.g. diabetes, receding gum line, etc.).  I thought that this is to be my karma.

Wrong!  I lucked in on seeing my regular GP with an appointment rather than just the clinic GP and a 5-8 hour wait on Monday.  She told me that she'd never heard of rosacea causing dry eyes, etc.  That floored me abit, since according to Internet sites - it says otherwise - as well - the dermatologist she sent me to before had said otherwise.  She prescribed some antibiotic drops, and actually insisted that I see my opthomologist giving me an ER referral – I was amazed I didn’t have to beg for it this time!

So, two days later, I get to see my opthomologist.  It turns out that the original GP who examined my eye back in November should have given me the ER referral.  She was very shocked by that not being done, especially since I was diabetic (and trust me – I flaunt my diabetes to GP’s/etc. if it can get me one step ahead of the masses seeking medical help IF it is an emergency).  She said that the tear to the cornea (I was told by the November GP that there was nothing that they could really see) – was the cause of my latest problem – and sadly – it will flair up from time to time.  She didn’t say (and I didn’t ask but will when I see her in 3 weeks follow up) – that if it had been treated properly the first time – if it would have healed up.    The main thing is – it’s scared the crap out of me that doctors don’t all have the same perception of things and that if perhaps further damage could be done.

So, because of this “scar” to the cornea – and the thinning of my lenses (some folks have thin / thick – it varies for all of us – diabetic or not) – this will be another little problem my opthomologist will be watching carefully over the years.  As usual, she is amazed at my length of time with diabetes and the health of my eyes.  I’m amazed as usual at my stupidity at my stupidity for not having been pushier and having demanded an ER referral right from the start.  You’d think I’d know by now at my age!

For now, treatment of my corneal edema is being treated by very salty eye drops to reduce the swelling of the eyeball (which is what has been distorting my vision) and a similar gel drop I place in my eye at night.  All the other things that were prescribed by earlier GP’s which did not help at all – in the bin!

I am hoping I have learnt my lesson here to be upfront (but polite – I am a Canadian after all) – just like many of the D-OC (diabetic online community) Americans are with their health system and how they are treated!  

This picture was taken BEFORE any eye probs! If I'd had a willing photographer to snap my eyeball before - it would be posted here instead!

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Tags: edema (1) corneal (1) optometrist (1) sight (1) eye (1) opthomologist (1) ocular rosacea (1) eyes (1)
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Posted: Nov 3, 2010

I saw my ophthalmologist a few weeks ago (I go every 6 months), where things were as usual "perfect" with my eyes as far as diabetes damage, e.g. retinopathy.  She always says “Your eyes are like a babies!”.  I always leave feeling so good, especially when about 15 years ago, another ophthalmologist had diagnosed me with retinopathy that he felt was not reversible.  To lose my eyesight is something I think as diabetics we all cringe at – I mean – listening to Glee is fine – but to not visually see it?– bummer city (where is the noose to put around my neck if I can’t see??).  I know when I was told the news by the previous ophthalmologist, I think it made me decide to take control of my diabetes and I started with MDI (multiple dosage injections) and more frequent blood sugar testing.

The funny thing a diabetic friend of mine, Doris J Dickson, after hearing about my latest visit to the eye doctor, sent me a recent article that states that having good blood sugars isn’t really what stops you from getting retinopathy.  There is a certain molecule called SHP-1 that is actually what predicts if you will have this eye disease.  The higher the level of SHP-1 the more prone you are to developing retinopathy.  You can read more about this at medpageTODAY.

This week I went to see the optician (I do this every 2 years as my husbands medical coverage covers the cost of the exam) also I’ve been having eye aches and my eyesight seemed abit blurry in my right eye.  I figured it was again due to my lenses being too strong in my glasses since I’ve had this problem before (one time my eyesight changed in 6 months – expensive lense change for two of my Elton John frames – I wasn’t pleased about that – but I didn’t enjoy  “headache city”).  Believe it or not with age my eyesight is actually improving, and this isn’t an uncommon thing she told me.  Once again, I now have a weaker prescription for my glasses and I will soon be singing the song of “I can see clearly now" (I have to always throw something musical into my blogs don't I?).  I’m very lucky though that I only need glasses really for driving or when I go bar hopping. 

When she was going through the different lenses to find out which one I saw more clearly with (you know the routine as they flick through the lenses over one eye – “One or two?” – “Which one is clearer?”).  She told me that one of the reasons for my weak eyesight in my right eye … I have a cataract developing.  I was SHOCKED!  The optician said that this was nothing to be alarmed about at my age, it's to be expected, but I have to admit that I thought it was something that happened to someone much older then me!  She said that diabetes does play a small role in this happening, but she says it's nothing to be too overly concerned about.  Eventually if it causes problems with my seeing clearly, a simple procedure of replacing the lense cap will be performed, and vision will be restored.  I did tell her that my Mum has been diagnosed with glaucoma a few years ago, and that is another hereditary disease that I may get from my Mum’s side of the family (my Great-grandmother was diagnosed as having diabetes in her 80’s).  The optician admitted that of the two, cataracts is the less serious of eye diseases.  Does it make me feel better her saying this? Sort of, but still it scares me abit.

What is freaking me out abit is why my ophthalmologist hadn’t mentioned it to me before, as her office uses more advanced machines in detecting eye problems!  I guess you know what my burning question will be for her when I see her next April.  I’m even thinking of maybe switching to a new ophthalmologist because of this, incase she’s perhaps missed other problems in my eyes.  Would you feel the same way as I do or am I just being silly?

Vision Test

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