Saturday, 15 October 2011

Life's Distribution of Luck

I happen to be unlucky. Or so do people/doctors say when they find out I have an imperfect vision. I often wonder who gave life the right to distribute luck? Cuz I did not get much. Why not?

Life, a false beacon, a false island
Life, I have wrecked my ship at your shores
Despite that I am still unlucky.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Smudged Vision

Most ophthalmologists who I have seen, and I've seen at least 8 retinal specialists across the US, have told me that my floaters are not that bad because of my 20/20 visual acuity. I found it quite insulting over the last few years. The picture I am going to post highlights this perfectly. You will note that with this vision, you definitely have 20/20 vision yet you also have an obstruction of vision at the same time.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Little Old Lady

I had heard the term "Little Old Lady" many a times in my orthopedic surgery lectures but never really knew there was more to that term. Till one day I met a little old lady in a clinic.

She was above 95 years old. Frail, weak, fragile, that is what I thought when I went to take her history, yet I later realized her humorous wit was strong. Like a steel. She had hypertension. Her skin was loose and hanging from her slender bones. I could not find her brachial artery to measure the blood pressure (BP) because her muscle and skin was hanging off the arm. After few tries, I was able to palpate the artery and measured her BP. It was all right. Her meds were working.

She was old because she had lived so far into the time. The pains of time were engraved on her facial skin. Yet she was humorous. Was she strong? Or putting up a show? What it means to be strong? She had done well in fighting for so long but had she not, would that mean she was "weak?"

She was short not because she chose to be. She has osteoporosis. Her thoracic vertebrae were extremely kyphotic due to pathological fractures. Her anterior ribs were almost touching her pelvis. I knew that she would die from respiratory distress because her lungs would have no space to expand. My supervisor confirmed it. She would die as a short lady, even though she was once tall.

Those few minutes I spent with her, I totally forgot that I had my own diseases and health challenges. As soon as she left, my mind automatically jumped back to the floaters in my vision.

My visual memory of the short old lady was smudged with black junk and floaters through which I saw her graceful face. I wish I also had a cleaner vision.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What are floaters?

Without going much into minute details of floaters, I will keep this short and sweet.

Floaters is a common term used to describe opacities in the vitreous in the eyes.The opacities can be due to vitreous degeneration or hemorrages (red blood cells), calcium deposits, and other tissue that has come off the retina during posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). When light travels through the vitreous and falls onto the retina, it encounters these opacities in its path and casts shadows onto the retina. The sufferer sees these shadows which can range from benign to severe. In some cases patient's vision is totally obstructed by these shadows and vitrectomy can be done to remove the vitreous. In other cases the vision is not obstructed but these moving shadows can be depressing. Yet in other patients they are just annoying.

My floaters are severe, persistent, partially obstructing, and are very hard to live with. As medical students, we all are aware of the stress of our lives. I have an additional stress in the form of floaters which no ophthalmologist that I have seen takes seriously. I've been told that it is all in my "head" or that I have to live with it. Floaters have had a devastating toimpact on my life. I dread going to my clerkship rotations. I do not know how I passed my USMLE Step 1 because all I saw was these floaters everywhere on the computer screen on the exam day.

Since the ophthalmic community believes that floaters are not an a chronic condition which severely decreases quality of life, I will use this blog to voice my challenges due to something which is considered so "benign." Yes, I have solutions available in the form of vitrectomy. But 99.5% of the ophthalmologists will discourage me from getting the surgery done. I have no where to go. I do not know whom to listen, ophthalmic professionals or my suffering?