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Accepting the Diagnosis

I was visiting my eye doctor for new glasses, as my vision at 85 was changing each year. He told me I needed to see a Retina specialist, but didn't tell me why and unlike my usual long-term inquiry, didn't ask.

Seeing a retina specialist

A retina specialist, in the same office as the eye doctor, came in with an associate who was studying as a fellow. Both talked very rapidly. I was told I could have a cheek injection that would numb the left side of my face (including my left eye) followed by an eye injection because I had a bleeding macular that needed immediate attention.

While the attending specialist was talking to me, the fellow student disappeared then came back with a tray full of needles and tubes. "I'm not going to numb my face today," I said. Both looked surprised, then the specialist asked me why I wasn't going to go ahead with my first eye injection.

It was simple. I didn't know this specialist or anything about him. I needed to let the diagnosis sink in and really think about where to get my left eye taken care of. All my doctors (8 of them) are Vanderbilt physicians and certified so I trust them, but I was shocked at this diagnosis and wanted time to think about the kind of treatment I wanted.

I went home, opened my computer, and learned about Wet AMD and a bleeding macula. In doing so I researched retina specialists in Nashville, Tennessee, and found a large group of specialists near where I lived. I read all about each doctor on their website and was totally impressed. Every doctor came from Harvard, Cornell, and other big-time colleges so I was impressed with their education and facts telling me that each doctor was the head of something important.

First appointment and injections

I went to my first appointment and my doctor showed me (by drawing it on paper) what to expect on my visits. I completely understood each step of what would take place. I was asked if I wanted to start the procedure that day but I declined. It's a lot to take in so I made another appointment and went to my first injection.

Everything went smoothly. I didn't feel the injection. There is a routine that is followed, apparently by other retina clinics and this one too. First the nurse with drops for numbing, then eye pressure test, update anything new via the computer.

Next is the picture taking nurse/technician and more numbing drops. Third and final visit with M.D. and Nurse who prepares me with numbing drops. Doctor comes in and gives me more numbing and about 5 minutes later comes back with the injection. In the interim he is reviewing my chart, pressure and updates.

I come back about every 4 to 5 months for the injection as my eye has gotten so much better I don't need to come as often. When I'm in with the first nurse and reading the alphabet with one eye, it freaked me out that my left eye could no longer see any number or alphabet. I cried openly but praised God I still had my right eye that could see everything. My left eye could see everything in sight except the very center.

I've learned to live with it and thankful I am sharing this story and looking forward to my 86th birthday March 25, 2023.

March on...

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