After a relaxed and unhurried Sunday, I was working on a laptop in the evening, in the lounge. I'd spent part of the day trying to catch up on Doctor Who's very scary new story about the Vashta Nerada, and I'd used the BBC Iplayer to try and watch it, but it kept pausing. Knowing it was on BBC3 at 8 o'clock instead, I gave up.
So, there I was, 8 o'clock in front of the telly. Laptop on my right, TV on my left. John came down to watch with me, and suddenly I felt dizzy. not just slightly dizzy, but full blown "fuck me, I'm falling over" dizzy. I rubbed my eyes, and said to John how dizzy I felt, when a second wave, even worse then the first hit me. This time I really felt like I was about to pass out. I remember briefly lying on the floor, holding on, and then getting up onto the chair incase I did pass out. I told John that something was wrong and to call an ambulance. John's never had to do that before, but fortunately I was still conscious, and so I could hear the questions they were relaying to him. In the meantime, I'd covered my eyes, mainly to stop the dizziness. As I sat there, I could feel my temperature rising. I was getting hotter and hotter, and I broke out into an incredible sweat. I was also breathing very quickly and my heart was like a train at full clout.
The paramedics arrived, and it was only then did I realise I could no longer see properly. They came into the room and I said how bright everything was, and that it was hurting. I just couldn't take my hand away from my eyes. It was like there was a blowtorch behind them, and even the slightest bit of light made it worse. Taking me out to the ambulance, they had to close down blinds on the windows and everything, but after about 10 minutes I could open my eyes again.
Arriving at the hospital, and once again even the slightest bit of light was immensely painful. I had the paramedics laughing, when I said I felt like a wise monkey. I politely asked them if one could cover his ears and the other could cover his mouth, just so I looked more normal. I was wheeled straight through to a cubicle, where one voice after another was asking me what had happened. I have to point out at this point that it's amazing how acute your hearing becomes. As I lay there, listening to all the different cases around me, I could feel a weight bearing down on my eyes. As it neared 11 o'clock, finally a doctor arrived to see me. I have to say I wasn't impressed with him. He poked me here, checked there, shone light in my eyes (which in my opinion was like putting hot needles into them), and then proclaimed that it had happened because I was overweight. I know I'm overweight, but what, did I suddenly become unable to see following an indulgence in calories (which I hadn't by the way). Some hour or so later, and a young lady introduced herself. She was an opthalmist, and would be dealing with my case. She was a lot more sensitive, not shining lights into my eyes, and she even turned off lights in my corner of casualty so I could see her a bit better. She gave me a special cooling pack that apparently made me look like an owl, and put me on an antibacterial drip. After a lot of waiting we left for a ward. She even accompanied me to the ward, made sure I was settled in, and gave me advice as to how to sleep. She also assured me not to worry, and everything would be ok. I, meanwhile, lay back with a rolled up sheet placed over my eyes, and started to fall asleep.
Suddenly I was woken by a click and more light. The nurse had to do something with my drip (they now have mains powered ones, whatever happened to the universal power source called gravity?), and had turned on the light directly above my head. She'd also removed the sheet to see if I was OK. I wasn't, and I believe I said something along the lines of "
The next morning I was awoken by a nurse giving the poor guy in the next bed a row about turning on his light, because I was having difficulty seeing. I said it was fine, my eyes were covered, but he said he'd leave the light off anyway. The usual hospital to-ing and fro-ing would go around me. A little old lady in the bed on my right had some sort of dementia, and kept asking how she'd got there. She also kept asking where her son was, and why she was no longer in Singleton Hospital (the other main hospital in Swansea, some 6 miles away). The old guy opposite her had pissed on the floor (his words), and the nurses were cleaning that up. The bed opposite me was either empty, or the occupant was dead, because no one was stopping there. As far as I could tell the guy opposite and to my left was going for a triple heart bypass that morning. And the guy who'd had the bollocking on my left, with the best brummie accent I've ever heard, was close to leaving following a double heart bypass. It would appear they'd put me in a cardiac ward, presumably because there was a bed free.
A few doctors came round to see me, ask me how I was, was there anything they could do to help. The nurses did the same, and as the inside of my head grew to a pressure like a volcano about to explode, I asked about pain relief. They gave me something via the drip, and next thing I knew I was slipping off into a very relaxed land of slumber (don't you love drugs like that?). I was woken up just before midday by the nice young lady who'd accompanied me to the ward. She introduced me to her senior consultant, who then asked the gaggle of students stood behind him what they would do next. The obvious thing was a CT Scan, said one of them. Another suggested a lumbar puncture, but he pointed out that first of all I didn't have any other symptoms of Meningitis, and that the CT Scan would probably show up anything else. So I was booked in for a scan, and we'd take it from there. Interestingly, I went for a pee at one point in the toilet alongside the ward. I had to be led there, and when I got into the room, I left the light off. To anybody else, this room without windows, would have been pitch black. I found I was perfectly able to see. I even found myself reading the notices and the manufacturers of the switches and things. Maybe I should have got a job in the military as a night spotter?
Just after 4 o'clock I was taken for a CT Scan. The porter wheeled me down one corridor or another, and my head was set truly in a spin. I didn't know if I was going forwards, sideways, backwards or anything. When we got to the rooms for the scanners, the receptionist had be warned of my impending arrival and again had turned off the lights for me, so I could sit there in some comfort. I was even able to open my eyes for half a second at a time, and so I could have a look around. Not that there was much to see. I returned to my bed about an hour later, feeling really dizzy and unwell. The nurse had left me a sandwich and jelly because I didn't feel like eating, and I laid back and clung on for dear life as the bed started to spin again.
I felt something change in my eyes. I can only describe it like cramp going away, like something that was tense released, and everything went dark. I took the sheet away from my eyes and I could now see a bit of light. I tried to open my eyes a bit, and although still painful, I could see. As I lay there, I could feel my eyes readjusting, and within an hour I was able to sit up with my eyes open more then having them shut. Once again I fell into a deep sleep for a couple of hours, waking up just after 9:30 as the night shift came in to give pills. I still had the hangover from hell, and light still stung a bit, but I was now back to normal. I slept well over night, and the next morning I got up, and it was like nothing had happened. I went to freshen up, have a shave etc., and it was whilst there I'm damn sure my eyes have changed colour. Not completely, not like from blue to green or anything silly like that, but they're now a lot bluer then they were. When my friendly opthalmist saw me at about 11, it was the first time I'd seen her properly (I have to say I "would"...). She seemed genuinely pleased to see me up and about, and did some tests on my eyes. I am suffering now with phasing (light and shadows moving around behind or in front of things), and slight laziness when it comes to focusing, but she said that she didn't think there would be any long term effects. I was discharged just after 12, and although I had to wait a couple of hours for painkillers for my headache, I was home just before 3. I'm not allowed to drive for a week, I'm not allowed to drink anything other then water for a week (no more antifreeze then...), I'm now wearing sunglasses everywhere, and I have to watch out for bright light. I must also not hesitate to call 999 if it happens again.
The verdict is strange. I personally think something broke. Maybe a blood vessel, maybe a muscle, I dunno. The official verdict is nothing more then migraine. I've never had them before, and this was so sudden, I can't see how it could have been. I'm not a doctor, but sometimes it's too easy to blame something even when it doesn't seem close to the truth. I'm back now, so I'm afraid you'll have to put up with me a bit longer...