After an unsuccessful detached retina operation on his left eye in 2007, my father depends on his right eye for reading and getting around, so when he said yesterday that his eyesight had suddenly deteriorated and he couldn't see the time on his watch, I was alarmed. He also said that sight was returning to his left eye which had been dead for 5 years. We arrived at Boots Opticians in Winchester at 12.50. The optician was also alarmed. After various tests, she sent us off to the Eye Casualty at Southampton Hospital and we got there at 3pm.
We saw a nurse at 3.45.
Nurse: "How are your eyes?"
Father:"It's amazing that the sight is returning to my left eye!"
WW: "The reason we're here is that the sight in the right eye has suddenly got worse."
Nurse: "Look at the screen and read the bottom-most line you can."
Father: "I can't see anything."
The nurse tried covering one eye, then covering one and holding a cover with just a pin prick hole through it over the other. My father still saw nothing. We were sent back to the waiting room.
A blood test was taken at 5pm.
Father: "It's amazing that my left ear has suddenly come back!"
Nurse: "I'm sorry but I'm not a hearing specialist."
We saw the doctor at 6pm and were told that blood vessels have burst behind the right eye and there is a retinal vein occlusion. We should not leave the hospital until we'd have the results of the blood test. The nurse offered us a cup of tea, which she brought in bone china mugs along with a side table.
WW: "Very good service here!"
Nurse: "I don't want to have to fill in paperwork to explain why you've spilt hot tea down yourself!"
By this time, we'd exhausted all the reading material in the unit so I resorted to The Tailor of Gloucester from the children's section.
The blood test results came through at 7.30pm and were fine. The doctor said there's nothing that can be done to restore my father's sight but there's a 35% chance the occlusion may clear. He's referring my father to the Eye Clinic. He advised me to bring the car round from the main car park to the Eye Unit to collect my father.
I drove round and walked back to the unit, waving at my father through the glass door. The door wouldn't open. No staff seemed to be on my father's side of the door. There was a notice on my side of the door saying that the Unit closed at 7pm. I spotted a nurse coming in the building behind me and asked if she could open the door. She could not but she signalled to my father to press a switch on the right hand wall. The lights went off in his room. "No, not that switch! The one next to it!" she shouted. His hand hovered over the alarm button. "Not that one!" the nurse shouted, "The next one!" The next one was marked "DOOR" but of course my father couldn't read that. He found the button, nevertheless, and escaped. We got home at 8.45pm.