I was taken almost immediately when I arrived at the Emergency Room being brought in with a head injury. The ER was extremely busy.
The intake, triage team took the hand-off from the EMTs and I was now in their care.
Early on in the year in 2007, I had some difficulty seeing and I noticed my vision had changed. I made an appointment with my Ophthalmologist and I found that I had the early onset of cataracts, unusual for someone of my age to have this condition. I needed surgery. The first was on my R eye. At the end of the surgery, I had an artificial monofocal lens implant and when I opened my eyes, I had crystal clear vision in my R eye. Success. The L eye followed in 2008. By the end of 2009, I noticed decreased vision in my R eye. It was different from any symptoms I had experienced as it darkened from the upper corner inward and as if there was a storm in my eye, flashes of lightning. This was much more alarming as I was to learn that I had retinal detachment. This serious conditions occurs when your retina, the layer of tissue at the back of your eye that processes light, pulls away from the tissue around it. The retina can’t work properly when this happens and in many cases which aren’t treated, permanent loss of vision follows. I was immediately scheduled for surgery and after 4 months of recovery, I had saved my vision. In 2011, I was challenged again and went through the same procedure on my L eye. In early 2013, I had additional surgery on my R eye for retinal detachment; removal of scar tissue from the surgery in 2009. Head injury can cause retinal detachment for those at risk.
I was assigned to a Dr. who asked about my symptoms and my concerns. I asked to have an examination by an Ophthalmologist and Retina Specialist/Surgeon. Both were paged. He then ordered a CT without IV Contrast. The ER was over capacity. I was moved from the entry hall and as they locked the gurney wheels, I found myself in front of the medical staff’s station.
There were so many people in the ER. A woman to my left was struggling with cancer, behind me a man who may have been suffering from dementia, the far right, a man fighting “Father Time” who seemed to be only moments from his door and then as I scanned the room, the air appeared sick and dying. You could almost hear the souls, the laboring breathes, floating, ominous and I shut my eyes.
“Craig Nichols?” Yes. I’m Craig Nichols. “I’m here to take you down for your CT. Let’s buckle you up.” And, we were rolling out double doors and down the corridor.
1, 2, 3… 17, 18, 19… 51… and we stopped. I counted the ceiling panels