Highs and eyes – by Sheila
It has been a testing time over the last couple of weeks with some very variable weather, lovely to be out in the sun for short spells – not too long or my freckles frazzle! It does, however, create problems when a nice warm sunny spell turns into a bit of a heat wave.
For instance, when out and about it is not just a case of taking extra water to drink but making sure that both test equipment and in particular insulin are kept below that critical temperature of 25 degrees C. Frio bags are great for keeping insulin pens in, so easy to use, it is just a case of remembering to soak them for the right amount before you use them – and of course take them plus the insulin with you. So many things to think of, also works when it is very cold of course, plus keeping test meters above or below the required temperatures. So much to think about before you even get out of the house! It got so hot in the upstairs rooms of our house that the insulin pens had to live in the Frio bags all the time once the ambient temperature rose to 27 -28 degrees, otherwise of course the insulin doesn’t work properly, putting you at risk of going too high for your own good.
In my last blog I mentioned that I was off to the eye clinic for my regular eye check. It went fairly well I guess but the consultant decided he wanted me to have a Fluorescein Angiogram over the following few weeks. So, I eventually got a date for this that was suitable for my husband to fetch and carry me as you are not allowed to drive following this procedure. The idea is that you are injected with a fluorescent yellow dye into a vein in the arm, or in my case hand as the nurse could not find a suitable vein in my arm! Just got to be different! This dye runs through your blood stream, including the eyes, highlighting the tiny blood vessels and showing up any problems at the back of the retina.
On arrival I started with the usual vision checks followed by two lots of drops in each eye then a period of waiting for the pupils to dilate before going into the scan room for lots of scans to be taken. Then it was a case of just being very, very patient until it was my turn to be prepared for the angiogram, having been a regular visitor to the eye clinic for several years now I am used to the waiting procedure but it is not my favourite way of spending an afternoon.
Eventually, the nurse called me to one of the treatment rooms and set me up with a cannula through which the dye would be injected when ready. Double checks that I am who they think I am. And also checking medication, blood pressure and any history of allergies before a vein was found in my hand, cannula inserted and strapped on before being taken into another room for more scans to be taken. All this has taken about 2 hours so far. And then there’s another 15 minutes for the injection of the dye and loads more scans of both eyes. The nurse and scanning practitioner were really kind, they explained everything they were doing and allowed me to ‘come up for air’ several times between sets of scans. All very laid back and friendly with no stress at all.
Yellow all over
After-effects were hilarious – by the time I was finished with and on my way back to the cafe to meet up with my husband I was turning a lovely shade of yellow. As I have quite fair skin with freckles this was quite noticeable and by the time we had had a coffee and chat I really was very yellow all over. They ask you not to leave the hospital for half an hour so ensure you have no adverse effects to the dye, it is a foreign body and it is possible if uncommon to have a bad reaction to it. I had no effects other than a feeling of not being quite as ‘right’ as normal, being a very yellowy colour for several hours and most amazingly after about 3 hours had the most amazingly florescent yellow pee you have ever not wished for! This lasted for the rest of the day but by the following morning my system had cleared, skin back to normal and pee back to normal and all was well with the world.
Now it is a case of waiting to hear from the eye consultant to see if I need further laser surgery once he has seen what is going on back there amongst the tiny veins. The whole procedure was simple, weird but not painful and despite looking a little strange for a few hours, no problem at all. I am sure some people would be terrified of the whole idea but there is no reason to be, it is all just in a random day living with diabetes