Last year, I had a head injury that led to concussion and whiplash. I had all sorts of terrifying symptoms at the time like slurring, amnesia, dizziness, nausea, night blindness, peripheral vision loss and anomic aphasia. I couldn't stand up for a week, but I was back to normal within a few weeks.
Except that I still have a small blind spot in my peripheral vision. At first, I thought I was imagining it, and ignored it. Then I went for an eye test a month ago, mentioned it, had all the tests done and was referred because I wasn't imagining it.
Normally, if you have a dodgy eye test, the optician refers you directly to the hospital, but (presumably because of the head injury) I had to go and visit my GP first and talk about it to decide whether to send me to ophthalmology or neurology. The GP thought it was either caused by damage to my retina, optic nerve or visual cortex. The initial injury was on the right side, but it's my left eye that's affected. She referred me to ophthalmology. This was early last week, because GP appointments are gold dust.
Now, the bit that's made me cross.
Today, I got a letter that looked suspiciously like junk mail. I get a lot of junk mail at the moment, thanks to foolishly letting the Bounty woman have my details in the hospital after Alex was born. So, I opened it, expecting yet another life insurance offer because PARENTS DIE, and instead found a letter from some random fucking 'care innovations' company who the LGC apparently employ to triage ophthalmology referrals. Obviously, GPs cannot be trusted to refer to the right people, so this company in Henley-on-Thames does it for them.
The letter told me I needed to be triaged by an optometrist, and gave me a list of four clinics to go to for triage. In order to select one, I had to either ring up and tell them who I wanted to be referred to, or go online and do it. WHY NOT JUST SEND ME TO THE NEAREST? WHY THE FUCK WOULD I WANT TO GO TO A CLINIC 30 MILES AWAY?
So, I did this, only to be told that my 'chosen provider' will send me an appointment in the post.
*jumps up and down in a rage*
In ye olden days of eye referrals pre-NHS-sell-off, you saw your optician, they sent a referral to your GP who passed it on to ophthalmology, who trusted their secretaries to triage it and send you a suitable appointment. The process took perhaps a couple of weeks. This has already taken a month.
Now, I don't talk about it much because it's evil, but I am suffering quite severe postnatal anxiety at the moment. The very IDEA of going blind, never exactly appealing in the first place, has been preying on my mind like a giant wasp that will not stop hovering by my face. All I really want is an appointment to be told what the hell is up with my eye, so I can work my flailing anxiety into something like a sensible approach to the whole thing. And now I have to go and see an optometrist, who will then probably send me to ophthalmology anyway, lengthening the whole process into one of months rather than weeks.
Not to mention how confusing this must be to people who are perhaps less computer savvy or presume the crappy junk-maily scam-ish letter is junk mail, particularly if their sight is poor. I mean, it doesn't even have anything visual to suggest it represents the NHS: