US Visa Application and undiagnosed neuro symptoms?!

Ok… so it’s been a while since I posted on here… Sorry about that! I was discharged from the hospital care a while ago in terms of my VS and other neuro symptoms (all of which remain undiagnosed) and I’ve been caught up with my (hopefully) upcoming move to the US to marry my beautful fiancee ❤ Please visit our blog (http://www.katieandjen.wordpress.com for more information, or follow us @katieandjen 😀 )

Thankfully I don’t have anything new to report in terms of symptoms, but I have found myself in a new situation that has led me to post here again. Before I have my Visa interview in London, I have to attend a medical examination by the US Embassy’s designated doctors’ surgery.

The purpose of this is to assess your physical and psychological state to determine if you’re fully functional and able to work, and therefore unlikely to become a burden to US taxpayers, as well as to ensure you’re not going to bring any communicable disease with you. This is fairly straightforward; but before you attend the medical exam, you’re required to fill out a questionnaire about your health.

One of the questions is “Have you ever been investigated or treated for a serious illness?” (Wording may not be exactly the same but essentially the same meaning.)

Well, April 2012 is when my blind spots first developed. I was investigated for all sorts that year, and was also admitted into hospital for several days at one point for further testing. (I want to point out that to this day I have no idea whether or not the blind spots are related to my VS, which I developed as a teenager.)

At that time, I had no idea my future self would be applying for a US Visa, and naturally a diagnosis was at the forefront of my mind. However, it now leaves me trying to explain a fat wodge of medical notes (well actually a lack of them, as it is too expensive to get them all printed!) that do not lead to a diagnosis. It is great, of course, that the doctors dug as deep as they reasonably could into my health and didn’t find anything serious; however they did, at the time, find scotoma in my vision, which was never explained.

This leaves me with the only option of trying to prove that my undiagnosed symptoms will not prevent me from working in the US. As I have no diagnosis to give them an estimate of my future health, I can only get a letter from my doctor stating that I am fit and able to work, and perhaps also my employer stating that the only extended sick leave I have taken was during my stay in hospital.

I will keep you posted with how it goes and any new information that comes to light. Bye for now.

Private consultation

So I had my private consultation today. It cost me a decent sum of money for the priviledge but it’s something I wanted to do, in order to get a second opinion and to see someone who could dedicate more time to discussing possible causes with me.

Well, walking into the hospital was a pleasant change from your average hospital, with a quiet waiting room and staff that weren’t rushed off their feet. The nurses greeted me and gave me updates on when my doctor would be arriving, etc. They said I could get myself a complementary hot drink while I waited. The toilets even had posh handsoap and moisturiser like an expensive hotel!

When I saw the doctor, he had already looked through my notes. He gave my eyes a thorough examination but (unsurprisingly) agreed with the NHS doctors that he couldn’t see anything wrong. He did, however, suggest a test which may be useful and hadn’t already been done and said that my local hospital should be able to do it. He also had me draw out my blind spots on a grid.

So overall, I’m glad I had a private consultation but in my case, in itself it wasn’t overly useful. But let’s see what comes of the test he suggested.

Warning: This is a Rant…

I appreciate British healthcare and the NHS, I really do, but sometimes I think medical staff are forced to justify their actions to such an extent that patient wellbeing suffers unnecessarily.

For example, if I went to my GP with a stomach bug or a fever, they will happily hand out antibiotics without a formal diagnosis. They don’t pass you from specialist to specialist so that by the time you finally receive treatment the infection has spread to the rest of your body!

But this is not the case with all types of illnesses.. I am now on my 3rd ‘episode’ of whatever this is (see previous posts for details). I know with things like this they often tend to take a ‘wait and see’ approach and a lot of people are left in limbo for years during this time with no treatment.

In my case, although most of my symptoms largely ease after each episode, the damage to my visual field remains permanent. But the last episode lasted from May to October 2012. I just wish that a doctor was able to try treating me with something without a diagnosis. I have heard cases where GPs have handed out a single course of steroids without a diagnosis but this is not my experience.

I actually got upset at my opthalmologist appointment this morning due to the feeling of helplessness, to which he suggested I see my GP for ‘psychological help’. I don’t want that… Sorry for the rant.

Private or not?

After recognising the return of some unwelcome signs, I thought it best to contact the doctor I’d most recently seen at the eye hospital. He said he could see me next week, as opposed to our planned appointment in 3 months time. 

At the same time, the mother had offered to ring round a few private consultants (because I’m at work during the day, not because I’m a lazy ass) just in case they could offer something that the NHS could not. I don’t know how I feel about a private consultation. Aside from the cost of an investigation that may result from that, is there anything that they could do that NHS doctors couldn’t? I am only considering it as no one I’ve seen can seem to find anything to suggest what may be causing this. Since the first patches of vision I lost did not return, I don’t want to sit around waiting for it to happen again. 

Hospital Appointments

Don’t get me wrong, I love the NHS. I can’t imagine the past year without it. But if someone doesn’t have a single bad word to say about it, then they’ve clearly never entered the hospital for a 9.00 appointment and then left at 12.00 having had an eye examination and a 5 minute talk with the doctor… or had to explain their extensive list of weird symptoms to 10 different doctors in the space of a few months… or sometimes during a single hospital visit. But as I said, I appreciate it really.

A couple of weeks ago I had a routine follow-up appointment. I had the standard field of vision test and eye examination. For those who don’t know, a field of vision test involves resting your chin on a ledge and staring at the inside of a sideways dome-like structure, with one eye covered at a time. You are asked to stare at a dot in the centre of this dome and little lights appear in all of the areas around the dome. You have to click a button every time you see a light appear, hence showing up any areas where your vision isn’t behaving as it should.

Anyway, after the field of vision test, the doctor remarked that there were some areas of my vision where I had shown consistency in my lack of response. “Umm… wouldn’t we expect that?” I replied in a sarcastic-sounding but honestly just confused tone. “Well, a lot of people just click all over the place”, he answered.

Great. I’d lost part of my vision but at least I’d be good at Bop-It.