In November 2015, Robert Walsh made an appointment to see his GP. He’d been feeling dizzy and his GP felt he might be suffering from vertigo. He prescribed him with medication for vertigo and suggested that he make an appointment to see a physiotherapist that specialised in helping people with the condition. He also made an appointment for Robert to see a neurologist but as a public patient. However, the earliest appointment available to him was May 2016.
In the intervening period, Robert continued to feel tiredness and had problems with double vision. The date of his consultant appointment came around and he remembers having the same round of tests as he'd gone through with his GP. He was told that there seemed to be nothing wrong but that they would book an MRI for him for the following November. He suggested that to have the MRI sooner he would be prepared to pay to have it privately but was told that there seemed to be ‘no seriousness to his symptoms’ and that there was no need.
Robert left the appointment believing he had nothing to be concerned about. In the following weeks he began to experience blurred vision but put it down to a new career which meant spending more time in front of a pc. When his vertigo medication ran out, he rang his GP to ask for a repeat prescription. And while on the call, he suggested to his GP that he might have an eye test and the GP said that it could do no harm.
He made an appointment with an optician in Dublin city centre for the coming Saturday morning and when they took a photo of the back of his eye the optician noticed that his ocular nerve was swollen. He was advised to go to A & E in the Mater and was seen there by an Opthamologist who requested a CT scan. The scan showed a ‘mass on the brain’ and Robert was told to go straight to Beaumont Hospital.
The Mater had notified Beaumont of his arrival with a suspected brain tumnour and he was admitted to Richmond Ward that same evening. MRI scans were taken and Robert’s neurosurgeon, Mr Rawluk, informed him that he had an 8cm tumour on his brain. The surgery took place the following week, lasting nine hours. Robert spent a further 3 months on Richmond Ward in which time he underwent further operations to deal with post-operative complications. Side effects of the surgery included a general weakness down his right side, double vision, periods of continuous vomiting and loss of balance.
Robert left Beaumont Hospital on crutches which he need to maintain his balance and attended the NRH in Dun Laoghaire as an outpatient where he worked on building up his strength and improving his balance. He has since been given the all clear and believes he is 98% recovered from his experience.
Our thanks to Robert for sharing his story.
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