As Frances Rogers was out buying new flowers at the garden center, she felt signs of a migraine coming on. The heat was pounding in her head, and she went back home to rest and watch television. As she sat on her couch she covered one eye at a time, realizing little specks of colors would appear in her right eye.
Ms. Rogers went to bed in her home in Belton, TX and the next morning her nephew came to mow her lawn. She casually mentioned the strange vision from the night before, but didn’t speak much more of it since the problem went away. Luckily, her nephew suggested they head off to the emergency department, for fear of something more serious behind this odd occurrence.
Ms. Rogers was seen immediately by ER staff and visited her ophthalmologist just days later. They found plaque in her right eye and she ended up with carotid artery surgery because of the major blockage. Thanks to the teamwork behind Ms. Rogers, everything was caught in time so her vision returned and she is now recovering well.
“It came as a surprise except I’m practical enough to realize that with my age everything is wearing out and anything could happen,” says Ms. Rogers, age 83.
All Working as One
When Ms. Rogers got to the ER and explained the specks in her eye, “They got me right back there and started right away,” she explains. “My nephew told me he’d never seen anyone treated the way I was treated, meaning exceptionally great.”
Ms. Rogers was aware of the signs of heart attack and stroke, and knew that serious problems can sometimes relate to vision, especially if in one eye. However, when the ER tests did not find signs of heart attack or stroke, she turned to Mark Hollingsworth, MD at the Scott & White Eye Institute.
Ms. Rogers has a longstanding relationship with Dr. Hollingsworth for over 15 years. When he ran tests and found Hollenhorst plaque in her right eye, she knew she could trust his diagnosis.
The plaque originated from a damaged internal wall of her carotid artery and the plaque debris traveled through the bloodstream until it reached a vessel too small to allow it to pass, causing possible tissue damage.
“She was at risk of having more of these breaking off and possibly going to the eye or other organs, especially the brain where stroke could occur,” explains Dr. Hollingsworth. “Surgery was necessary to clean the wall of the carotid artery as a preventative measure. She was also at risk of having the carotid artery become completely blocked so the carotid artery surgery lessened both these possibilities.”
When she heard she would need surgery, Ms. Rogers was nervous, but thankful Dr. Hollingsworth knew what was wrong. She felt like she had dodged a bullet. “I just kept saying ‘Thank goodness for Dr. Hollingsworth,’” she says.
From there, Ms. Rogers was referred to Thomas Warren, II, MD specially trained to perform carotid artery surgery. She says he was very informative and did a wonderful job explaining the procedure and providing follow-up care.
“I could tell all of the doctors were concerned, and they were getting on things quickly,” says Ms. Rogers. “It’s just comforting to know that the doctors are all around you to help.”
Longstanding Trust in Scott & White
“I’m almost 84 and my family was going to Scott & White before I was born,” says Ms. Rogers. “They would see Dr. Scott or Dr. White in the old wooden building. My history with Scott & White goes back probably 100 years.”
Ms. Rogers is impressed with the growth of Scott & White since she was born and raised in Killeen. She is attentive to her care, seeing her primary doctor, Barbara Weiss, MD for about 16 years now.
“When you have a longstanding relationship with your doctors, oh, you can’t even describe it,” says Ms. Rogers. “I trust them explicitly, and we have a wonderful relationship. I’ve known them for so many years and visited them often, I feel like I can talk about anything with them.”
Ms. Rogers continues to receive follow-up care and moves forward with gratitude for the teamwork behind her experience.
About the author
I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.