You'll never guess who was my eye doctor today! Johnny Cash! I swear. This guy brings me into his room. He doesn't smile. He doesn't ask how I am. He's wearing black shoes, black pants, a black dress shirt, and a black tie. He has carefully cropped black hair and big black glasses. He's clearly getting annoyed with me when I'm explaining to him my situation: I can't wear my contacts anymore because they are driving me nuts, and my glasses have a cracked lens. So, I want to check my prescription before I buy new glasses, and I want to talk about what's going on with my contacts. It's kind of uncomfortable in this office. He seems a bit rusty in general with everything he is doing, like he either really doesn't know what he's doing, or he's Steve Martin playing the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.
When we get to the glaucoma test, I'm positive he's some sort of sadist. Just before this test starts, he tells me to put my chin in the chin rest, but the tip of the machine is so far forward I can't put my chin there without the tip poking my face. He moves it back, and I put my head into this contraption. Now, glaucoma tests already put one a bit on the edge. I mean, that poof of air... you never know when it's coming, and it always startles you. But this... this was far, far worse. I've already got this dark, sinister figure for a doctor. We've already established that the machine had been set into eye-gouging territory before I put my chin in the chin rest. So I'm sitting there, and he's slowly dialling the knobs, and I'm watching as this steel point creeps towards my eyeball. And, let me tell you, I am CONVINCED it is going to pierce my eye. I literally start shaking as it takes what seems like a hundred, horrible hours to come into it's resting point millimetres from my eye. I'm anticipating the sick sensation of metal through eyeball. And then POOF. It's over. Wait, no it's not. There's another whole eye to go. I don't think I held back my very nervous laughter.
Then we got into checking my prescription with the magically rotating lenses and the, "A or B? One or two?" There were a few times I could tell he was a bit confused by my choices. Like I had made the wrong choice somehow. As if that is possible. One time in particular I knew something wasn't right by his reaction to me saying I couldn't read what was on the screen. He told me to blink a few times, and I did, and then suddenly I could read it. He let's out this, "AHA!" He bursts into action, and before I know it he's rubbing this bright red Q-tip on the bottom of my eyeballs and beaming this vertical ray of light straight through into the back of my head. Or at least that is how it felt. Then he says, "I thought so." I have very dry eyes, and it turns out I have Superficial Punctate Keratitis. This means the surface of my eye is rough. Essentially when I blink what little liquid I do have in my eyes levels out the surface, and I can see clearly until it dries up again. We kind of go through the explanation of all this together. He starts the sentences, I see where he's going and finish them.
He tells me contacts are off limits. He tells me I'm going to have to get real familiar with artificial tears. He tells me about this new eyedrop, and mentions the crazy chemical that is the active ingredient. I didn't realise this was what he was telling me at the time, and the name of this chemical sounds an awful lot like some sort of horrible and rare bacteria or virus that is surely going to leave me blind. I ask, "Is this thing is a chemical or a bacteria or..." You can see him start to smile, and he kind of lights up in my interest and explains that this is the ingredient in the eyedrops and apparently it is actually the same chemical they give people so they don't reject their baboon hearts or whatever your transplant-de-jour might be. By now he's almost a completely different person. I'm no longer some boring routine checkup, but a med school quiz question. I'm a test of his skills. He's digging around for samples, and flipping through literature, and he's giving me a prescription and telling me to come back in six weeks. The thing is he's a contract employee and he might not be there the next time I come.
I asked him, "So, do you have your own practice or do you work at a hospital then when you aren't here?" "No," he says. "I'm old enough now that I don't have to work full time. I don't mind working the occasional Saturday, but I'm too old to deal with working every single Saturday." He kind of lets me in on his annoyance with The Man. Suddenly, his previously stiff mood all makes perfect sense. He's bitter about being here on yet another Saturday. And, another important thing I figure out: he's damn good, and this lack of warmth was the kind of arrogance you see in somebody who is damn good and knows it. I let him know that I don't blame him for not wanting to work Saturdays or for wanting to be his own boss.
Somehow it comes up that he's from Wisconsin, and I mention that I'm also from Sconnie. It turns out he not only knows the little town I'm from, but he knows the eye doctor who used to work there, AND he even knew about our claim to being the Home of the Hamburger. By the time it is all said and done he's bending over backwards for me, trying to make sure they submit the insurance correctly and that I get a good doctor next time. I shake his hand, and I thank him for all the footwork. I'm glad somebody finally figured out what was going on.
Oh, he also dilated my pupils. That was interesting. Those drops burn like a mofo. Looking at my pupils in the mirror afterwards was pretty comical. I wonder if anybody noticed after I left the office? It's taken several hours to get to the point where I could comfortably read anything close up again.
Now I've got some sweet new Prada glasses, and a second new pair for free as well. And once I get these eyedrops going, I won't have to worry about my body rejecting any body parts.
Alternate title: Spex Appeal
Are you old enough to have had the alternate glaucoma test where they actually touched your eyeball with a red hot poker? Well, maybe it wasn't a hot iron, but my memory is of sheer terror and suffering. They touched your eye with a thing, and then there was a lot of crying.
OH. MY. GOD.
Did anyone see Family Guy tonight? The incredibly awkward spoof of the most awkward scene from Little Shop of Horrors? You know the one with the weird surrealism and the "Somewhere that's green" song? Incredible.
I love coincidences like this. I strongly believe that they are a sign that at that moment you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
How'd you get your healthcare to pay for glasses? They only paid for my eye exam...
I had to pay for them. But it was buy one get one free! And, if I'm going to be wearing glasses instead of contacts from now on, and considering my old frames were fucked, I decided to drop the bills on some sweet new rims. Spinnaz. Word.
Sounds like hotness. Prada. Mmmmm.
They are certainly t3h hotness. This must be why Zach gets all the babes.
I do? Somebody should have told me...