Thursday, December 3, 2009
I can see clearly now
Okay, not really. Nope, the world is juuust as blurry as ever. But I get ahead of myself.
Today was finally – finally! – the day of my long-awaited ophthalmologist appointment. Joy! Rapture! Happy happy! Now, I’m not saying anything one way or another about whether I was highly anticipating this visit, but let’s just note that I was already planning on adding Dr. Yang to my Christmas card list out of sheer gratitude. Going through life as if looking through a lens smudged with Vaseline, like they do with aging movie stars and news anchors, is a bit...overrated. Especially when you’re not the one getting the benefit of the smudginess.
The doctor’s office is right across the street from my usual haunt, the Galt, and there’s validated parking in my usual garage, though when I get to the garage it’s apparently Slow Idiots on Parade Day, as I’m stuck behind a line of cars inching forward in this TEN-STORY garage. Thoughts in my head:
“Oh COME ON, are you REALLY going to make us all wait ten minutes while you wait for that particular spot? You are, aren’t you...”
“DON’T you people REALIZE that there will be PLENTY of spots once you get to the Barbra Streisand floor?”
Yes, I really did think that, about my usual 8th floor, the Barbra floor where they play the music from Memories. It’s kind of scary that I know all that, no? Umm, let’s just not examine that too closely.
So I finally make it to the necessary floor – and here’s another scary moment. My new ophthalmologist’s office.......is on the same floor AND right next to my plastic surgeon’s office. My life is apparently destined to just be an endless series of Groundhog Days.
After filling out the necessary forms, I go into a room with a nurse who’ll apparently do the first part of the exam. Which involves reading eye charts, reading them wearing some contraption that she puts different lenses into, then getting all sorts of drops put into my eyes that make me even more blind. All the time I’m thinking, shit, what if I only need glasses? How much of a dumbass would that make ME?
Nurse: Okay, we’ll send you to this waiting area for a while so that the eyedrops can take effect. They’ll make things really blurry for a while, and then somewhat blurry for the rest of the day.
Me: So you’re saying I’ll be stumbling around like Mr. Magoo?
Nurse: Boy, I haven’t heard mention of him in a long time! He’s not very politically correct these days, is he? But.....yes. Just like that.
After the drops take effect, she does the rest of the exam, which apparently tests for glaucoma and other sundry eye ailments and has me convinced I’m going blind because I can hardly read the damn letters. Then I get to spend an interminable length of time waiting for Dr. Yang – which feels like time to the nth power because I can’t read anything to pass the time. I try, with this little picture glaucoma book, but all I can do is look at the pictures. Boring. There’s a plastic model of an eye, so I start toying with that. Pieces fall off. Enough with the plastic eye. Finally Dr. Yang comes in.
Dr. Yang: Okay, sorry to keep you waiting. Let’s take a look here......
Dr. Yang: Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t see anything wrong. Everything looks fine, maybe a little macular edema but nothing significant. The vision problems you’re having are a puzzle.
Me: Could it be a brain tumor?
Dr. Yang: Well.....that didn’t even occur to me, but now that you mention it...
Me: I have a brain tumor??
Dr. Yang: NO! I mean, no, that’s highly unlikely. Brain tumors present themselves differently, with total loss of vision in one eye, or symptoms in both eyes....
Me: The vision in my left eye did become totally blurry a few days ago as well.
Dr. Yang: Before we go down that path, let’s do a retina test and see if that tells us anything.
Dr. Yang: Okay, I have good news and bad news. The good news is.....there’s nothing wrong with your retina. The test was normal. The bad news of course is that we don’t know what’s causing the vision problems.
Me: Other than a possible brain tumor. Could it be FatSurly? I mean, the Tamoxifen?
Dr. Yang: That can cause eye problems, but no, in your case that’s not it.
Me: So we don’t know what it is....but we haven’t ruled out a brain tumor.
(Dr. Yang is uber-patient with my insanity, but the rather unfriendly nurse tech, not the one who did my earlier tests, is clearly thinking that I have mental problems. Hey, chiquita, let’s see YOU wind up with The Cancer and we’ll see where YOUR thoughts turn, m’kay?)
Dr. Yang: Again, I just can’t see that. What I’d recommend is seeing how things go and have you come back in 2-3 weeks, and if you’re still having problems then, we’ll do an MRI.
Me: That would find the brain tumor.
Dr. Yang: A tumor, or evidence of an aneurysm, things like that.
Me: Sounds like a plan to me!
Dr. Yang: Though if it would set your mind at ease, we could also do an MRI now rather than waiting. Now, President Obama would say that’s exactly what doctors shouldn’t be doing, prescribing tests that will probably not show anything, but that theory doesn’t look at the psychological peace of mind of the patient. So if it would make you feel better....
I decide I really like Dr. Yang.
Me: No, that’s okay, I can wait. I’m really not too concerned about it. I mean, what are the chances?
Dr. Yang: If you’re sure....
Me: Yes, I’m sure. Totally fine with waiting.
Dr. Yang: Okay, great, then we’ll see you in a couple of weeks, though of course let us know if things get any worse.
Me: Will do. Oh, by the way, I must at least need glasses, don’t I?
Dr. Yang: Oh no, you have 20/20, 20/25, close to perfect vision.
Off I go, feeling like a total hypochondriac. And quite honestly, do I think I have a brain tumor? No. Even the gods that hate me so couldn’t be that cruel. But then WTF is going on with my EYE?? It’s not like this is a bit of squinting or vague blurriness when I try to read, for example. No, this is full-on blurriness as if there’s a smudge of something covering my cornea. This is obviously not normal. So what the hell is it?? I guess for now it’s MBE, or Mystery Blurry Eye. Sigh.
By the way, I discovered today that if you google “fish fry shootout,” up comes my blog, very high up in the listings. For some reason, I’m inordinately proud of that fact. Must be the brain tumor talking.