Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This morning I rushed through my usual routine so that I could make it to my retinal specialist appointment – and the answer to all my problems, naturally – on time. And it would seem that the ophthalmologist offices in Chicago have a special on the Reader’s Digest BIG PRINT version, because they’re chock full of copies at this doctor’s office too. Oh well. I read a story about some woman who became a minister or pastor, and she explains how she found her calling thusly: “I took that picture of Tom (her husband) looking so dashing in his policeman’s uniform in the paper that day and put it in a scrapbook, with the caption ‘God, please keep Tom safe in your heart and protect him always.’ The very next day, I got the call telling me that his patrol car was broad-sided, and he was dead.”
Huh? Am I the ONLY one who doesn’t really get how God figures into this? Who maybe thinks the Big Guy was a bit asleep at the switch there??
Anyway, soon enough I get called in, they do the usual tests which show nothing, except that apparently I have excellent eye pressure. No really, I do. Normal is 10-22, and I’m a 20. Sweet! Umm, what does that mean exactly? No matter, though it does prove that I'm an overachiever in all things. Really, just a way of life for me.
Then I get to see the man of the hour, Dr. Flood, a tall, rangy guy with a booming voice – and an astonishingly keen sense of humor.
Dr. Flood: Okay, rest your chin here and your forehead there and I’ll check out a few things.
Me, as I bonk my head and almost impale my eye on the contraption: Ow!
Dr. F.: Ha! Business has been slow around here lately, so we try to get patients to gouge their eyes, drum up more business.
Me: Not a bad plan – it almost worked.
Dr. F.: Next time! So, it looks like the tests Dr. Yang ran didn’t find anything, so we’ll do some different tests that are more sensitive, to look at the entire retinal area and the blood vessels in your eyes.
Me: I hope we find something! I mean, not really, but this is driving me crazy. And we’ve ruled out the brain tumor worry.
Dr. F.: That’s always a good thing to rule out. And yes, if these tests don’t show anything, then, well, sometimes we just can’t find the answers to everything.
Me: Then I’ll look like I’m crazy.
Dr. F.: Exactly. Psych consult! Ha, just kidding!
Me: Well, if we don’t find anything, I’m going to use this to become famous, write it up in the JAMA…
Dr. F.: JAMA, or perhaps……The American Journal of Ophthalmology, that would be even more prestigious. You could name it….Tasha’s Disease!
Me: See, it’s all coming together now – the MBE as my claim to fame….
He then shows me a model of an eye, the retinal area, and it has a little structure in there that says “This is the macula.”
Dr. F.: Now, this part that says that, that’s not actually in your eye.
I like this guy.
I go have these other tests done, which involve an IV, yellow dye flowing into my (hard to find, as usual) vein, and so much flashing of bright lights that if I didn’t have an eye problem before, I do now. I can’t see a damn thing. I’m then sitting and waiting in another office by myself, waiting for the results, when Dr. Flood pokes his head around the corner:
“We may have something! Hold tight! I’m going to look at another scan.”
I’m almost giddy with delight at the news. Yay, an identifiable eye problem!
He then comes in to show me what he found. Which turns out to be…..a very tiny pinprick of white, which would be a drusen if I were, say, 70, but instead is a drusen-like formation, or Central Serous Retinopathy. He gives me some long explanation about fluid buildup, blurry eye, the formation of a blister in the retinal area, etc. I only have one question.
Me: So what causes this?
Dr. F.: It’s generally caused by stress, and is found in Type A personalities….
I burst out laughing at this point.
Me: Hahahahahha, stress, of course! All roads lead to stress in my life! Or vice versa!
Dr. F.: Yes, and it’s not the kind of adrenaline rush from danger, or stress from, say, being chased by a lion, but more a high level of day-to-day-stress, as one is out in the trenches, every day, slogging through….
Me: Story of my life. Me in the trenches. Yep, it all makes sense now.
As for the cure or treatment…….there isn’t one. I get to live with FBE until it eventually, hopefully, goes away, which apparently is what happens after 3-4 months. But am I the only one who sees the irony here? Because a lot of my stress is caused by the damn medical bills, dealing with the asshats at BCBS, calls from collection agencies for stuff I refuse to pay for because I shouldn't have to - and so I'm getting these stress-related mystery ailments that, lo and behold, mean more expensive tests that BCBS has to pay for, at least in part. Hello? What's wrong with this picture?
Anyway, I stumble out of the office into the snowy streets, happy that I at least have an answer, laughing ironically at the stress part, and heading downtown, for Part II of the day: the Daley Center and small claims court, or at least the filing part of small claims. Where I’m lucky I didn’t get myself arrested………..
(to be continued)