Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Visions of Sugar Plums Dancing in my Head

Yesterday I went to get my eyes checked for the first time ever. I've been having a bit of difficulty reading the cardiac monitors at work, and night driving is awful.
So, I got to the optical place, which is down the street from where I live, sat down in the reception area, which consisted of three chairs, a desk and a faded poster. A minute later, an elderly woman pokes her head around the corner, and says the receptionist will be right with me, she's just parking the car. OK, no worries...but I do hear some grunting and groaning and huffing and puffing coming from the other room. Okaaaay.
The receptionist comes in, takes my name, blah, blah,blah...then she gets me to sit in a few different chairs with chin rests. One of them I just had to look at little trees, but the other one blew puffs of air into my eyes. I was a little nervous about that one, never having had it done before. But, I get it done, TWICE on each eyeball, and the receptionist says "ohhhh...da doctor's not goink to like dis!" I'm like "What? Why?" Apparently the pressure in my eyes is too high. Now, I'll let you all know, that one of my 3 year stints in the Middle East, was at The King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (doesn't it look like a palace?!) so I DO have some knowledge of Ocular problems. Glaucoma is something I'd rather not have.
I make my way into the actual doctor's office, and was invited to throw my purse and coat on the floor, all the while my brain trying to comprehend that my Intraocular Pressure is abnormally high and there must be a mistake. I meet the woman who had poked her head around the corner, and who was grunting and groaning and huffing and puffing, and realize that SHE is the doctor!
Oh. My!
My first instinct was to get the hell outta there, but I was too polite, I guess. I swear to god, my Optician looked like a Bag Lady. A well-fed Bag Lady. She had on a purple jersey summer skirt from circa 1980 that had 100's of runs in the material. Nylons with runs in them, white running shoes, a purple golf shirt that had last weeks food caked on to the front, and big, sloppy boobs. The first words out of her mouth were "I hate Christmas!" I didn't know what to say, so I politely laughed and said "Oh, you're not a Grinch, are you?!" Then I immediately regretted my words because she had some kind of a facial palsy on the left side of her face that made it look all droopy and her eyelid was kind of inside out. (I seriously wasn't making fun of her, and hoped she didn't think I was, because then maybe my new glaucoma would probably turn into a brain tumour or something, due to bad Karma.)
Thankfully, the Sugar Plum Fairy Bag Lady had a sense of humour. She laughed and said "no, not the Grinch, but maybe Ebenezer Scrooge." Then she talked for about 15 minutes about what she had to get everyone for Christmas. I was thinking about the glaucoma.
I finally got her on track by telling her I was a nurse, and had never had my eyes checked before. I tell her which hospital I work at (because she asked) which, gave her something else to talk about for the next 10 minutes. She can't stand that hospital because they misdiagnosed her Menniere's disease and sent her home, and now she's deaf. And, she lives all alone, so how was she supposed to manage when she's dizzy and can't hear?
I've been there 25 minutes, and she has not looked into my bulging, high-pressured eyes!
So, I try another tactic. I tell her that I WORKED at an Eye Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia, and that her receptionist had mentioned that my eye pressures were high. Did she think I had glaucoma?
That, gave her another topic to talk about. "You worked in Saudi Arabia? How did you cope with not being able to drive?! And you had to cover your arms! I worked up North with the Indians back in the day of Tubercolosis, although people called it Consumption back then. And the men would speak for the women up there, but the women could show their arms."
35 minutes. And she has not looked at my eyes yet.
I seriously thought I'd never get out of there, and go blind waiting.
Finally, I think that she's getting down to business, when she asks me my name. I say "Ramona H@@@@@t."
"Ramona. H@@@@@t. Well now, that doesn't quite go together, does it?! What's your background?"
"Well, H@@@@@t isn't German."
Sigh. "No, I just got married."
"Ramona's not a German name either."
Sigh. "My mom had a thing for Spanish names."
Tick tock. Tick tock.

Finally. Finally she makes a move and gets me to recite EPGAOF. (Or, whatever the letters are.)
She looks into my eyes. "OH! GEEZ!"
"I think you have a stigmatism."
Oh. Is that all? No brain tumour?
Next eye.
"OH. MY! OH. MY!"
"I see some cupping of your disc. You'll have to go to an Opthalmologist. I can write you a prescription for glasses, but you'll need to see a specialist, I can't deal with that!"

OK. Fine. Just let me out of here.
I got there at 11:30, and left at 1pm.
I kid you not.

My guess is, she doesn't have a very busy practice.