Monday, 29 March 2010

The Eyes Have It

(photo nicked from Wikipedia...)

I had to ride the bus today. I haven't taken public transportation in years, as I do have my own trusty vehicle. But I wasn't allowed to drive.

I was informed that my driving abilities would be rather impaired by late morning. I was hoping this would be fun and perhaps tasty, but such was not the case.

I had my pupils dilated today. So the ophthalmologist could have a good peek at my retinas... retinae... whatever the plural is for the inside back part of my eyeballs.

What could have been a 30 minute appointment turned into well over an hour. And that was far shorter than the 2 1/2 hours they told me it would take. So I took the bus downtown, fretting that I would be late for my appointment because I was relying on some city employee to swing by the stop at the appropriate time, pick me up at the appropriate time, and then deposit me safely at the other end of the route at the appropriate time. I was nervous. I hate relying on someone else to get me places on time. I hate being late! But in the end it all worked out just fine.

So I go into the office and present myself at the front reception and had a seat in the waiting area. I was thrilled when I was called in no more than 5 minutes later. What service! I thought. It pays to have early appointment times.

I was taken into an exam room by one of the lovely ladies working there. She asked a few questions, filled in some blanks on a form and then put numbing drops in my eyes so she could pierce my eyeballs to check my intraocular pressures.

Well, no... actually, she just pressed an electronic meter to each eye, right where I could see her do it, and got an accurate psi for each. I asked her if I was properly inflated to 32 lbs... She just looked at me... and told me to go wait out in the waiting room in the centre of the hall.

Dabbing at my now frozen eyes with a tissue, I sat in the waiting area with several other patients. I swear they were all easily the age of my grandmothers... both of whom have been dead for years. Is it only old people who go see the ophthalmologist?

After about 10 minutes, I was called into a different exam room by a different woman. She called me 'Mrs.' I'm not a Mrs but I didn't bother to correct her. I'm old enough to be a Mrs., and I have been Mrs. in the past but am not one now. I thought it would just confuse the poor dear so I let it be.

I sat there for a couple minutes and lo and behold! The doctor came in. Again, I thought, 'What great service!" He had a quick peek at my file, asked me a few questions, especially interested in family history of glaucoma (yes) or migraines (yes)... but not me. My eye pressures are normal. I almost never get headaches (knock on wood) unless I am ill, have sunstroke or have bashed my noggin on some immovable object. He then put more numbing drops in my eyes and some other drops that he said would dilate my pupils so that he could have a good gander at the backs to make sure everything looks tikkety-bo. It would take about 20 minutes for the drops to do their thing, he said.

Off I went to the waiting room again. Again I am surrounded by old folks, but a different mix this time. A few the same, a few different. I sit and wait. I get called into another room in a few minutes to have yet another woman measure the thickness of my corneas... again by sticking some small pointy meter against my eye. Back I go to the waiting area. I look at my watch. I look at the small poster on the wall admonishing everyone to turn off their cell phones as they have equipment on this floor that can be buggered up by the transmission and reception of calls. I had dutifully turned mine off while in the main waiting area out front so I knew it wouldn't be me buggering up anyone's equipment.

There's not much to look at in that tiny waiting area. It's a little passageway between the two halls that contain the exam rooms and offices. To my right, I can see an oscillating fan (that is currently oscillating away) and into one exam room. The room I had just been in, to be exact. To my left, I can see an office worker typing away on a computer and answering the phone. I can't read the screen but can see that she flits between windows readily while making appointments and entering information. And I get to watch (and listen) to her complain when the IT department does a refresh of the system and her computer freezes.

After sitting and contemplating this microcosm of inactivity, I get called back into the same exam room. But this time, all the lights have lovely rainbow halos around them and they are all turned up much too bright. The doctor, a very pleasant young(er than me) man with ugly horn rimmed glasses (very 'cool' and retro but did anyone tell him they don't really look good on him?) who then proceeded to exam my retinas (and retinae... I had to look that up and both are correct) very closely. He blinded me with the usual bright light from the cobalt microscope but then put a magnifying lens between it and my eye and magnified that bright light to sun-searing levels and had me look up and down and to the sides and every which way (but loose).

So, the end opinion is my eyes are perfectly healthy and I have no evidence of the glaucoma that my mother and one sister are afflicted with. There's no unusual issues with my retinae, other than one has a tiny freckly on it but that's apparently common and of no concern. I was now free to go and get on with my life.

That's all fine and dandy, for one who has not had their pupils dilated to the extent that the iris is obliterated, and has had the equivalent of the high noon sun from equatorial Africa pinpointedly focused into their eyes. I am virtually blind... well, not quite but almost. I have to wear sunglasses in the building to make out where the elevator to the main lobby is. Then I have to turn my cellphone back on so I can call my sister and tell her my 2 1/2 hour appointment only took one hour and could she come pick me up? I had to take off said sunglasses to put on my reading glasses to see the numbers I was dialing on the phone.

I'm sure I looked legally blind as I squinted hard and help the phone near my face, eyes like black holes to nowhere. I then had to wend my way a block and a half away, in the brilliant sunlight, to await pick up. Thank goodness the building I was waiting in front of has a rather recessed front door and the overhang was like a dim cave.

After we went for lunch (where I wore my sunglasses inside the whole time and couldn't look at the windows), I had a nap after I got home and am almost back to normal now.

Well... as normal as I ever was...


  1. At my last eye exam they offered me the option to have them use an instrument that did the same diagnostics but did not require dilatation with drops. The catch - it cost and extra $35 and insurance wouldn't cover it. I opted to spring for it and they were done in a couple of minutes... and I didn't have to deal with dilated eyes the remainder of the day. $35 bucks well spent, I though.

  2. but y'all can see now, sugar! seriously, i loved the way y'all told this - well done! xoxoxox

  3. A few appointments ago I was all numb and dilated and had look at some flashing light test thing. I told the doctor In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida should be playing. He liked the idea and told me that he used to play it endlessly in his dorm.

    Yay for the good eye checkup!

  4. I think the temporary blindness is worth knowing it isn't permanent. I've been Dx with open angle glaucoma, but the eyedrop med is keeping the pressure down.

    I liked your comment about 32psi--but opthamologist techs have about as much sense of humor as podiatrists (yuk). I hate people who take themselves seriously.

  5. Robert: I've had that one done in the past, but the doc wanted to have a closer look than what that machine does. It's okay... just temporary inconvenience for great peace of mind.

    Savannah: Yep, I can see! And thanks... xoxoxo

    XL: I used to play that song on my walkman (in the days before iPods) while cycling around town in the summer... many years ago!

    Yay for not taking after my mum in that respect!

    Charlie: I don't recall what kind of glaucoma my mum had (and she can't tell me now, unless I have a séance) and haven't asked my sister about hers. But yeah, very willing to do the temporary thing to know there's nothing permanent. Glad to hear your meds are keeping things under control.

    (Cue Queen/Bowie's 'Under Pressure'...)

  6. Hey, I had that done to me once a long time ago! That blast of air into my eyeball surprised the hell out of me and kind of hurt! But yeah, they had dilated my eyes and gave me those plastic shades to wear! Everything was freakin bright and hazy for a few hours.

    Glad to hear your eyes are perfect!

  7. Eros: I've had the blast of air too and it does take you by surprise, even when you know it's coming! This time, it was an electronic meter pressed right to my eyeball... thank goodness they use numbing drops!

  8. Och hen, how naive can you be? He was no looking at your eyes, he was staring straight at your puppies.

  9. At least your eyes are still in fine condition. And you probably looked pretty cool wearing your shades in mid-winter! ;-)

    The only time I've had to have any eye treatment was when my darling baby son scratched a fingernail across my pupil. You can imagine how enjoyable it was when changes in the light intensity caused the pupil to resize. And trying to watch the TV was a *real* mistake!

  10. Jimmy: Oh, I'm not naive, hon... I don't mind the pups drawing admiring glances in the least. ;-)

    Ro: I'll have you know we broke a 92 year old record for high temperatures yesterday! We hit 18.2C!!! Beat 1918's 17.8. So never mind mid-winter And I hear you on the pain from the corneal scratch. When I had the laser surgery on my eyes three years ago, I hurt for a day or two... but it all healed quickly.

  11. Ouch!
    ...and I've had something drilled out of my eye before, but I'm still slightly squeamish reading about eyes.

  12. last time I went (last month) he asked me if I was retired :(
    Yours sounds much nicer AND your eyes are perfect - result!

  13. Scarlet: No real ouch... just light sensitive for a hour or 8!!! What on earth did you get in your eye that required a drill to remove it? Goodness, girl... you must have been in some kind of predicament.

    zIggI: Yes, I recall that post... rather rude of him, wasn't it? Mine was very nice... terribly polite, good looking too, except for his ghastly glasses. But young enough that he probably thought they looked cool.

  14. I finally have part of a day off and am trying to catch up on some of my favorite blogs. Just wanted to say hi and tell you that "eye" hope your knee and back get better!


  15. Laurie! Hello! So nice to hear form you!!!! Hope all is well with you in your little corner of the universe. And thank you for the kind words. :-)

  16. ...I got a piece of grit lodged in it... and then had to wear an eye patch for several weeks. Which was cool because I was 14 or 15 at the time!


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