Monday, 29 March 2010
The Eyes Have It
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...