Thursday, August 13, 2009

Eye Don't Know About This. . .

A couple of days ago, my right eye started feeling like there was something in it, like maybe an eyelash under the lid. It reminded me a lot of back when I wore contacts, and one would get out of place and migrate up there.

I couldn't see any foreign objects in there, but it got very red and watery.

It wasn't any better yesterday, and by evening three different people had looked at me and said, "What's wrong with your eye? That looks awful!"

I tried putting some plain eyedrops in it and, on the one hand, maybe they were a bit soothing, but on the other hand, there was one spot that seemed to sting a bit.

So, I called Anonydaddy last night for his professional opinion, and he told me to see an opthamologist today and get it checked out, because I might have scratched it.

I went to my insurance company's website and searched for local opthamologists and left a voicemail for the first one on the list.

A bit before 8 am, I got a call back. The person on the phone was male and clearly not a native English speaker.

Which I have no problem with, except that it makes me nervous when I have trouble understanding what a healthcare provider is saying to me.

For a while, I had a primary care physician who was East Asian. (Perhaps Indian or Pakistani, but I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to which?) He was a nice enough guy, and seemed to know his medicine, but I couldn't understand a damn word he said.

I stuck with him for too long because I felt like a racist or at least a xenophobe everytime I considered changing doctors because of the language issue.

Then came the appointment at which he told me I had a "wirus" and then, I thought, asked if I planned to go to work that day.

When I said yes, he wrote out a note to excuse me from work.

Evidently, the question that I had just answered was the exact opposite of the question that he had actually asked.

A note for work was not that important, but when I started thinking about having that sort of miscommunication about symptoms or treatments, I decided it was time to make a switch.

But, I figured that's just the scheduling person, and the doctor's name is very nondescript and American-sounding, so I shouldn't have any communication issues when I get there.

He said that I could come in today, "Any time."

Great! I suggested late morning, and he said, "Okay, like around 11 or 12?"

"Sure," I said, "Anytime in there is fine."


"So, like 11:30?"

"Okay. Anytime is fine."

Well, that was a little weird.

I went back to bed and the more I thought about it, the weirder it was.

In the mean time, I started wondering if maybe the other eye isn't bothering me a bit too, so perhaps I just have pinkeye?

But, I did need to get it checked out, and I wasn't not really comfortable with this place, so I finally got up and started calling other opthamologists, hoping to find someone else to see me, because that just didn't seem right.

I called probably four or five, and none could get me in before Monday.

One woman literally laughed outloud when I asked for an appointment today!

So, I guess I'm stuck with this doctor with the weird receptionist / scheduler / whatever.

I realized it would be better to go and get back before time for Peeper to get up, so I called back to see if I could move the appointment to 9:30 or 10 am.

"Sure, you come anytime. You can come right now."

So, not without some reservations, I showered and went.

The office is in a not-the-greatest residential neighborhood, but the building itself isn't a house. There were two names listed on the door, Dr. F. (The very American name listed on the insurance website) and Dr. B. (A name that I don't think I've ever heard, but neither particularly American nor particularly foreign.)

There was not a single car in the parking lot, nor a single person in the waiting room.

The only person inside was the guy I'd talked to on the phone, sitting behind the little sliding glass window.

I filled out the new patient paperwork, and noticed a sign listing several insurances that they no longer take. Under mine, it said "Dr. F only" (I'd told phone guy what insurance I had when I called.)

I turned in my paperwork and got my insurance care back, and sat down to wait. I figured I'd be meeting Dr. F. shortly.

Moments later, the same guy appeared at the door, and called my name (as if I weren't the only person sitting there), and told me to come on back.

We went in an exam room and he starting asking questions about what had happened to my eye, how long had it been hurting, etc.

He asked if I've been having any trouble seeing and I told him that I'm having a lot of trouble with both distance and close-up vision.

So, he had me read the eyechart, and when I was able to squint and hem and haw and guess and get most of the letters right, he told me, "Your vision is excellent, I don't know why you say you have a problem."

Okay, maybe it's my innate competitiveness or the fact that I'm a highly motivated test taker or something, but I'm starting to think that maybe I don't really understand how to do a vision test.

How hard am I supposed to try to get the answers right?

If the letters look blurry, should I just say that I can't read them, instead of working at it?

Let's put it this way, I may have figure out the letters on the last line, but if I were driving down the road and had to work that hard to read a street sign the size of the fourth or fifth line up, I would miss my turn.

Maybe I can see things that small unaided, but I really don't want to have to.

Then he had me read some text up close. He just handed me the thing; it wasn't suspended in front on me on a measuring rod or anything.

After I read that (holding it out farther than where he handed it to me) he said that I do need some help with up close vision, and that I should "Get some over-the-counter reading glasses."

He then spent a couple of minutes explaining that I probably need a "+1 or +.75" and that vision typically deteriorates by about .25 every four or five years, so if I get a +1 now, I should get a pair of +1.25 in a few years.

But you know, just pick some up at CVS or something.

Oh, and there was absolutely no "Better? Or worse?" portion to the quiz.

Then, he put some dye in my eye and looked it under a flourescent light, to look for a scratch.

(I know that part is right, because MamaCat had it done several times when she had eye infections.)

He didn't find any scratches, but said that there is an area that's irritated, so he thinks that something went in my eye and then came out and it irritated it but didn't do any actual damage.

He put some antibiotic ointment in it before I left and gave me some antibiotic eyedrops (a sample bottle) to use four times a day for five days, and he said that he wants me to come back tomorrow.

"You will see Dr. F tomorrow, and it will be completely better by then; I am 100% sure of it."

So I'm thinking two things here: A> You're not Dr. F?! I sure hope you're going to tell my insurance that I saw Dr. F today, because you are not covered! and 2> If you are 100% sure it will be all better, why do I have to come back?

But, of course, I just said, "Okay!"

We then went back to the front desk, to discuss tomorrow's "appointment." I told him that mid-morning was best, as I need to be home by noon. (To teach online.)

"So, you come like ten, ten forty-five?"

"Okay, so . . . ten thirty?"

"That's good. You come any time."

What. The. Fuck?

Here's what I envision happening tomorrow:
I pull into a crowded parking lot and walk into a crowded waiting room.

I check in with the young woman sitting behind the window, and she can't find me in the schedule, nor can she find my chart.

When I mention that I had an appointment yesterday, she says, "Yesterday? But we're closed on Thursdays. That's when the cleaning guy comes in."

I'll let you know how it actually plays out.


  1. Okay, as I am reading this I am agreeing with the wariness... until I get to the paragraph about the cleaning guy-then I laugh until my chest hurts. You must keep us informed!

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  3. Seriously, that's the best explanation I can come up with.

    When does a doctor's office tell you "Oh, you come any time" and then there's no one there!

    On the one hand, I was kind of wishing Shrike and Peeper had gone with me, so I wasn't alone, on the other hand, I was glad Peeper wasn't there.

    That said, he was very nice and neither did nor said anything inappropriate, but it was just...weird.

  4. a)Trust your instincts on wierd things like "anytime".
    b) Get a second opinion!

  5. Well, the eye feels better and is maybe not as red anymore - but now the other one is red, too.

    I think I have pinkeye and this guy is - well, I don't know what he is!

    I will go back tomorrow and see Dr. F, I suppose, and if I'm not liking how it feels / looks tomorrow, I will call and try to get an appointment with another doctor for Monday.

    And, I will make an appointment at my trusting mall optomistrist to get some bifocals, which is what I suspect I need.

    Although, I am kicking myself for not buying those bargain-bin reading glasses that I tried on at the grocery store a couple of months ago.

    I took a look at some ingredient labels with them, and it was wonderful!

  6. Hi, I've been following the adventures of you and Shrike and Peeper for awhile. She is adorable! And I love how your dog cleans up. I can't wait to see how the rest of the eye doctor drama plays out!

  7. That sounds pretty sketchy - though when I've seen an opthamologist, most of the 'checking' is done by a technician. So sounds like that's what you had done, except for the actual medical doctor consult part.

    I had iritis (an autoimmune attack on the iris of your eye) and it sucks. If it hurts in the light, then that may well be it. No big deal - just use prednisone drops. But if it recurs once or more, then they'll often send you for testing for stuff like lupus to rule any systemic autoimmune stuff.

  8. Prednisone drops probably not right for conjunctivitis (pink eye). Probably Peeper will catch it from you and her pediatrician can treat you both. Very contagious. (There is another anonymous above).

  9. Prednisone makes sense for an autoimmune thing, but I don't think that's what's going on here.

    I'm not light-sensitive, and it's more under the lid that's most irritated.

    And, the other eye is pink now, but never got as bad as the right eye, and it's getting better.

    And, so far, Peeper looks fine.

    So, I don't know what's up.

    Shrike tells me that her parents go to Dr F and say he's good. Tomorrow should be interesting.

  10. Really curious to hear what happened at your appointment today...

  11. Me too - doesn't sound like iritis - the light thing is the giveaway. Have you tried putting breastmilk in your eye? Preventatively for Peeper too - plus it doesn't sting like drops, though she might be a bit confused by your sudden lack of aim :).

  12. I'm not contagious (more on that in a new post soon) so no worries about Peeper's peepers.

    Funny, tho, despite having just tried to get milk up her nose a few days ago, I didn't even think of putting it in my eyes until this morning.

    It was tricky, but I was able to squirt some in there!


What say you?