This post brought back memories of my early days in America, soon after falling off the boat as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young legal immigrant.
Tom, a Caucasian man who would become my husband and much later make me a widow the first time, drove himself and me to Visalia, CA and introduced me to my future sister-law, Trish. A beautiful woman inside and out, mid-to-late 20’s like me, she was married and had two adorable toddlers. The two-year-old girl had blond curls and inquisitive exquisite big blue eyes that kept staring at me. Noticing cutie pie’s behavior, mother admonished daughter. Tamara, it’s not polite to stare at people. Then Trish turned to me and apologized, Tammy has never seen an Asian person before. But the toddler disobeyed the order. She followed me around the house, her eyes intensely focused on mine, irritating the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong. I like kids. In their own room.
Evening came and everybody hit the sack. At crack of dawn, tiny blondie made a mad dash to our bedroom. Again she drilled her blue eyes on my face. Finally she exclaimed with disappointment, Your eyes still look tired! Tom and I laughed. A good night’s sleep couldn’t fix my hooded eyes!
Now to the ophthalmologist to whom my primary care physician referred me. But first, I consulted Dr Google. He confirmed that an opthalmologist is a doctor in the branch of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye. Actually the appointment was for my annual check up.
I arrived at the clinic at 2:30pm filled with trepidation because for nearly three years, the ill-fated CO-1686 clinical trial had handed me drug-induced diabetes while fighting my lung cancer. During my research, I read that diabetes can wreak havoc in every cell of the body, which definitely includes the eyes. Of course immediately after bailing from the trial, the diabetes disappeared. Poof! just like that. In the two weeks prior to my opthalmologist appointment, my eyes had been feeling weird, a perfect reason to blame. cancer and diabetes.
A 40ish bubbly woman eye-care tech ushered me to a seat in front of a machine. I heard clicking sounds as if she was taking pictures of my eyes. Then she led me to the reading examination room. Put your chin here, your forehead here. I obeyed. She asked me to read the row of smallest letters that I could read. I read the bottom row flawlessly. Hmm..20/20, she muttered. I responded, The cataract surgery results at work. After squirting pressure drops in my eyeballs, she suggested I walk to the reception room and wait for the ophthalmologist’s call.
After half an hour, a male voice called my name. It was the good doctor. A Caucasian man in his 50’s with a long last name that ended in “ggold” he had this air of being extremely busy. No smile, no friendly banter, guard up, his eyes focused on my charts. This was one eye doctor who avoided eye contact. I kept trying to intercept his line of sight but to no avail. The experience reminded me of an advice given to me on how to prevent a friendly dog from jumping on my lap: no eye contact. Dr Personality (Dr P) must have feared I’d strike a long drawn-out conversation with him, push back the next patient and delay his going home. He certainly did not appear to be the beer-and-nachos kind of dude.
Then Dr P brandished what looked like a magnifying glass/flashlight and directed it to my eyes. He instructed me to rotate my eyeballs 360 degrees: to the left straight, to the left high, to the ceiling, to the right straight, etc. Sometimes my eyes got confused which way was right or left so he repeated the instruction a tad irritated. He asked me when I first noticed the stye-like bump on my lower right eyelid. I answered, Before grade school and my mother convinced me it was a beauty mark. As I grew bigger and older, it also grew bigger and older and every eye doctor suggested removing it. So much for beauty mark. My tale of woe failed to get a rise out of Dr P. He quickly followed up with a question, Do you feel like blinking eyes often because they felt weird? And I thought, Oh no, here’s the disease caused by the drug-induced diabetes! I answered Yes, I’ve been doing that lately. Dry eyes, he declared with authority. Take fish oil. It’s good for the eyes. I argued: I eat a lot of fish. I was hoping he’d give me some static. But no. He quickly agreed that lots of fish in the diet would suffice. He declared there was nothing wrong with my eyes. His subsequent demeanor indicated in no uncertain terms it was time for me to skedaddle.
In light of the foregoing, I resolve that next time I’ll only take morning appointment when the doctor is still enjoying his work. I’m not complaining. Good news is good.
Would you agree that morning doctor appointments are better?