Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Visit to the Eye Doctor

I went to the eye-doctor recently.

I've always kind of hated going to the optometrist/ophthalmologist/oculist/occultist (did you catch that joke there? It's a doozie!) because I always felt like a spectacle (oh, another one! I'm on a roll!)

(Those jokes were so cheesy that by invocation of the laws of humor blogging I am now required to kill myself like a failed Ninja which I believe involves disembowelment and a lot of bowing. I'm not going to do it though. Mostly because it might make me throw up, and I'm phobic.)

Anyway, going to the eye doctor is always a funny experience for a guy with a blind eye. There's always some drama. When I was younger, it was annoying. In elementary school, the following conversation took place pretty much any time I interacted with an Eyeball Professional.

Female Eyeball Professional: All right, go ahead cover your left eye and look at the letters on the wall. What can you see?

Me: (reads a bunch of letters)

FEP: Perfect. Now cover your right eye and do the same.

Me: My eye is blind.

FEP (skeptically): That's okay, sweetie. Go ahead and just give it a try. Tell me what letters you see.

Me: Okay... (covers eye and looks at the screen) I can't see any letters.

FEP: (Switches screens so the letters are larger) What about now?

Me: ...I really can't see any.

FEP: (Switches to the really huge "E") All right, try this one.

Me:  I can't see it. I can't see anything. I can't even tell where I'm supposed to look.

FEP (as if this is a revelation): Young man, you are blind in that eye!

Every. Single. Year.

I always wanted to say something snarky like "And clearly you are deaf, because I told you I was blind before we started" but I was too nice as a child.

 All right young man, now I'd like you to close both eyes and read this chart to ascertain whether or not you can see through your eyelids. 
(Photo attribution: here)

Anyway, after years of being lazy and baked by the sun, now my eye is so deformed looking it makes me look vaguely like a serial killer and there's no way anybody on earth would be surprised to hear it is blind. In fact, most people are surprised to discover that I'm not a raging homicidal maniac intent on personally massaging the tender, blood-filled walls of their heart as it beats its last beats if they notice my eye before anything else. 

These days when I see an Eyeball Professional, the mood is different. They are riveted by me. Not only do they not need to be "tipped off" that the weird orb in my face looking the wrong direction is blind, but they are more than eager to sit down and take a gander at the sucker.

I've finally begun to realize that they are just fascinated by the thing. I mean, it really is a novelty. It's like a relic from the 80's--they like to look at just what the surgeons did to me. Where they hacked it open, and what they took out. They find it fascinating.

But that's okay. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like a celebrity kind of. A really poor, anonymous, deformed celebrity. Except for then they always want to dilate my eyes even when I don't need it, and that gets annoying.

Anyway, my latest visit was weird. I went to a new clinic because I had new insurance. So, I was prepping myself for the same routine. "Hi, how are you, nice to meet you... WHOA what the FREAK is that nasty grape doing in your left eye socket and can I study it for the next 30 minutes please?"

I sat waiting in the waiting room, filling out the paperwork, and when the time came, the doctor came out and brought me into the office. He sat me down, looked me straight in the eye and had no reaction.


At first I was kind of relieved. Like, okay, finally I'm treated just like everybody else.

But then I started to feel... miffed. He didn't care. He didn't even seem interested. Had he not noticed what he had in his office? Was he too obtuse to realize what he had access to? This eye, sir, has been cited in medical texts of the 1980's. I was a special case! I was cutting edge! And you just look at me like I'm some random guy off the street with two normal eyes.

I mean seriously, the audacity.

Then he looked over my paperwork and said, "so, are you still teaching middle school?" I hadn't written anything about teaching middle school on my paperwork. I hadn't taught middle school for years.

"No..." I replied, looking baffled.

When he saw my confusion, we talked and discovered that I had seen him half a decade before when I taught at the local school district. I had no recollection of this. I was kind of thinking, but didn't dare to hope, that even though I couldn't remember him at all, I might be so memorable to him because of you-know-what. That maybe it wasn't ME he was remembering, but a special eye-condition that he couldn't get out of his mind...

And then he said it, the thing that let me know that I still had it--that this eye still had swagger.

"So, how's that eye of yours doing?"

I was flooded with relief. I was special again! I was different. My uniqueness hadn't been stripped away by some highfaluting "everyone is the same" robot. I sighed deeply.

I didn't even cringe when he asked the inevitable: "Do you mind if I dilate you so I can get a look inside that left eye again...?"

This guy? He had remembered my situation for years. He had earned access to the inner regions of my cornea. "Have at it," I said.

And then he had his way with my face for the next 30 minutes, and I just basked in the glory of my atrocious looking congenital defect and the awesomeness it afforded me.

So listen. It may be true that my eye looks a little bit like somebody took a flame-thrower to a marshmallow and then attached it to my face with a hot glue gun, but by golly if it doesn't have its fringe benefits as well.

Don't you wish you were deformed and really special and unique like me?

Left eye wants to visit you in your dreams tonight!
(Drawing attribution: here)


  1. My drawing on recent internet publications again :-) Awwww...

    Thanks Weed! :-D

    1. I thought you'd get a kick out of that ;-). It was perfect.

  2. I have some weird blind spots in my left eye--mostly covered by the right and not a problem. They are caused by calcium deposits on my optic nerves, which usually show up in old people, but a while ago I actually got sent to a retinal specialist for an ultrasound on my eyeballs and they found out that I have some weird deformity with the way my eyeballs connect to the optic nerve.

    BUT--I have the same problem where I end up with extra-long appointments every time I go to the eye doctor, because they all have to figure this out for themselves (despite me explaining the whole thing) and give me a big long examination and say "Oh wow, that's weird". I think I need to get some insurance and get a regular eye doctor so I don't have to do that every few years.

    1. Yeah, definitely having an established doctor eliminates the novelty a bit. (Unless you don't see them for five years, apparently.)

      Way weird about your blind spots and the optic nerve connection. Eyes are so complex, it's any wonder most people have normally functioning ones.

  3. Oh yes! Your wonky-eyed friend Bridget sympathizes 100%!!

    1. As always, solidarity my friend! *fist bump*

  4. Hilarious! I must admit, though, that I'm feeling somewhat bad about my blog post from yesterday regarding how reading glasses suck, as I rambled on about my lazy eye. Regardless, it was in the name of humor, and it's important to find a sense of humor in everything. Great post!

    1. You should absolutely not feel bad about your lazy eye post from yesterday (which I just went over and read). Totally unoffensive! Let's celebrate blindness. Cheers!

  5. Every time I see a doctor other than my endocrinologist (aka diabetes specialist) they always like to inform me that my blood sugar is elevated and that I have diabetes. I usually like to say something snarky like "no sh#$" because if they'd just looked at my chart they'd know I've had it for years. Also, another thing medical professionals ask that drives me crazy, especially eye doctors actually, is "how's your diabetes going?" What am I supposed to say to that? Would you ask someone who had some other illness that question? So, how's your cancer/HIV/depression going? Why is it OK to ask that for diabetes? I usually also say something snarky, or ask them to be more specific. Any way, all I'm saying is that I can commiserate.

    1. Haha, that's so funny. You're like "oh, so THAT's why I've been pumping insulin into my own body for years. Thank you for this revelation which I'm quite certain has changed my life forever."

      So, Erin, how's your diabetes going?

  6. I went to see my (very former) doctor for some panic/anxiety that I was having. Without even skipping a beat, or doing any sort of exam, his "prescription" for me was "You need to lose about 20 pounds and go talk to a professional". What the whaaat?!?! I paid my copay to hear "you're fat and crazy"?! And by the way, I wasn't even overweight. So thanks doc, thanks for your help.

  7. Great post! Love the stories about your eye. :)

  8. So I read this post out loud to my hubby- the man has a glass eye (his left) and had the same conversation every time he had those weird eye tests at school. When he got his license they made him take the peripheral vision test even though he has none (as he likes to say "my left side is a gaping hole!"). So you officially have someone that knows how you feel and also thinks people are dumb.

    Thanks for the laugh. I'm Maquel's friend btw not a random stalker ;)