Thursday, November 21, 2013

A "Trip" To The Eye Doctor

Adventures of:
A "Trip" To The Eye Doctor

This summer I began blogging heavily from my iPhone, posting on Facebook, writing dozens of emails each day, creating music playlists, juggling a calendar for a family of four, writing and photographing recipes. All this on my iPhone.  With better than 20/20 nearsighted and farsighted vision and clearance in April from my eye doctor, suddenly I wasn't seeing the fine print so clearly.  My senses have always been sharp. So sharp that I could read that microscopic fine print on a Tylenol bottle without a strain.  This summer, however, I noticed my eyes were not focusing clearly.  I rubbed my eyes, blinked like crazy, used extra eye drops or simply blamed it on my chronic dry eyes but no matter what I tried, it never seemed to clear up.  I refused to believe my 43 year old better than perfect vision was no longer so perfect.  I truly believed that I would never need glasses.  A tough pill to swallow, but I finally made an appointment with our family opthamologist.  My doctor was booked for several months but she's known to be the best in the Lehigh Valley so I strained my eyes for months awaiting my appointment.  Wouldn't you know that less than a week before my appointment, they called to push it back?  Not happy. I needed my sight, right?
Today, my appointment had finally arrived and I couldn't get there fast enough.  The nurse called me back, explained that it was a $110 test and I would need dilation.  With that said, she gave me a test that took a few seconds to tell me I was farsighted.  So why did I need any other test or have to pay for the full unnecessary exam, when all I wanted to confirm what I already knew, that I was "officially" farsighted?  I was rushed through a series of questions and routine tests by the nurse and was escorted to my room for dilation.  She tipped my head back, placed the dilation drops in my eyes and told me my eyes were going to feel numb and blurry soon and the doctor would be in shortly.  I felt some discomfort but nothing major.  I was waiting for an extended period of time, so I decided to pick up my phone and do what I always do, and what probably created this hot mess to begin with.  I was antsy and my back was beginning to ache from sitting so long.  Where was she?  I began to worry about getting home to my boys, feeding them dinner, and helping them with their homework, not to mention the rush hour traffic I was certain to encounter.  My appointment began at 3:30 and it was now 4:30.  I could hear the familiar voice of the doctor chatting it up behind the wall. Even with the soft music playing, I began to feel anxious.  Okay, so I was 10 minutes late. Is this my payback?  In walked the doctor and nurse.  They took one look at me, working on my cell phone and said, "can you read that?"  I said,  "yes."  "Oh, you are not dilated, you wouldn't be able to read that, we have to do it again."  I was sick to my stomach.  This was a true test of my patience and a true waiting game.  The drops were reapplied, and this time they said they would return in 10 minutes.  Well, it was the longest 10 minutes of my life. It was at least 20 minutes.  I could hear them again behind the wall, but this time, my back was sore and I was near blind!  Blurry beyond belief.  They told me I would not be able to see things close but distance would be fine.  I begged to differ, exclaiming I couldn't see near or far clearly.  The clock was ticking, I needed to get home, my only ride was me, and I couldn't see 2 feet in front of me. My tests for glaucoma and macular degeneration, were grueling as bright clear and blue light were being shined directly into my eyes from every angle, while my head was propped up in a contraption that resembled a modern day guillotine.  It was the quickest part of the visit and I received a clean bill of health, not to mention a $110 bill!  It was now 5:55, BONUS!!  It was rush hour.  I told the doctor again that I could barely see, near or far, and I was still assured I could drive with no problem.  Just put your sunglasses on and you'll be fine!  Wait a minute (I said to myself), the sun is setting, it's beginning to get dark.  You know, I'm usually good about sound judgement and doing anything outside of my comfort zone is usually not an option, but I was assured I would be fine, besides, I had to get home to my children.  I checked out and walked to my car as if I was using a walking cane.  I got in my car, took a deep breath and set off on my long journey home.  The first thing I realized I was blurry from near to far, I had limited peripheral vision, and could not make out any signs, large or small.  I proceeded onward, turning on my natural instincts and driving as slowly as one could bare to drive.  Passing was not an option, I was sure to collide.  I judged my distance instinctually too.  I would pull my glasses off when it was too dark and put them on as headlights were passing, this was a true test of faith (and luck!).  Headlights resembled the star of Bethlehem, only times 2, and at other times, when large groups of cars passed, I was certain lit Christmas trees were coming at me head on.  Other times, it looked like a single lamp motorcycle. It was a guessing game.  This defied the entire reason I stayed away from any kind of drugs my entire life, especially hallucinogens.  This was a TRIP!  A road trip of holiday hell.  I think I "ODed" on dilation drops.  Think about it, the first set had my eyes mildly sedated, and then the second time around, they double dipped! 
When I finally arrived home safely, I swung open the door to find a very blurry image of my mother facing me.  I said in one sentence, "I drove home half blind and I still can't see, turn off the lights!"  Texts were coming in on my mobile phone and I couldn't read them. The bright light of the phone was even more blinding.  I could make out nothing.  I again used my senses to locate the call back number to tell friends I was blind and could not read texts.  I ran to my room, scurried to find my pajamas and got in bed.  I gave up trying to see.  I fell asleep.  I was mentally exhausted.  It was a short nap and phone calls rather than texts began to come in.  We laughed and made light about my adventure but questioned why a doctor would allow you to leave in a disabling condition.  Why wasn't I warned when I made my appointment to bring a designated driver?  Truth is, I could have been killed or killed someone or something.  With no peripheral vision, if someone was crossing the street in front of me, they were sure to be road pizza.  Although I laugh, I'm pissed (a word I don't like to use).  It was irresponsible of my doctor and her staff.  They put my life at stake in the name of $110 dollars.  It's my understanding that I'm not the first and won't be the last.  My friend shared similar war stories and agreed it's not right.  I hope for those of you who think they may need glasses to be sure and bring a designated driver to your appointment.  On a final note, my clear vision didn't return until 9:00 pm!

"See" you soon!


Jamie Gottschall
The NYClifestylist

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