Sometimes when I’m driving I have these blurry episodes where I feel like a frog just laid eggs under my eyelid and all the babies are hatching at once. So I thought maybe I should do something about it.
I’d never been to an optometrist before. There was one close by my apartment, between the gas station and the post office. So I scheduled an appointment early one Tuesday morning.
It was icy cold outside, and they apparently tried to save money on heat by not having it in the waiting area. So I shivered till two scrubs-clad females escorted me to the back room.
One of the women was very nervous, and the other was very fat. Fatty told Shaky to tell me what to do, and through the chain of command I sat in the seat and had my retinas photographed, and then argued about why I couldn’t have my pupils dilated on a day I have to go to work.
Then they did that weird reflex test, which used to consist of a puff of air blowing into your unsuspecting, already watery eyes as you stare into the back of a kaleidoscope. The reflex test has been updated.
It now consists of this evil handheld device that rests on your forehead while the nurse pushes a button, causing a drill-like spinning plastic piece to come out and poke you in the cornea, none-too-gently.
Fatty handed the thing to Shaky, who came at me with no warning. My hands went up to push her away and I dodged instinctively.
“You have to tell her what you’re going to do,” Fatty said.
“Oh, right,” Shaky said.
She then poked me in the eyes about seventeen times, never quite being able to read whether my reaction was normal, especially since tears were pouring down uncontrollably after about the fifth try.
They both gave up and guided my blind personage into the exam room, where they sat me in darkness and shut the door.
Dr. Norman Kahn was very soft-spoken. He had a tablet PC (no, not an iPad, the old version) and takes his job as seriously as a forensic investigator. He asked if I ever had any eye discomfort, and I explained about his shaky nurse. He dismissed that and asked about other things. Do bright lights bother me?
“Well, sometimes when the sun is setting so it’s on the horizon, it hurts my eyes to look at it.”
“Hmm. Hurts to look at the sun. Yes.” And he didn’t laugh or even smile as he took notes on his tablet.
Then he hurriedly stood from his chair and put the tablet on the counter. By the way, the lights were still off. Only the glow of some upward lights under my examination chair illuminated his face.
He paced back and forth across the counter, monologuing like a gray-pony-tailed Dr. Gregory House. I thought I might be dying the way he stroked his chin and looked from the ceiling to his outstretched hands and back, but at the same time I had to refrain from bursting with laughter.
Finally he looked at me and adjusted his round-framed glasses.
“You are near-sighted in your right eye only. You don’t need glasses.”
A huge sigh of relief and $120 later, I’m right back where I started with the frog eggs in my eyes. Oh well.