Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bedside Manner

I grew up with people whose general attitude toward health care went like this: why go to the doctor? You're either going to find out you're fine, in which case you spent money for nothing or you're going to find out you're dying, in which case you spent money for nothing. So while I have transcended that attitude somewhat, it still takes me a while to get around to making my regular appointments for the things one should regularly have checked out. Consequently, I went to an eye appointment yesterday that was only about a year over due but more to the point, I was motivated not so much by caring for my eyes as the fact that I was out of contact lenses.

Eye appointments are very low on the list of "doctor visits about which one gets nervous". The worst thing they do to you is dilate your eyes. I did flunk my peripheral vision test but that's just because my right eye is so dominant it made my left eye want to blank out but now that I know the work around for that we'll try again and all will be well. So we're going along and it's all, "your eyesight is actually improving...you still have astigmatism (which, btw, isn't anywhere near as exciting as stigmata)...do you want to try multifocal lenses so you don't have to use readers...and then all a sudden the doc is all freaked out.

"You have a very large floater in your left eye. Does it bother you?"

"A what?"

"A floater". Which she then had to explain to me. (I still don't understand it; I came away with the impression that I have a jelly fish behind my eye). "How often do you notice it?"

"Um, never?"

"Ever see flashes of light?"


She looked at me like I'd just declared Sarah Palin the brain trust of our time. "You don't notice anything? It's pretty big".

"No. I remember the doc last time mentioning I had one but I haven't noticed anything".

The doc was still bemused. She told me that typically they aren't a problem for people, that they aren't treated, etc. etc. but...

"You think it needs to be treated?"

"Well, there are risks with the procedure but this one is so big..."

"But if I don't even notice it what's the big deal?"

"Well, if they are big enough they can tug at the retina, sometimes causing it to detach".


We can all agree a detached retina would be a bad thing. But holy hell. Here I go, blithely along, doot doot doot di doot, not noticing the behemoth in my eye and all a sudden not only is it supposed to be impairing my vision, it could make me blind!

Who tells a person these things? Why couldn't she have just said something like, "Now when people get older their eyes change. Here are some things to look for. If you notice anything, especially, oh, say, flashes of light, you give me a call, 'k?" You know, just sort of lay it out there in a quiet, non-panicky way and see what happens.

But no.

So of course last night I was completely obsessed with my eye: "Oh, there it is again. I can see my little Floaty". And I'm pretty sure I saw one of those flashes she was talking about this morning. Freaked me the hell out.

Doctors just shouldn't tell me things like that. They just shouldn't.

Now I'm just saying lots of prayers to St. Lucy and looking on line for designer eye patches. Just in case.


Blogger Grish opined...

The Eye doctor actually used a similar word when I had my daughter tested for new glasses for school but he just made a 'glasses' adjustement and we were on our way.

It's probably just a new term they all learnt in the latest 'Evil Eye Doctor, Monthly Magazine' or something.

August 04, 2009 8:57 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

I've had floaters for years. I see them every once in a while as amoeba-looking things in one eye or another when the ambient light is dim, it drifts about, I watch it like a dust mote. I've only seen the flashing lights twice, they look like those twirling sparklers you see on the Fourth. The doc tells me I'm at risk for detached retinas because of the shape of my eyeballs. But, I'm not worried, if they every detach, I'll get them reattached and all will be fine, I'll still be able to play golf.

August 04, 2009 9:17 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

I hope.

August 04, 2009 9:18 AM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Eye patches are sexy. Hope you dont have to get one though.

August 04, 2009 9:20 AM  
Blogger Bad Alice opined...

I have tons of floaters. They are annoying in bright light - like seeing ameoba swimming in front of me. I have them because I'm extremely nearsighted (as in minus 10 in each eye). Being so nearsighted also puts me at risk for a detached retina, which my dad had. Every now and then I freak out at the thought of it. But there's nothing I can do about it. No preventative. Just watch out for fireworks. Sigh.

August 04, 2009 9:23 AM  
Blogger rosemary opined...

I have floaters.....maybe we should go shopping for eye patches...you, me, Anne, Grish and his daughter, and bad Alice. We could all match! my youngest son was shot in the eye with a BB gun when he was 5 or so...a piece of his iris is embedded in his retina. never moved, never caused a detachment. sometimes new technology and discoveries are irritating.

August 04, 2009 9:45 AM  
Blogger Al In The County opined...

Everyone has floaters and detaching retinas and cool eye patches but me! sob!

Seriously, though, its not the floater that would have freaked me out, but her obsession on how big said floater is.

Might want to get a second opinion?

August 04, 2009 11:12 AM  
Blogger Grish opined...

Oooo matching Eye Patches! i likey!

August 04, 2009 2:37 PM  
Blogger Mom opined...

Would you have to talk like a pirate when you where your eye patch?

August 04, 2009 4:45 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

I have buttloads of floaters.
With a little practice,you can make them stand still,or move in any direction you want!
..it's a skill.

August 04, 2009 6:04 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

I'm all for freedom of the press, Grish, but I think they need to shut that magazine down!

You give me hope, Anne. Except for the golf thing. I'll never understand that sport.

Yeah, Sage, I can picture one with a little rhinestone swirly in the corner or something but I think I'd prefer not to go there. Not to mention I'm quite sure that if I had one I'd be talking like a prirate all the time.

BA, the weirdest thing is that I have never noticed anything remotely annoying. Don't you think if it was that ginormous I'd be a little more aware?

Oooh, matching eye patches! Good idear, Rosie!

Poor little Al. But then, you need to see proper to do all that hay balin' and calf breedin' and such. Maybe the good Lord is just looking out for you. (Good job on the not smoking thing, btw).

Ah, Mom, see? Great minds and all that...

August 04, 2009 6:06 PM  
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November 09, 2009 4:31 PM  

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