Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fire in my eye, a cautionary Valentine's day tale

Fred and I are well matched when it comes to morning routines. We both like the morning well enough, we just don't want to speak to anyone at all, including each other, until we have had our coffee and said our morning prayers. That's about a good solid 20 minutes of quiet. After almost 22 years, you'd think we would have it down pat. Not this week. This week was different. (Keep in mind Friday the 13th feel this week.)

 After finishing a basement remodel by mid week, Fred decided upon waking one early morning, he was going to get a jump on that  stuff that had been adding up in the house and nagging at us both. Mind you, not things like too many dishes, or piles of laundry type things, or haven't been food shopping in 8 days no, no, no- he wanted to tackle the BIG stuff like doctors appointments, dental work, and eye exams. Noble things.  Things that require a person in the household who knows everyone's schedule to actually make those appointments so they come off without a hitch and don't have to be rescheduled over and over again at later dates with annoying receptionists who don't get family life with twelve people very easily.

 I suppose this is the correct place to alert my readers that Fred doesn't run his own work schedule.

 I run his schedule.

I do this  because, while carpentry is his area of expertise,  timing- is not. So to ask questions like "Can Fred remodel my basement, put up new siding, tear out my kitchen"  etc.  go ask Fred for a resounding yes, Yes, and YES!. But if you want to know WHEN he can do that job for you- you're in trouble if you're not talking to me.

On Wednesday when I stumbled out of bed, and before coffee was part of my metabolic condition  once more, Fred fired a long list of appointments at me that he had set up for our entire family. Doctor appointments, orthodontic appointments, and curiously even eye exams for both himself and me. Certainly I was having trouble seeing my coffee mug, but otherwise my vision is pretty good, so its hard to figure how I got in the mix. He also managed to set some of those preliminary appointments for that very afternoon, despite checking with me or any of the kids first to see availability. P.S. we were all unavailable. After he left to run an errand, I got a host of incoming complaints form the kids " Moooommmmm! I'm not free this afternoon!" 'I had plans..." "I don't need that right now..."

I silenced them quickly by pointing out  Dad was being so kind by thinking of us all and our needs and the least we could do is be grateful he cares about our health. Check ups are a good thing and to prove I was in solidarity with them, I pointed out that I was personally scheduled for an unnecessary eye exam on Valentines Day. This was met with serious howling from my sons, as they are just beginning to realize how that whole 'romance' thing takes part in relationships and its vital importance to many women they currently know, or would like to. ( in his defense, Fred did offer to reschedule the eye exams once he realized the whole 'Valentines Day' might have been the reason the ophthalmologist had open back-to-back appointments that day.But I wanted to set a good example for the kids so I told him to just keep it.)

Today, this cold sunny February 14th, I found myself with perfectly good vision, being swept into a small optical nightmare.

After filling out the initial paperwork, I watched as Fred went through his preliminary tests- distance, glaucoma, tracking. Check, check, and check and off he went into the private exam room.  I was left behind with the kindest, most grandmotherly woman in all of Frederick County. She pulled me up for my three preliminary tests, distance went fine. Then she tried checking for glaucoma by shooting a burst of air directly into my eye ball.

To say I flinched is an understatement.

 She needed to repeat it several times cause "Oh dear- that reading looks a little high to me!" Having someone, anyone with a grandmotherly voice tell me something looked wrong with my vision was disquieting. At this point I realized  I was totally unsure of  what glaucoma even was.I had a vague feeling it meant I had high blood pressure in my eyeballs. It began to feel that way.

I was also somewhat aware that shooting bursts of air repeatedly into said eyeball may in fact be the best way to raise the pressure there-in. It was certainly raising my blood pressure significantly with each passing moment. After repeating this sequence several times, she "hhhmmppphed" to herself and stopped trying.

Finally I was escorted to the private doctors exam room. As I sat in the darkened room waiting, I let my imagination wonder to all those awful places glaucoma might take me, despite my  very limited knowledge. Whoever said "A little information is a dangerous thing" must have known me in another life.

So, Dr. Matter-of-factly comes in and proceeds to do the old fashioned tests and hold things further away then closer  at a dizzying pace, while I'm reading my  X Y Z P D Q's and next thing I know -I'm about finished.  That is of course, until I opened my big mouth. "But I thought my  eye pressure wasn't right on that original test?" I muttered. He looked down and said "No, its not that bad, don't worry." I sighed in relief heavily.

Stopping,  and looking over his notes again, he pulled out a bottle of drops.

"I'm gonna check the pressure again just in case with these drops" he said,  and seriously- before I could blink, he was pulling at my eye lids and squirting  bright yellow liquid in them. I know it was bright yellow because he also thrust tissues into my hands to wipe the excess liquid that was now streaming down my face away. "Oh, OK then, this is a better test I guess?" I told myself. He was trying to be thorough. And then  I began my lamaze breathing. He proceeds to pull up a different machine just as I begin to notice that my eyes - felt mighty strange, certainly not a feeling I've ever experienced before. Plunging the machine closely to my face, he announces:


Que Ellen's personal horror fantasy music.

I think I blacked out for a few minutes. It felt that way. Or maybe that was just the blinding and numbing medication I had been assaulted with moments earlier. Or the pointy plastic piece he was sticking in my eye as I held this position so as not to become permanently blinded for life. A picture of the movie "Fire in the Sky" flashed  through my mind. If you haven't seen that movie- don't. Ever! Aliens abduct some poor country boy and probe his eye with a needle, while he is strapped into a chair unable to blink his way out of it. Welcome to Ellen's version of hell, and happy Valentines day to you too sweetheart.

Exiting the room, Fred  looked at me horrified. He said He was sure they diagnosed me with some form of ocular cancer by my whitened hue. My eyes were like pie pans, and still  glowing an unnatural yellow.

The good news is, I don't need glasses.

But Fred's new ones look great.

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