Not my doctor


Today, Saturday, I visited the eye doctor. I previewed this appointment in an earlier post (July 15). Forgive me for any typos in this follow-up — my eyes were dilated and though I have the blinds drawn, sun still filters in my room.

Anyway, my appointment was at 8:30 a.m. I drove the familiar roads to the clinic.  I didn’t even know who I had made my appointment with. I just told the receptionist my name and the time of my appointment. She had me update my personal information and wait for the doctor. I filled out the information. Flipped through some magazines. And then the doctor called my name.

She was young. Max of eight years older than me. I followed her to the exam room and sat in the chair I know so well. The young doctor asked me questions and started the exam. She had me read the chart on the wall. All the typical stuff. I was fine with all of it.

Then.

She started performing these other exams/tests. Eighteen years of eye exams and I had never had those exams before.

What was she doing?

Well, thankfully she told me — she talked to me like I was a child. Minnesota nice, yeah, but still.

Since I’d never had her before, she asked questions about my contacts – the last time I had updated the prescription – the last time I had updated my glasses (last year – and don’t get me started on the issues I had ordering the Minnesota-based company’s specs that I am currently wearing. I love the glasses – the optical shop I chose to purchase them from caused a major headache though). I never had to do that before – my doctor and my optometrist always knew the answers. They had been the ones to update it the year before and the year before that. This new doctor – she didn’t know.

Then.

She told me that my cornea was dry and started asking me about allergies, the eye drops I use, etc. There’s one thing you might like to know about me – you can’t tell me there’s something wrong medically or I become extremely concerned and leave the appointment and rush home to WebMD everything.  Searching through her cupboard, she grabbed a sample of allergy relief drops or something – to reduce the dryness. I’d never been told my eyes were dry before – my doctor and my optometrist never raised any concerns. Maybe that’s because I typically schedule my appointments between the months of January-March – the months when my allergies are fairly dormant. But during the appointment, I told myself it was because she doesn’t know me.

Then.

She asked if she could dilate my eyes in order to look at the back of my pupils. Drops dropped – my eyes began dilating. I had to wait in the hallway and stare at the wall in front of me. I wished I had brought a book, but that would have been rather futile since I couldn’t see. I sent a few text messages, trying to cross some stuff off my “to do” list, but I had a hard time seeing the screen. I was left staring at the framed diplomas and certificates hanging on the wall. All I could make out was that some doctor had graduated from Ferris State University. And then all I could think about was their hockey team and I wondered how they’ll look this year.

Then.

She called me back in the room and shined a bright blue light right into my eye. She told me my optic nerve looked great (I’ll be sure to add that to my resume and my non-existent e-Harmony profile). She noted that I had a scar on the back of my eye. At this point, I should have explained what it was and why it was there. But I didn’t. I secretly (well, not secret anymore since I’m sharing it on here) relished in the fact that she couldn’t figure it out – she didn’t know what it was – because she was not the ophthalmologist, or even an ophthalmologist, who gave me that scar. She was not my doctor.

Then.

She attempted a small-talk-get-to-know-you-conversation. But it didn’t work. She doesn’t know that I graduated from college two years ago – that I once wore purple glasses – that I liked when I was a kid and I had to watch the “barking dog with the red nose” on the wall while my doctor inspected my eyes. She doesn’t have a history with me – she couldn’t just pick-up where I left off last appointment.

Then.

She told me (we were sort of small-talking so this wasn’t completely out of the blue) that she had actually gone to school for math. That did not put me at ease. But I figured if the state of Minnesota felt she was fit to practice optometry, than I was in pretty good hands. But not my doctor’s hands.

Then.

She said I was all set. She sent me on my way. Except, my optometrist gives me a handful of my expensive contact solution, samples, and new contact cases – whether I order new contacts or not. She didn’t.

Then.

I drove home, sunglasses in front of my glasses. Fashion. Statement. And I kind of wanted to cry, partly from the dilating drops, but partly because nothing about the normal check-up felt normal.

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