Waiting and watching

18th February 2022. Clifton Park

Opthalmic Consultants are located in a building that from above, must be octopus-shaped.

We found a central door and I quickly located the appropriate suite 103.

With all the essential cards and numbers in hand, I was promptly checked in. A sticker was then presented which I was obliged to affix to my clothing. It said:


“It’s so they’ll know you’re checked in,” I was told.

Later, I understood the need for identification.

After a temporary reprieve on Saturday, when my eyes suddenly reverted to focusing properly, I was a little apprehensive about yesterday’s visit with a specialist. I was going to appear to be an idiot.

As we swiftly did our chores before setting off, however, the world looked very muddled and more so as we drove, once more in the direction of Clifton Park.

First visits with specialists are always tedious as every previous medical encounter has to be recorded.

In this computer age, one would think all this information could be so easily transferred. I have never had a problem with “sharing” it. Who cares?

The visit was arranged with such urgency, yet even the essential information was not communicated.

The reason for it to start with.

Which meant reciting my rather long litany.

“Have you ever had surgery?” the nurse asked.

“You want a list?” Surely none of this was pertinent.

But I was obliged to relate my history, feeling somewhat embarrassed by its length.

When the nurse came in, she had turned a heater on, saying that the room was cold. I hadn’t thought so, but wasn’t asked for an opinion and as our discussion progressed, I began to feel uncomfortably warm.

Getting overheated, in confined spaces, makes me dizzy. I have never actually fainted but I didn’t want this to be the first time.

If you’re going to faint, I suppose a doctor’s office is a good place to have it happen. But I did not.

Next came all the regular eye tests once again. Fair enough. I know they have to do their own thing.

The inquisition completed, three sets of drops were administered to dilate and numb my eyes.

Then I was told to bring my “stuff” and “follow me!” We encountered another patient who was searching for a bathroom and our little procession progressed up and down endless corridors.

There seemed to be a lot of people moving around in this warren and the “PATIENT” label began to make sense.

“Wait here” said the nurse and abandoned me in another waiting room. “This building must be a lot bigger than it appears from outside!” I thought.

Digging my phone out once again, I played another round of “tridle”, the perfect time-killer.

Ever conscious of Grant waiting patiently in the car, I was relieved that I was soon once more summoned.

A new nurse sat me down and took me again through much of the previously recorded information.

Isn’t this a trifle inefficient? No doubt they have their reasons. One can only cooperate.

Finally I was declared “ready for doctor!”

Oh good!

“Doctor” was a nice man but he asked me, basically: “Who sent you and why?”

Again the recital. I’m always afraid I will bore people to death. After all, two different therapists had fallen asleep on me, in the past. You get a complex.

Doctor soon discovered another oddity in this apparently mysterious body I occupy. I am unable to roll my eyes properly upward.

“Have you never been told this before?” he asked.

“No”, I had not.

“This concerns me!” he announced.

A person of reasonable intelligence would no doubt have inquired, at that point, “why? Why are you concerned?”

But somehow I am always struck dumb in the presence of doctors. So I didn’t.

My regular eye doctor had asked about previous brain scans and told me the specialist would want to see the results.

He didn’t ask, but I presented him with what I had found. It was meaningless to me, indicating “nothing abnormal” and that neurologist had not even discussed the result with me.

This doctor mentioned “mini strokes”. As a possibility.

All I could say was that there is an increasing list of things no-one ever thought to mention!

A new MRI is in the offing, but not yet. If and when they do one I am sure it will reveal “nothing abnormal”.

Perhaps I am an alien from another planet. Medical science has never found a suitable niche for me.

Or maybe I am a convenient statistics marker for the American Medical system, the smoke and mirrors factory that rakes in fortunes for the big business it has become.

Not that I am cynical.

Doctor decided not to proceed further until pertinent information can be provided from the referring physician.

Now, it wasn’t my idea to rush off to a specialist. If it was so important, should the information not have been offered before my arrival?

It’s a little puzzling.

So that was it. I was delivered to “check out” where I obtained a new appointment, gazing blearily at my date book. “The exit is there!” She said gesturing vaguely.

Just as well EXIT is in large red letters.

Stumbling into a corridor, now un-escorted, as I had been dismissed, I cast about searching for another such sign and found myself suddenly disgorged into bright sunlight, facing a grass embankment.

It made me feel as though I had been spat out.

“Wow!” I gasped, squinting. “What the hell!”

There were two options, go left or go right. For once I made the correct decision and before long, I saw the vague blue shape of my car.

Interestingly, no one had inquired whether I had a driver or was self-propelled. It might have been a pertinent question for someone with hugely dilated pupils.

In fact it is illegal to drive with diplopia. You are supposed to volunteer such a diagnosis to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

While I won’t be doing that, I also will not be driving any time soon. I am so fortunate to have a chauffeur.

Lily says “that’s all fascinating. When’s the next meal?”

She and the rest of us would be up a creek with no paddle, but for Grant.

Poor Blackie wailed this morning.

“No!” she said “Mistake! We did this already!”

All the way to the animal hospital she cried in anguish. Some cats manage to utter their protests with an especially piercing pitch.

She had three bumps removed and will be home later this afternoon.

We decided not to have the lumps biopsied because even if they are malignant, the outcome will be the same.

Watch and wait.

5 thoughts on “Waiting and watching

  1. When I have my pupils dilated for Glaucoma checks, they always ask if I have driven there before putting them in my eyes. Given that the clinic is in central Norwich, with no parking in a telescope’s distance, I always have to reply that I was using the bus, then add, “Where would I park a car here?”
    It sounds to me like the system is gearing you up for another MRI Scan. More money for private health, and another insurance claim. ‘The Land Of The Free’. (But not free medicine.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

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