Friday, May 7, 2010

Visual Acuity

You might remember that I wear contact lenses (and I didn't change this font.  What just happened?)  


I went today for my somewhat less than annual eye exam.  I needed new contact lenses, and apparently, you have to have a current prescription.  Sigh.  I hate having an eye exam like I hate traffic court and finals (tomorrow, BTW, and look how hard I'm studying), but I'm down to one pair of lenses.  And I can't see so good even when I'm wearing them, so it was time to see a doctor.  

When I go to the eye doctor, I always warn the technician that she's going to have a hard time blowing the little puff of air in my eye for the glaucoma test.  "Little puff of air."  It's like someone trained a firehose right into my eyesocket. I flinch every time, multiple times.  I can always see them losing patience at about puff three or so, and then they do what they should do from the very beginning: Do not warn me that it's coming, just blow.  

Now that my eyes were properly aerated, the doctor took over.  

Do you lie to your doctors?  I do, all the time.   I don't really don't know why, since I have practically no bad health habits except for the sweet tooth to which I freely admit.  But every time a doctor asks me if I'm doing or not doing whatever, I feel compelled to lie.  And I don't lie about anything else.  At the doctor's, though, I want to both bask in medical professional approval AND avoid lectures.  So I just tell them what they want to hear.  I'm not doing myself any good, and really, I'm pretty sure that the doctors both A. know that I'm lying, and B. don't care.  That said, it's very likely that I will continue to lie to the medical profession.  

"Are you rubbing your lenses every night when you clean them?"  the doctor asked.  "I know that they sell this 'no-rub' solution, but there's no such thing--you should be cleaning the lenses manually every night."  

"Oh yes, definitely," I said.  Fat lie.  Most nights, it's all I can do to get the silly things out of my eyes in one piece.  Shiatsu massage for contact lenses is and will remain at the very bottom of my to-do list. 

"Good," she said.  "Do you ever sleep in your lenses?"

"No, not intentionally. Very rarely, I take a nap with them in, but I never actually wear them to bed." This is actually 100% true, on both counts: I hardly ever nap, and I never wear my contact lenses to bed.  

"Very good," she beamed approvingly.  "How often do you change your lenses?"

"Every two weeks; three at most," I said, with a straight face.  This is a seriously overweight lie.  I can make a two-week pair of soft lenses last for two months.  If I ever do get around to administering the recommended daily contact lens spa treatment, I bet I can wear the same pair of lenses for an entire Congressional election cycle. 

"Excellent," she said.  I was her best patient today, probably all week.  I fully expected to be invited to appear as a guest lecturer on the subject of contact lens hygiene, and I would have happily accepted.  "Do as I say and not as I do" has worked very well as a child-rearing philosophy, and I see no reason why this approach shouldn't be an equally effective way of educating contact lens wearers who aren't as conscientious as I am (in my mind.)  

As I suspected, I needed a new prescription, and I'll have to go back on Tuesday to try them, since she didn't have the new prescription in stock.   Meanwhile, filed under the heading of "I was this close to getting out of here" was her final review of my chart.  She looked up at me.  

"When is the last time you had your eyes dilated?  I noticed you didn't do that the last few times you were here, and you seem to have told the technician that you didn't want to do it today either."

"Oh gosh," I said.  "I don't remember."

It's really impossible to overstate the grotesque obesity of this particular lie, since I remembered perfectly well when I had last had my eyes dilated.  It was never.  I'd never had my eyes dilated, not even one time, and if it weren't for officious chart-snooping optometrists and rat-fink sell-a-person-down-the-river technicians, I'd still hold that perfect record. 

But noooooooo

The kindly beam of approval disappeared.  The steely clinical gaze appeared in its place.  "It's very important to have a retinal exam every year.  It's really the only way we can detect all kinds of bad shit that happens to people's eyes."  I tried to look earnest and concerned, but I was busily working up my next lie, the one that was going to get me out of the office with my pupils beady and constricted.  That's how I like them. 

"OK, how about if I have it done when I come back to get my contact lenses?"

"Why not now?"

"Well, I have to drive."

"How far?"

"Well, just to pick my kids up from school."  Dumbass.  It was 11:30 in the morning, and as it turned out, the doctor also has children who are Montgomery County Public School students, so she knew perfectly well that I had at least three hours.  "Perfect!" she said.  "You have plenty of time!"

So ended the struggle. And except for the slight stinging (hurt like bloody hell on fire), minor delay (sucked up half of my day), and temporarily blurred vision (blind), it was not that bad.  



caitlin.maia said...

Hahaha, this made me laugh. Which I needed right now, so thanks.

Don't finals suck? I'm done my tests but I still have to write a paper :(
Of course, instead of writing the paper I'm putting together a kickass ipod playlist for my party. Much more important.

CDP said...

That IS more important! I'm going to be at that party, and I'll expect a certain level of musical awesomeness, so it's good that your priorities are in order.

Distributorcap said...

every time i go to the eye doctor he tries to take this closeup picture fo my eye with some fancy camera that sees inside the eye

he takes 20 picstures and gives up since i blink every time

Steve said...

yes i lie ot doctors and dentists.
"why yes i floss 12 hours a day you can't tell?"

Suze said...

Ha, you are a riot! I find myself doing the same thing. No, I don't eat a lot of sugar or salt. I try to exercise 4 hours a week. Yes, I brush after every meal.

3carnations said...

I had my appointment earlier this year. I was honest about the fact that I don't rub the lenses (he said to start; I haven't). When he asked how often I change them, I told him monthly. They are two week lenses, and I've been known to make them last two months, but no need to shock the man.

Sauntering Soul said...

Ha ha ha! I am now even more appreciative of the Lasik surgery I had two and a half years ago because even though I *should* still have an eye exam every year, I don't have to in order to get new contacts. And I hope to never have my eyes dilated again as long as I live. I've only been to the eye doctor once since my surgery because (leave it to me) my eyes were all dried out and my eyelid was so dry it split and got infected. My eyes never felt dry and never bothered me, but he told me they looked rashy they were so dried up. It's true what you've heard about me: I am bringing sexy back in the form of rashy dried up eyeballs.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Last time I had an eye test was years ago and they told me then that the puff of air was old hat. Practically up there with using whisky as an anesthetic. Nowadays they said they just shine a laser in your eye. Which they did. MUCH more pleasant than the always shock of the puff of air thing. I hate that damn puff of air. You know it's coming but it still catches you unaware every time.

Also, I like the dilation thing. You get to walk around for the next two hours looking like an alien, with one giant pupil and one slightly less giant pupil, like you abused coke for years, because they NEVER shrink back at the same rate. :)

elissa said...


I love this. I totally lie about my contact care, too, and then feel smug about it. I *hate* getting my eyes dilated because suddenly I can't read, and every time I start to panic about being unable to read for like two hours. I don't have any clue what to do with myself when I'm not compulsively reading everything in sight.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Oh, boy, do I hear you on that puff of air. I hate that thing - I really do.

Virtualsprite said...

I can handle the puff of air, but turning your eyelids inside out to make sure you don't have any funky eye disease from contacts freaks me the hell out. I lose it. Every time.

Suddenly I remember why I don't wear contacts. I shudder just thinking about it.

Finals do suck. Good luck with them!

enc said...

I hate the eye doctor.

I'm glad you wrote about it, because it made me feel better that you're being properly taken care of.

dguzman said...

Oh my gosh, you lie more than I do! I'm lucky enough not to have one of those snoopy-ass optometrists. However, that rat-fink technician in Dr. Falzone's office has written "BLINKER" in big letters on my chart. Bitch.

And by the way, I made my last two-week lenses last OVER A YEAR until one finally ripped. Wimpy- ass multifocal lenses! I know that's as gross as it is inspiring, but I didn't have insurance!

Andy said...

A. realize that I'm lying, and B. don't care. That said, it's very probably which i will hold on to lie toward the health care profession
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