Well, I actually have no idea what a day in the life of an optometrist is like – I was only there for a few hours but I can imagine it revolves around a lot of eye-ball-talk. As per usual, any visit to a specialist for me means embarrassment, some kind of injury, and never being able to go back to same doctor/office again – this visit would no different.
I’m getting old and my eyes aren’t seeing as they once did. I can’t read menus that are posted on walls (extremely important) and I definitely cant see people that I know walking towards me until they were right in front of me which is startling as fuck. At any rate, I needed to get new glasses. My parents have been pushing the Costco optometrist for weeks now claiming he’s some kind of wonder boy. The offer to get an eye exam and free food samples is all very tempting but they were always booked when I tried to make an appointment – leaving me to believe in his wonder- boyness.
Being the adult that I am, (whaddup!?), I made an appointment with MyEyeDr (they weren’t mine at all but they force you to say that). It would be in the late afternoon of new years eve and the store was bustling. So much so that when I arrived there were like five people waiting around the front desk. No one wore anything to differentiate themselves from customer to employee so my initial reaction was to talk to the first person I saw wearing glasses (I mean come on, they have to work here..) I called out, “Hey four eyes!” just kidding, I simply invaded his personal space by manhandling his right arm and taping him on the shoulder with one pointy index finger. “Hi, I’m Nina and I have an appointment at 2:30 today.” The man turned around slowly, just half way so that he was peering over the tapped right shoulder to glare at my pondering face. “Hi, I don’t work here,” he explained,*sneered and bitch smacked me with his eyes*. I looked around and realized he was the only person not busying himself with papers, sitting at a computer, or behind any kind of desk. He definitely didn’t work here. “Right, but you’re wearing glasses…?” (haha-he-ho) …..He looked up at me completely unamused….”Okay, I’ll just go over here and talk to this person, thanks!”
There were still other people standing around the desk, one guy hovering by the mint bowl and another just standing and obstructing. I didn’t want to “butt” them in line so I stood 10 yards back by myself in the middle of the store until I think finally someone felt sorry for me. Front desk lady, “Hi, excuse me miss…..can I help you with something? You’ve been in here for quite awhile.” “Oh, yes me? Thank you. So, those two aren’t waiting for anything that guy just stands there up by the mints?” I twirl my finger in his general direction while she looks at me like I have four heads. I continue anyways,”Okay, I have an appointment at 2:30 – well, I guess it’s 3:00 now but it was at 2:30 but since I’ve been standing around for 30 minutes and talking to people who don’t work here…the time is now later.” Lady just stares at me blankly, “Alright….well…I’ll just take you back for your testing now.”
I followed her into the back room with one of those folding doors that kind of look like blinds. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to close it so I accidentally unhinged the whole thing to the point where it just laid straight and would just flap around instead of closing. She asked me to please just stop touching it and sit down. Since being unhinged, the door slightly rested on my back for the duration of the exam…..which I think totally threw me off.
Anyways, when it comes to eye exams I always ask if they can make sure that the machine is at MY eye level – being tall and what not can really mess these things up unless the proper adjustments to seats and machinery are made. I went to the DMV once and their eye test was still set for someone the height of a garden gnome which meant it was just pointing at the floor, so everything I saw was black and they deemed to be completely blind. I convinced them that I wasn’t blind and told them that there must have been something wrong with the test. I wasn’t gonna let that shit happen again…. I actually ended up telling the eye test lady that story and she assured me that none of the tests would be pointing at floors. Perfect.
And so forth…the exam. So far so good. I could see the miniature farm house in the distance on a hill with the white fence. I was on one of those wheelie chairs with no backs which I find incredibly difficult to stay put on – I always accelerate with my feet too forcefully and it was time to swing over to the air puff test. I was way off and wheeled pass all of the three tests and into the wall. I readjusted myself and wheeled backwards by tiptoeing my feet ever so slightly towards the appropriate machine. I have no idea what the lady was thinking when I zoomed by her and rammed my shoulder into the far wall but it probably wasn’t anything positive.
By the way, I fucking hate the air puff test. Nothing is more traumatic than the air puff. You know it’s coming….but MY GOD it’s impossible to receive it in any kind of calm fashion. I jetted my head back and yelled, “GO’ LORD that’s one strong puff of air! Shocking really.” The lady asked me to keep still and to stop talking so much. There was one more test with a bunch of blinking red and green lights – which I totally nailed.
I feel like all of this had to have been one giant fools errand. How could any of this determine anything. Lets recap, I stared at an itty bitty house for 30 seconds, some balloon thing puffed air in my face, and I’m supposed to raise my hand when the smallest traffic light on earth blinks from red to green. If you think about it – probably the most fucked up way to spend an hour. Ever.
That part of the exam was over and I was to wait for the actual doctor back in the main area where I had spoken to a bunch of strangers moments before. I walked out like a nerd pushed into a coupled up dance floor. Timid and with the fear of peeing my pants. I teetered around the borders of the room and started to aggressively try on every pair of glasses on this giant wall. Trying on, checking in mirror, trying on, checking in mirror, and so on for the next 20 minutes until I was called back by the doctor. I turned around when I heard my name and was wearing a pair of glasses on the top my head, a pair on my face, and was holding another in my hand for quick try on convenience. I was trying on glasses as one eats at a buffets. After I de-robed via glasses face I followed the sound of my name to another room.
The optometrist was surprisingly young and tall. I knew immediately, that we would be friends. I sat in the giant chair with the archaic looking mechanism that you are supposed to put your face into with the rotating lenses. We chatted for a little about my health and what it’s like being tall women. She told me that in college she had a boyfriend who was 5’7″ and sometimes she would rest her arm on his head when she felt like leaning on something. She also told me they had since broke up – most likely because she used to rest her arm on his head. I laughed and said, “Pppsssshhhh I know right, haha short guys are the worst.” She looked at me and nodded. So, we should probably try and start the test. Great, she asked me to read the top line of letters. My voice would get really loud when I thought I got one right. And sometimes I would even raise my hand in enthusiasm for no reason at all. We joked about her maybe not being a real doctor. “Hahahaha wait, really?” The weird flipping lenses giant thing was over and now we would talk about my eye health by looking at a picture of a two pink orbs that were meant to be my eye balls.
Apparently one of those machines earlier had take pictures of my eye balls without me knowing it – I felt extremely exposed. She said everything looked really healthy and explained that all of the gross shit was normal. She asked if I ever had any headaches. I said sometimes but I’m pretty sure they’re because of dehydration (I love to self diagnose out loud). She told me that I had a slight astigmatism but it was nothing to worry about. She also explained that astigmatism only means that the eyeball is becoming more of an eye-oval. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to interject my favorite word “oblong” into the conversation. “Oh, really is that so? Very interesting – so in fact the eye is becoming somewhat of an oblong shape, is that correct?” I kind of grinned after I said it like, yes, totally worked that in. She picked up on it and asked if I tried to work that in on purpose I told her yes, yes, I did.
She agreed that it was a great word. She also said that one eye was slightly worse than the other but that was normal. I inquired about monocles just in case it should worsen. She told me a story about a guy who came in the other week and had one eye that had perfect vision and the other was all shits of crazy. He had ordered a monocle because didn’t want to deal with glasses – naturally. THEY WILL STILL MAKE MONOCLES ON REQUEST – you’re welcome for the info. I asked about pocket watches because they are kind of in the same territory as a monocles. She said I’m sure those are also available. I told her I just liked small useful things that were attached to chains. She laughed and turned to her paper to jot something down. Dammit. What the hell is she jotting down? I hate that about doctors, always jotting down judgment for later.
Now that was out of the way, I guess the exam was over and I was to go talk to a glasses sales guy to trick me into buying some ridiculously priced glasses I could find online for one tenth of the cost. I mean do I look like and idiot? (don’t answer that..). I sat down as he typed on the computer for awhile and told him what kind of glasses I liked. He said he would grab a few pairs. I followed him around while he gathered them instead of just staying seated. When we both returned I explained to him in great detail that my face was like a circle “See sir, it’s just round, just a round circle-face.” My finger just twirled around the circumference of my head to demonstrate the roundness. I continued, “If you have glasses that can accommodate a round circle face – then those would be the glasses for me.” “Do you know what I’m talking about?” He nodded and got some glasses for round people faces.
The glasses I wanted would be $264.00 just for the frames. Excuse me what? I told him you could buy a mobile home for $264.00. He said, “Okay, maybe we can cut you a deal.” He aggressively typed into his computer for the next seven minutes like he was searching for something. Alright we can offer you $249.00. How the fuck-wads did you arrive at that number? What the hell did you type in? Anyways, that’s a hard pass – I would be ordering them online.
I needed to get my prescription from the doctor in order to know what to order so I shadowed him back up to the front desk while we waited for my BFF to sign the prescription. As he was filling out the prescription for her to sign I caught myself leaning headfirst over the counter as he wrote the numbers…. .75 for right eye .05 for the left eye over a little picture of eyes on the sheet of paper, it was all mesmerizing. I realized my head was leaning over so much so that my shadow was blocking his light and some of my hair was getting in the way of his pen. When I noticed I said, “My God. I’m so sorry about the hovering. I mean, I was just really getting in there.” He told me it was okay but maybe I should just sit down and wait for the doctor. Right, this again. Hasn’t everyone realized by now that I am incapable of sitting down and waiting? I have ADHD. Sitting and waiting is a hard no-go muchacho.
I wanted to see the doctor to give her my card – I thought we could hang out. It’s rare you meet another tall female person to hang out with. She also mentioned earlier that she had recently moved to the area and was only hanging out with her other MyEyeDr friends which must have been pretty lame. I thought I was reading all the right signals. I crapped out and didn’t leave my card but I did send her a Facebook message at 8:30 pm on a Friday night…the below is verbatim:
Hey! I hope you don’t think I’m the biggest creeper on earth – I know this is super random but I thought we “hit it off” as funny tall people. Let me know if you would ever want to grab drink or meet up! My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
What I didn’t realize then is that starting anything with “I hope you don’t think I’m the biggest creeper on earth..” generally means whatever you are doing is in fact, really creepy and you should discontinue doing it. Well, I didn’t not. And I also did not receive any kind of answer back. So….. I will be in the market for a new eye doctor (again) and it is there I will be ordering my monocle.
ADD testing: Real? Or Mind Fuck? I would have to argue strongly on the side of mind fuck. As a member of the Attention Deficit Disorder community, I am appalled at the kind of weird-ass, convoluted, deranged, mind penetrating testing we are forced to endure. I left the neurology center feeling more confused and distracted than ever. Mainly because I will never actually know what the hell went on in that room – if I “passed” or if I’m mentally incontinent.
I’m going to back up for a moment and start from the beginning…….
In 2011, my general practitioner prescribed me adderall when I came to her with concerns of not being able to fucking do anything. I was leaving the states to get my master’s and I thought for sure I would fail if I was not only going to be taking courses in Australia but I also get easily distracted by anything that is shimmery or creates some kind of noise. She sympathized with my condition and while looking at my aggressively tapping toe, prescribed me 30 mg of adderall a day for the next year. So, I filled a prescription of 600 pills and a years worth of birth control and flew over to Australia where I set up an international drug trade. Kidding, I actually needed both things quite imperatively and took them as instructed but that would have been dope. In class on adderall I felt as though I was some kind of baby genius hybrid like a philosopher/scientist or a spaceship/sea manatee (I know…crazy right?) I could now actually accomplish things and not twiddle off into girl thoughts of puppies and hot pink. I was banging out projects, ordering people around, writing 10,000 word essays and realizing my full potential. Adderall saved me from selling gimp bracelets under a boardwalk somewhere to make money for crack. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be that bad off but you get my drift.
After graduating, I went to that same doctor to refill my prescriptions as I did every three months when I was back stateside. Everything panned out well as I was able to work in an office and pay attention to people’s faces when they spoke. Suddenly, my doctor stopped practicing and I was forced to see an alternate doctor in the practice to refill my prescriptions. This doctor was a conservative pompus prick (he was actually really nice…I just couldn’t pronounce his name which pisses me off). Anyways, Doctor GoFuckChoSelf told me that I wasn’t properly tested for ADD and because adderall was a controlled substance I would have to undergo actual testing to verify that I did indeed have ADD. Throughout that conversation, all I was thinking was what flavor Jolly Rancher I would grab from the candy dish out by the receptionist…”jolly”…”rancher”…has such a delightful ring to it. Geezus. I have ADD. I cant even pay attention to a conversation about me not paying attention. I thought this was all very redundant but I agreed that I would go get “properly tested” and so made an appointment with another doctor who’s name I couldn’t fucking pronounce.
Appointment Day. I walked into the building and passed the office I was supposed to go in 3 or 4 times until I finally figured out that it was not the janitor’s closet and entered. I rushed across the large waiting room to the counter and immediately started to apologize for being 15 minutes late. The lady said, “Who are you?” I said my name and my favorite color. She said, “Okay….. fill out this 14 page form and answer the questions on the back page. You must answer ALL of the questions on the BACK PAGE!!” Geezus, okay….97 hours later…I walked back up with the form and emphasized the back portion with a Vanna-White-like hand wave circulating around the written text, “See? All filled out…all four of them.” She said thanks and asked me to please sit down and to stop crowding the window.
Twenty-five minutes later my name was called and I followed the nurse back to the doctor’s office – or who I thought was the nurse – according to her visual measurements she might have been a bridge troll. Regardless, she was very nice and sat me down in an office filled with framed accreditation’s, degrees, and two trolls on a shelf – how very fitting I thought. There wasn’t any reading material so I read a poster on the wall 14 times and then tried to nap.
Very suddenly, the doctor walked in and jetted straight for his chair on the other side of the room. He sat down facing my direction, legs casually sprawled about and stared directly at me. Saying nothing. I looked around…is this the test? Am I currently inside of the test? Should I start speaking? Or would I then be testing you? What the fuck is happening? Finally, he acknowledged me and asked me why I was there. I told him the whole long story about already being on adderall and yada yada but I was here now because Dr. UnpronouncableLongAssName instructed me to be. He nodded and then asked me to sit on the examination table with that stupid parchment paper that always sticks to the back of your legs.
In one whisk of his arm he started blinking his hands like a traffic light and then asked me to concentrate on his nose – this happened 3 or 4 times. After whatever the hell that was, he tapped my ankles and knees with a vibrating metal rod and then asked me to walk heel-to-toe across the room. As he was writing notes, he forgot to tell me to stop so I heel-toed the fuck out of the whole room until finally he laughed and told me I could have stopped along time ago. I’m glad this is all very amusing.
I sat back down and had more blinking hands shoved in my face and a lot more of pointing at different objects in the room and again at his nose. After one more gratuitous poke/flick on the shoulder he abruptly left room WITHOUT SAYING A WORD. I felt like I had just been raped with my clothes on. I sat there waiting for what was to come next and not knowing if I should leave a pee sample or just continue to stand. WHAT THE FUCK WAS HAPPENING? Just as I was really about to lose it, he walked back into the room with a clipboard and mentioned that he would have to ask me some more questions (a simple note of that earlier would have been helpful for my overall sanity.) And so begins the ridiculous questioning:
Do you find yourself talking a lot?
Do you interrupt people when they.. (yes.) ….are talking?
The answer is yes.
Do you find yourself easily distracted?
When in situations that you prefer not to be in do you run or climb trees?
Okay, well, how do I answer this…I do not currently climb trees, no. Is that something I should be doing?
Now, my questions for the doctor:
Were these questions drafted in the mid 70’s?
Is this a children’s exam?
What is this? A brain center for ants?
Example of how ridiculous the questions were:
WTF? After all of the questions that essentially just repeated themselves – he had come to the conclusion that I had ADD/ADHD and that I was properly prescribed adderall.
Well, thank you. So you’re telling me that I spent three hours in this office only for you to come to the same conclusion that another doctor did two years ago? Hmmmmm….. if I had known that I could make millions (exaggeration) by asking people Disney pop-quiz questions from a clipboard, ding-ing people on the elbow, and diagnosing them with things they already knew they had, I would have gone into neurology.
Well, okay…. that happened. I’m leaving. Never to return. I left the room in a huff feeling pissed off. In anger, I circled the hallways huffing and stomping around until I found the exit to the reception area. “SEE YOU NEVER!” I told the troll, “Except I need to make a completely superfluous check up appointment for three months from now.