Saturday, May 10, 2008

Walking Around with Dilated Pupils

“Can you help me get in the cab, I have dilated pupils, you see.”

It’s not really something you’d say everyday, not even while coming out of a hospital by yourself. And I was so close to saying it this afternoon to the friendly guard turned “commuter’s valet.” (Is that an apt term?) I was just afraid I’d get a big fat, “huh?!”

So what was my most recent medical misadventure all about?

Rewind two Saturdays ago, I was doing some serious proofreading when I noticed I’m seeing some speck with my right eye. I excused myself to the washroom to cleanse my contact lens, the primary suspect for the noise in my vision. I’ve got to say, eye lubricants acting in place of contact lens solution, those liquid hurt!

The speck didn’t go away and I discovered this last Friday while doing some product quality check. Of course the poor contact lens was to be blamed. I planned to have it checked by the same optical shop that issued/sold them to me. However, come this morning, while staring at the white door of our toilet, I saw the persistent speck again.

I just got out of bed. For a second I thought I forgot to remove my contact lens the night before.

My naked eye seeing the speck, it brought me to a state of panic, the usual paranoia of a hypochondriac. With no second thoughts, I cancelled a scheduled proofreading job to see an ophthalmologist ASAP.

Of course he is no ordinary eye doctor, I went to the eye specialist trusted by our family for years.

“The last time he checked me was more than 10 years ago. It was in the old building.” I explained to the doctor’s assistant when she asked me if I had any record with them. Obviously, my file has been long gone by now.

I remember I was in 6th grade or (7th) when my mom brought me there for headache complains. The doctor said my eyes were fine and the headache which had been sending me to bed early, thereby making me miss dinner, must be the adolescent girl in me trying to go on a Christine Jacob diet. It’s the one where you don’t eat after six. The doctor most definitely knows nothing about me.

“Is it OK if you have to wait for 2 ½ hours?” the assistant boldly asked to which I replied a less than reluctant, “Yeah, it’s fine. I’ll wait.” I’m clearly determined to find out why I am not seeing clearly.

Two and a half hours is quite a long time to kill, mind you. But I came prepared, being that I know how famous the doctor is. He has lots and lots of patients! You have to be patient when you are his patient—haha. I brought a hardbound book—a famous title and is allegedly easy-to-read but for some reason, it ain’t easy for me. And so when boredom kicked in, I had to take a stroll after making a quick stop for a dimsum brunch at the hospital’s fastfood center. (It’s like a mall in there!)

Yes, I know I was specifically instructed not to spend on anything unimportant these days but it just made me want to spend more. (Damn!) Anyway, it was a twist of fate that the two books I’ve been eyeing for are available in the bookstand inside the hospital. I couldn’t resist charging them to my credit card, not that they are super expensive, it’s just that they’re not in my budget. Plus I said pass to what-could-have-been-my-day’s-paid-work in order to get checked by the doctor.

Then again, if they’re the last thing I’d buy before my eye gets ruined, they’re those books. Believe me, poetic justice is the works here.

Back to the doctor’s queue, I was juggling three books—a novel, a comic book and a compiled set of essays. Not bad in battling my sleepiness. The MP3 player plugged to my ears helped, too. I just had to give it up for fear of losing my turn with the doctor by not hearing my name when I get called. The 2 ½ hours will all be in vain, then, wouldn’t it?

I sat on the couch inside the doctor’s clinic (versus earlier when I was at the corridor at the 3rd floor then to the one at the eighth—yes I opted to work my way up, literally, if only to add variety in waiting) when I was immediately next in line. I was torn whether to introduce myself to the doctor’s assistant as my mom’s daughter—they know each other—but that might mean I have to remind her that my dad’s nanay and tatay were doc’s patients, along with my dad’s tatay’s sisters and even my youngest brother. But then if she asks how they are, I’d have to say they’re all dead.

Wait, I should have done that 2 ½ hours earlier, then doc’s patients would have scrammed! I could have skipped the part where they died of cancer, old age and leukemia, and deliberately capitalized on the fact that they were his patients and now they’re dead. That could have saved me time. Oh well.

Doc placed two drops of what-have-you at my left eye and three at my right. In between, he touched/poked my eyeball with something—I obviously didn’t see what it was. I couldn’t help but ask doc what exactly he was doing. He said he was just checking my eye’s pressure. He warned me that the third eyedrop would dilate my pupil, therefore I would be extra sensitive to light along with having an extra blurred vision.

He asked me to step aside while the chemicals seep through my eye as if I were some meat being marinated. He entertained three more patients while I aged. But soon I was back in the clinic proper for further tests. I was so close to freaking out when he used that almost pointy thing with blue light nearly touching my eyeball. Then he held a lens in front of my eye while subjecting me to an extreme dose of bright light in his search for what could be wrong with me.

I think doctors like that. They get a kick out of anomalies in the human body. Well why wouldn’t they? If everyone’s health were perfect, doctors would be out of job!

“Floaters.” That was doc’s findings. Apparently, our eyes have those tiny fibers floating inside them. And under certain lighting conditions, those fibers may make themselves visible. There’s no cure for them he says and proceeded on comforting me by saying that they’d go away. I should worry if they fill my vision and if I start seeing flashes of light. Oh, I will worry, I can assure him that. After all it’s what I’m good at.

My original plan was to take a jeepney and an FX or to take two FX ride home to save cash but as soon as I stepped out of the hospital building, the sun’s glory blinded me. Even if I had to do a super squint, light abundantly entered my eyes. It’s like I was looking at a pool of white and light. Where are my sunglasses when I need them?

After waiting in line, this time for a cab, I entrusted my life to a friendly driver who told me how he once cried blood due to extreme heat while he was in Kuwait or Iraq. And so off we went driving home, talking about eye problems while my eyes were in between squint and shut.

Mr. cab driver pulled over in front of our house and send me off with a sincere, “sana gumaling na ang mata mo.”

I got out of his cab and then, everything faded to white.

1 comment:

Running Waters said...


i detest contact lens. i refuse to wear them, so when i'm at a party, i'm literally blind. still prefer those eyeglasses.


nagsasama-sama sa blog ang mga bulag.