Monday, April 09, 2007

Doctor, My Eyes

I'm an admitted minimalist when it comes to medical interventions, but when I do bother to see a doctor, I believe in being upfront and providing all necessary information in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Unless, of course, it's the eye doctor. Before I even arrived at Dr. W's office this morning, I'd already practiced my not-quite-truthful answers to questions like, "How long do you usually wear your (supposedly disposable) contacts before throwing them out?" (Um, two weeks ... ish.) "How many hours a day do you wear your contacts?" (Ten is a reasonable number, right? I put them in at 7 am and ... okay, maybe 11.) and "How long have you been wearing this current pair of lenses?" (For some reason, 5 months seems less irresponsible than 7, so ... let's go with 5.).

I don't think I fooled him, though. Dr. W. busted out the PowerPoint slides of his corneal ulcer patient, carefully explaining how bacteria can eat through my eyeball, which is already nearly dead from lack of oxygen. It seemed a bit dramatic, but maybe that's just because no opthamologist has ever given me a single warning about wearing contacts. In the ten years I've been sticking foreign objects into my eyes, I've never had a doctor detail any serious consequences of contact lens use. I haven't been as bad about taking care of my eyes as I have, say, my teeth (what? 8 years is longer than the recommended period between check-ups?), but constant changes in insurance coverage have stymied any efforts at consistent care.

I wanted to explain all that to Dr. W, that my failures as a patient were really due to financial issues and not a general disregard for my corneal health, but I was too busy trying on my fancy new non-toddler-warped glasses. After all that discussion on the importance of airing my eyeballs out, I figured I might as well have a cute way to do it.

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