Friday, October 5, 2012

If you can read this, you're too close.

So, there's nothing like a trip to the ophthalmologist that will make you feel 114 years old and make you feel like you are in poor health and might die.  Soon.

As many of you know I got a clean bill of health from my M.D. last week when I went for a physical for the first time in about 20 years (so, yes, my last physical was when I was 10).  She basically said that I should be good to go for the next 20 years.  Well, she didn't actually say that, but I figure since I'd taken charge of my own health for 20 years and stayed fairly healthy, I can probably manage it for another 20 years.  And, I should have probably been a doctor, and made a lot of money, and not had any time to write a blog about it because I would be too busy saving people's lives and writing medical books.  (She didn't say that, but I did.) 

Without boring you with the intimate (and quite disgusting) details, I will tell you briefly that I am suffering (relatively, because we all know suffering is relative) from vertigo (also called dizziness - which I have suffered from my whole life). 

Now, (in my vast medical experience) there are a few reasons one can experience vertigo:  you have an excessive amount of alcohol in your system, you have a tumor in your brain and have about two weeks left to live (and if that's currently happening to anyone reading this, I'm sorry, for kinda making a joke about it), you are anemic (which, of course, in the blood draw in which I had to postpone my coffee IV, anemia was not screened), you are just plain dizzy and there is no cure, (in which case the doctor just says, Sorry?  I guess?) OR, your body is special, in a way that will not impress men, and your ears produce an excessive amount of ear wax which completely blocks your ear drum (making hearing nearly impossible) and causes vertigo.......wait.  Did I say I wasn't going to bore you with intimate and disgusting details?  Okay, sorry.  So, I had my eardrum scraped (yes, it was more painful than natural child birth and I *might* have screamed it was all hubby's fault and that I wanted an epidural) and yes the vertigo has subsided somewhat. 

But because not every cloud has a silver lining, yesterday I found out I might die, so basically we are back to square one.

Okay, so fast forward to yesterday at the eye doctor. 

1.  I hate the eye doctor, but I go once a year because I have a fear of going blind.  (Which turns out might actually be one of my valid fears.)  And I also am vain and have to have a current contact prescription.
2.  I watch WAY too much SVU and am convinced that the doctor is going to be a serial rapist and that a dark room is the perfect context for this to occur.  (I realize this is completely sick, but I have had these conversations in my head.  More than once.)
3.  I abhor the following:  Is 1 better or 2?  3 or 4?  5 or 6?  Okay, how about now?  Is it A or B?  B or C?  Seriously?  I find myself nervous and sweating during this part of the exam (and it's not because I might be raped).  It's just like the SAT all over again.  I know.  Insane.
4.  I don't really trust eye doctors, and that's really difficult to reconcile with my fear of going blind and my vanity.
5.  I spend all my time (when I am supposed to be picking A or B) thinking What's my nearest weapon in case he starts $hit? and How much did all this equipment cost?
6.  If it's been awhile since you've been to the eye doctor - times have changed.  It's mostly all flat computer screens and remote controls.

Yesterday the doctor looked to be about 87 and was quite frail, so I wasn't really worried about being raped.  I did, however, fail the double vision test and I also spent an excessive amount of time thinking about the cost of all that equipment (the letters are now on a flat computer screen which is mounted to the wall and I would be willing to trade it for my 1970's console TV even if all it played was letters).

Just like I imagine the minutes right before the doctor sees cancer growing in your brain, the doc paused during my double vision test and said slowly, "How about now?  Do the lines come together now?"

I think he wanted me to say yes, but truthfully the lines were still not together, so naturally I was nervous and sweating and I said, "Well, that made them ooch together a teensy bit, but no, they're still not together."

So, then he flipped the lights on and said, "Are you familiar with Bell's Palsy?"

Wow.  That's a conversation starter, eh?  How do you go from lines on the stupid flat screen to Bell's Palsy?  I thought, "Clearly he's senile.  I am not paying for this exam."

But, just to amuse him I said yes and he proceeded to run down a list of (I suppose) symptoms of early onset Bell's Palsy and did I have any of them.  While he was doing this my mind wandered (shocker, I know) to a gal I knew in college who had Bell's Palsy.  I made a mental note to look her up on Facebook.  I also was a tad offended when he said that most people's faces were symmetrical and mine clearly wasn't.  Hey, now!  I thought this was the eye doctor, not Project Runway.  Then my mind wandered to a time when hubby and I and some good friends were all sitting around partaking and the subject of facial symmetry came up.  My face was voted the least symmetrical and it was concluded that I would never be a model because of this.  Again, shocker.  I probably did not need 12 beers to figure that out.

So, one of the apparent symptoms of Bell's Palsy is short term memory loss.  He asked me (seriously) if I had experienced it.  HELLO?  This made me sit up straight in my chair.

I paused when he asked this because my mind was just careening out of control.  Here is the path it was going on:

2.  What have I forgotten today?  Short list:  The appointment, the directions, my phone, dinner.
3.  I thought I was here for a freaking EYE EXAM.  Turns out I am getting a death sentence.

So, after I thought all that I calmly (and smartly) said (hoping he hadn't noticed the pause before responding), "No, not really.  I remember most things.  I guess.  Most important things.  Well, some important things.  Y'know sometimes I forget things.  Just things mostly that don't matter.  Much.  Wait.  Who are you?  Why are we here?"

He ordered a second double vision screening for me.

I passed the second one.  Kinda.  Mostly.

Turns out I have a titch of double vision (don't worry, I only see one of you right now - and by the way, GET DRESSED ALREADY), but I have a pre-melanoma on my EYEBALL.

Seriously?  Did you know you could have a pre-melanoma on your eyeball?  Do you really even know anyone who's ever had this?  Did they get cancer in their EYE and are they dead?  (Sorry.  Kinda.)

So, let's recap.  These past two weeks I've:

1.  Done an insightful political analysis in which I vetted (kinda) and selected a running mate who is currently designing my yard signs (maybe).
2.  Gotten a clean bill of health from my M.D. aside from my (improving) vertigo which may or may not kill me.
3.  I have been told I look or seem like I have Bell's Palsy because my face is not symmetrical and I don't remember who I am.  (To which I scoff and say, "Duh.  At least I'm running for office.  Of something.  On a platform of beer and forgetfulness.  Was that my platform?")
4.  I have made my home excessively ghoulish and gaudy for the upcoming election (and Halloween) and now I am not even the least bit apologetic to my neighbors because I might die.

Scarier than Halloween and the upcoming election.
Have a great weekend!  I'll try to remember to do the same while avoiding an early death and managing to squeeze a few more monsters in the front yard.


cb said...

okay you are killing me :you crazy forgetful woman

cb said...

wait did i post this

Shannon said...

Dave's step mother had eye cancer, and no she's not dead, and yes she still leaves the room when I enter the house and generally refuses to acknowledge my existence unless forced to. She also still has both eyes, but I am a little fuzzy on the treatment she went through. Dave could tell you more.

As for asymmetry Dave shaved his beard and suddenly realized that one side of his mouth is sort of droopy. He is convinced he had a stroke a while back. He had a "thunderclap headache" about a decade ago, they did MRI's and all looking for a stroke or an aneurism but found nothing so they just said it was one of those things, except that his mouth is droopy on one side and he freaks out if he thinks about it too much. Or shaves off his beard.

Monica said...

@cb - ha! YOU'RE killing ME. @shannon - well, that's reassuring? i guess? he literally said it was a remote possibility, so i am not worried. as for the asymetry? i was born like this for heaven's sake. i tried to gently tell the ancient doc that. ;o) AND i cannot WAIT till you arrive!!!

Eliintexas said...

Now I can wrestle up a neighborhood BBQ plate fundraiser for you?

Monica said...

@eliintexas - ha! well, y'know i am always for BBQ....and money. so fundraise away! ;o)

Jae Carlisle said...

This is something I NEVER noticed about you. So when do you find out if you have Bell's Palsy? Cuz vertigo and double vision, parred with migraines isn't good. I should know! ;)

(PS - that only took me 4 tries to read the f'ing characters to prove I am not, indeed, a robot.)

Monica said...

@jae - to tell you the truth once i found out about the pre-cancerous cell i forgot about the bell's palsy. forgetfulness was the only symptom i had (besides my face), so i guess i don't have it? (self-diagnosis ;o)

Anonymous said...

I thought most people's faces are asymmetrical. I guess that's just what my mom told me so I wouldn't worry about not becoming a model...

I had no idea you can get pre-melanoma on your eyeball. Yet another thing for me to worry about. Yay.

This is one of your most hilarious posts ever. The threat of death must bring out your best side. ;)

Monica said...

@whatimeant2say - well, hell if it's good for the blog, i'm willing to bite the bullet and look death in the face a few more times. ;o)

Gretche said...

Doctors...I hate 'em!! I've had the bejeezus scared out of me many times all for nothing. After an MRI, I had a dr. tell me not to trip on the stairs or I could end up in a wheel chair for life. No joke!! My family and I were terrified for months until I saw the surgeon (that's another thing, they give you bad news and then it is months before you can get further information on your eminent death or paralysis or in your case, blindness and facial disfigurement)who said there was nothing wrong with me. About 5 years later I was T-boned by a red light runner and broke ribs and pelvis and cracked a hip but my back held up so I guess dr. #2 knew what he was talking about.
This is only ONE example. So, I always tell people not too get too worked up by what drs say. My experience tells me that usually you are okay.
Oh, and I cracked up over your stress of getting the answers wrong on the is 1 better than 2 test. I do the same thing!

jamiew said...

ok, so what i want to know is, if you DO get elected and happen to kick off from eye cancer or bells palsy, does that mean i have to take over? this could turn out to be a beneficial partnership after all

Monica said...

@gretchen - i have no faith in doctors. and yet i have several phobias. i spend an excessive amount of time trying to reconcile these to character traits. it is probably THAT which will end up killing me in the end. @jamiew - yeah. i think that's how it works. i kick the bucket - you rise to power. oh, and can you send my kids to college?

Leigh Powell Hines said...

This post made me realize that I need to go to the eye doctor,and now I really don't want to do it.

jamiew said...

PS: Brain Waster says the upshot of bells palsy is that should you ever try botox, you'll only need to do one side.

Monica said...

@leigh - get ready to feel really old. ;o) @jamiew - will i also get a discount on a face lift? boob lift? i think i almost want bell's palsy now.