I have had trouble with my eyes, and in particular, with my right eye, for some time now. Probably six years ago, I thought it was a good idea to see an eye doctor, since it had been a long time since my last one.
Dr Wein was okay, I guess. His office was full of rules for patients. "Seventy two hours notice required for cancellation or a 50.00 fee." or "A letter from your family doctor is required if.." I didn't feel comfortable being surrounded by all of these rules with consequences.
It was a surprise, then, when Dr Wein was so friendly and comfortable. He has a few assistants, and they handled giving me eye drops and the basic eye test with letters getting smaller. I saw him at the end, and he told me that I should see two eye specialists.
One was a tear duct specialist, and he had no (visible) team at all. I go to his office downtown, and he's dressed in Greens. He tells me that he has a very narrow specialty, even though he can do other things. He uses a machine to blow water through the conjunctive on both sides.
I guess that part of me was fine. I was referred because my eyes frequently glue shut.
The other was Dr Koh. Gawd, she has a huge team! One receptionist and many techs. One used a computer to test my ability to the letters. Another gave me dilation drops. Yet another measured the occular pressure. The next one shined laser light into my eyes to check on the retina. OCT.
She saw my early macular degeneration, but thought little of it. "This isn't good, but we can watch the progress. Come back in two years."
A similar visit, without the Tomography. "Tell the receptionist I want to see you in a year."
That visit was July, a few months ago. "I don't want to start too early," she says. "Come back in three months."
'Three months' was last week. We do the works, with Occular Tomography again. She's so busy, but we are all organized. "Why didn't you call me when your vision went worse?" It's hard to convey, but it got worse immediately after the professional visits each time. I thought this was some kind of psychological thing, rather than reality, so I just waited for my appointment. She complains that the technicians who photograph eyes have been sent home for the day. I guess if there isn't enough work, the staff gets cut. Dr Koh is upset. "I wish we could have done this today, so go to the front and get the earliest appointment possible."
Nothing was available until today, Jeff's Birthday. For years, I was entirely neutral towards birthdays. But now, it's the only real holiday I keep. Most of the people I know are too busy to eat or even do coffee with me, but Jeff has done birthday lunches for years. I knew he would not be pleased. We figured someone else would come have lunch with him. Nada.
So my appointment is at 130pm, and I am seriously afraid. I stop into my own store to pick up coffee, and they commented on how sad I look. I didn't explain it to them (yet).
When I get to the eye deparment, I'm whisked into Area B. It's very busy and I wait a generous half hour before I'm called. I get the same tests, but a new routine. This time one tech walks me from one test to the next, until I'm told that the doctor has ordered an angiogram. "For my heart?" No, it will be explained later.
Beth the technician takes a while to become available for me. Indeed she does explain. She is taking pictures of the inside of my eye. Before and after dye. I get very afraid again. She explains that her dye doesn't go into my eyeball, but into a vein or artery on my arm. The dye has a laundry list of side effects, but most people don't get them. She wanted to get pictures within 15 seconds after they inject me! To do this, an eye doctor is located who will give me the injection, while she runs the equipment, and ensures my eyes are open enough for perfect pictures. No nausea, no itchiness, the pictures look good, so please wait outside again until you are called. "When I save this screen, Dr Koh will be notified automatically."
She calls me in while there are two others being cared for (by her). She shows me the pictures, and explains that there is fresh leakage into the eye, so she wants me to get an essential treatment. Since I'm not insured for this, she won't use the expensive $2000 product. The cheaper one is 50.00 a serving. Still costly for me.
Now I'm really afraid. This is the part I haven't been wanting. Dr Koh laughs. "This part will surprise you with how painless it is. You'll hate me in an hour or so, and overnight. But the needle will be like nothing."
She was right, of course. I was told look left and down, and I don't feel it at all. The lights she used for looking into my eyes hurt far worse. Before I left her throne, I started feeling an itch I couldn't scratch inside my eye. And wow, both eyes did not like ambient light.
I forgot to get the official doctor's report today, but it would say, in her official short form language, the questions asked and my answers. NKDA means no known drug allergies, for example.
So the drug I got today was Avastin. Vascular endothelial growth factor seems to be what this stuff controls.
I was so light sensitive after the appointment. That was around 400pm. I noticed real visual improvement by 900pm, and even more clarity for 200am. This stuff works.
We met Jeff outside our place, and he drove us in heavy traffic to a place in Whitby. It was a surprise. Mongolian Grill. I hardly ate before the procedures because I was so nervous, and I read some things on the internet which suggested some people get severe nausea from this. I was very hungry when we got there. It's good. The wait staff are tired, and like to talk more than serve, but not painfully so. The boys use swords to keep scratching your dinner until it's well done. To their credit, they made mine lighter and lighter each time I asked. The best serving was the last one, where my beef was rare with crisp broccoli. Too bad I was so full by then. Allow 30.00 per person for dinner.
2015 is upon us.