Monday, August 3, 2009

I told the Witch Doctor I had a stye in my eye OR I only have eyes for you, baby OR Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

A few months ago my eye started hurting and I discovered an angry red bump on my eyelid. Thus began the ophthalmic journey that would bring me to the brink of madness.

First I had to wait to start my job. Then I had to wait for my benefits and insurance to kick in. Then I had to get an appointment with a general practitioner, which proved to be a feat in and of itself. Nobody in town was making appointments until October, three months away.

So I went to the Urgent Care on the advice of a smarmy receptionist, and it is there that I learned that Urgent Care doctors suck, or at least mine did. For only a $30 copay he basically gave me some attitude and told me to see a specialist.
By a miracle I got in to see the ophthalmologist within a month. I sat in his waiting room for two hours before I finally got to see him. I was a little worried about my visit. Somebody told me my red bump was a “stye,” and I promptly looked the word up on WebMd (bad idea). It said that a stye is basically a nasty, ugly pimple in your eye. Awesome.

Also, in my months of trying to get seen by a doctor my stye had gotten bigger and redder. A “friend” said it might have to get “lanced” and “drained,” which is a nice way of saying they might have to cut it open and let all the gunk ooze out. Fun times.
So when the doctor finally called me back I was a little nervous. He poked my eyes with all kinds of exotic instruments. Just when I thought he couldn’t possibly have anything else to jab my eyeballs with he would supernaturally produce another device and stick in my eye. He put a couple of different drops in my eyes. He made me read letters off of a chart.

And then he said, “You have a stye, which is basically a nasty, ugly pimple in your eye.”

“Good diagnosis,” I said. “WebMd told me as much. What do we do about it, doctor?”

And, honest-to-goodness, this is what he said: “Well what you’re going to need to do is put a hot compress on your eye twice a day. I recommend a potato. Just sick it in the microwave for a few minutes and then put it on your eye. Oh yeah, and omega 3 fatty acid also helps, so you’re gonna want to take some fish oil, but don’t skimp. Get the expensive fish oil because cheap fish oil will make you smell like a tuna fish sandwich.”

I was dumbfounded. “You’re telling me to take fish oil and put a hot potato on my eye and that will cure me? Should I sprinkle some sour cream, chives and bacon bits on there too? Does it need to be under a full moon? Is there an incantation I should say first? What kind of old wives’ tale witch doctor ophthalmologist are you? You really feel OK taking my money?”
But of course I didn’t say any of that. I just let him write “potato” and “fish oil” on a piece of paper for me like it was a prescription and send me on my way.

All I can say is, “second opinion.” And I want my $30 copay back.


  1. See. You should have just listened to me back in May....
    did it go away though?

  2. The question is...did it work?

  3. haha i've had one of those before, but it went away without any potato or sour cream remedies

  4. maybe he was trying a holistic apporach. hahaha. well that's too bad. dit it work though?

  5. hahaha. Now I want to know if you tried those treatments and whether or not they worked!
    I had a stye in my upper eye lid when I was planning my wedding (I concluded it was stress related). It got so big that my hubby was getting freaked out and I was scared of being in public so we stabbed it with a clean needle (carefully). No doctor required! Lucky it worked...

  6. I haven't done a hot potato but I did buy a microwaveable hot pad from Walgreen's and I'm also taking fish oil. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

  7. I would just get a wash cloth really wet with warm water (not TOO hot), and place that on your eye. It'll be more comfortable than a potato, and you can just lie down, listen to some tunes, and soak away the pain. Twice a day, maybe?

  8. Why does your blog always make me hungry ...

  9. You see, you neglected to tell your readers that the eye doctor you went to has his office in Santa Fe. Everyone knows that people in Santa Fe are a bunch of crazy hippies. Try again in Albuquerque and I guarantee you will get some real drugs this time!

  10. Oh my...I had one of these once. Horrible. My opthamalogist said the same thing about the potato- no mention of fish oil. Gross. I did do the potato which is really awkward and bizarre..and it didn't work. FINALLY, at work one day (literally 3 months later) my eye started involuntarily blinking..a lot...and all of a sudden this thing came out. THE SIZE OF A MOTHER FUCKING PEA. My eye felt so much better, and this pea shaped thing was hard as a rock. I thought my eye was falling out.


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