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.