My Eyeballs

First, the cherry pie last night was wonderful. I was allowed to dip the ice cream which made it even better. The pie was still warm from the 2-hour cool down period so we timed it just perfectly.

So, I went to the VA again this morning. Not as early as last time, and I didn’t go alone. As most of you already know, I’m not allowed to drive long distances from the house because Diane isn’t sure I’ll find my way back. As a result, I’ve learned to be a good passenger.  A really good one.  I think I’m past the phase where I thought it was OK to say stuff, like “if I was following that close, you’d be yelling at me.” Or, “if I was driving, I would have turned back there. It’s shorter.” Or, “you cut that corner awful close back there.” I’ve learned that saying things like that create more situations for someone to be mean to you.

Just saying’ …

The VA optometry department uses young students to do all the hard work figuring out if your eyeballs are properly aligned, configured, and up to date. Then they go get a real doctor to check the results and he does it again. All of the students are female Asian people, as far as I can tell. That isn’t a racial issue, just an observation. Whenever I am attended by anyone at the VA, for anything, I always ask them if they love their job. Most of the time I’m greeted with an excited “yes”, but today it was more of a non-comment. She was serious about her tasks, and suspect she did them well, but I could tell they weren’t tasks she was thrilled to be doing. Being prudent, like I am, I didn’t press the issue. She was, after all, fiddling around with my eyes and I don’t have spares. So, I just sat back and obeyed her every command.

The first thing she did, once I was seated in her exam chair, was have me read the bottom lines of her eye charts which were behind me, but reflected on a mirror on a far wall in front of me. Tricky. The letters should have been backwards, but they weren’t. I could read them just fine. After that was done she searched around on her desk until she found the absolutely brightest light she had  which she began shining into one eye, then the other.  I think she had already put some drops into my eye, but can’t remember. At that point, I was consumed with the light. I have to admit that the residual image it left was a pretty green circle that turned blue when I blinked. Very festive.  The lights took about half an hour, then she put the dilating drops into my eyes and sent me to the waiting room to let them work for a while. I waited patiently, playing Sudoku on my iPad, and looking for a new book. I just finished James Rollins “Bloodline”. A fun read because lots of stuff blows up.

When she called me back to the chair, my eyes must have been mostly black because they were sucking in all the light they could find. I’m sure I could see in the dark about then. Very little light was required. So, what does she do? She breaks out and even brighter light and went through all the tests again – look up, look down, look left, look right, look right and down, look left and up, look right and up, look left and down. Just like that, over and over. At one point she changed it up on me and held her hand in front of her chest and commanded me to look there. I did, but I gotta tell ya, there’s not a lot to see when they’re wearing lab coats.

Finally, it was done and she went to get the real doctor who, as I already related, did the tests again, but in a more brief fashion. I think he was just spot checking the student. That’s OK. They need to be spot checked. While he looked, he relayed information to the student who typed it into my record, kind of like a dentist does only she had pictures of eyeballs, not teeth. Then he gave me the good news that my eyes looked healthy and there isn’t any evidence of a diabetic problem which means I can increase my candy intake right away. He also told me that the retina in my left eye has some wrinkles in it that will go away if I make more of an effort to keep my eyes wide open at all times, when not sleeping. That’s a lie, of course. Wrinkles happen. I’ve got wrinkles all over, so why not on my retina? Actually, I already knew this from the last visit. It’s no worse, it’s just not something that’s going to go away. Also, I don’t need new glasses because my prescription hasn’t changed. Exciting stuff.

I was finally released after about 1.5 hours and called Diane to come and get me. Before the appointment she dumped me out front and rushed off to the closest Goodwill store seeking ‘things’ she didn’t know she needed. It’s actually good exercise for her because she walks all over the store the entire time, hanging on to her cart into which she tosses random items which she will re-evaluate before hitting the checkout stand. She just grabs stuff before anyone else can get it on the off-chance it might be something useful. Normally it is. And, she has a good time.

She said she’d be around in 10 minutes so I waited a few, then took my dilated eyes outside into the bright sunshine. Just as soon as I went out the front door I figured my eyes were dilated to about 8 cm because my water broke and ran down my face. This happened even though I was wearing a pair of those slip behind your glasses fake sunglasses. It helped, but not enough. Still, I toughed it out and walked up the sidewalk to a point where I knew Diane would see me when she arrived. I knew she would, because I did that one other visit and she drove right past me. Boy. did I give a talking to that I’ll regret forever! It was educational because I was able to visualize my boundaries and talking points more clearly once she was done explaining things to me. Because of that, I knew she would remember, as did I.

Even though my eyes have been certified to be OK, and will last for many years with proper care, I intend to continue practicing braille when possible. I’m going down to DMV tomorrow and see if they can give me a braille version of their manual so I can study for my test next year. If they don’t have one, I’m calling the ACLU, by golly.

The trip home was uneventful. No one tried to run over us. Unusual for Highway 30, but a pleasant change.

Once home we were both very hungry. I was hungry during my test. I knew this because my stomach made various kinds of gurgling noises throughout all the left, right directions. It didn’t ruffle the student at all, but I wonder what she would have done had I farted, as I wanted to do. Repressing my flatulent nature probably contributed to the gurgling. Normally, I don’t repress farts because it is my firm belief if farts are withheld repeatedly, they eventually turn into burps that taste like crap. Thinking about that reminds me of a saying I heard somewhere, that when you’re kissing someone, you’re just sucking on a 30′ tube that’s half full of crap. Kinda takes the romance out of it, doesn’t it?

For lunch Diane and I had custom nachos – I made the bite-sized ones for both of us. They are really good. For dessert we each ate another piece of cherry pie with ice cream. Just when I was settling into a semi-slumber mode, the dogs started barking because Jennie and Jeran showed up for a visit. It’s always good to see them. Actually, Ozzie’s the only one who barks – Panzee kinda talks to those she knows. Unless it’s a cat. Or another dog. Or a deer.

Changing gears, here are some totally unrelated pictures you may enjoy.

Ozzie on guard in the geraniums – he thinks he’s blending in.


My favorite dry cleaners, on the way to Pill Hill (VA Hospital). I’ve mentioned this.


OK – that’s it. Now I need to go out and clean up some more brush from my previous weed whacking efforts.


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