Having an eye exam can be an intrusive experience. Why would I say that? See, it’s like this… Even though I had eye surgery to correct my vision two years back, I still have to go for regular check ups, just in case my cornea decides to give up, and fizzle out.
Sitting in that weird electric-chair looking contraption, with all those weird spacey looking equipment devices, you wait for the doctor to come in. You nosey around a tad, you look at all the weird little lenses he has, they’re all piled up so neatly. They even have this headpiece that almost looks as though you are on death row. You notice the huge metal mask-like goggles that can swivel over to where you sit. There are so many buttons and levers on this puppy; enough to make your head spin. The whole office looks as though it’s there to create a robot of some sort.
Now, I’ve been going to this same doctor since I was two years old. He has drawings that I did when I was four. He said to me, “If you ever get engaged Debbie, I am going to give you back your drawings and all your art work, so you can show it to your little ones when you’re married.” That always stuck in my mind. I was surprised he kept them. By the time I was twenty-five years old, I was in his office with my legally blind eyes.
“Doc, I’m engaged.”
“Wow! You are? I had no idea! I didn’t even realize you were dating anyone, Deb!”
“Well, I just wanted to let you know. You did tell me once, that I can get my art work back from when I was little, right?” I was testing him to see if he really did have my art work, and of course, I was engaged too.
“Of course!” He says, all excited, as he fumbles through the file cabinet and retrieved my drawings.
“Oh my God! I can’t believe you still have these!” I started flipping through all of them. Some of them were even writings of when I was six years old, making up weird poems. I was a writer back then too! Amazing. My drawings were of course stick figures, and if anyone knows my art work, they would laugh if they saw these pictures. I was quite the amateur back then.
“So Deb, who’s the lucky man?” Doc asks, as he starts to swivel that scary machine over to my eyes.
“Oh, it’s just Madelene outside in the waiting room.” I said, nonchalantly. Madelene sees him too for regular eye exams, and thinks she's just one of my buddies.
The scary machine gets swiveled back to the other side, away from my face, so that Doc and myself and now eye-to-eye.
“Oh?” He says, with his eyebrows raised up to the sky, looking puzzled as if he was legally blind.
“Doc, it’s okay, examine my eyes.” I said, to get that awful weird feeling out of the air.
“Well I’m so happy for you!” He says, as he slaps me on the knee. Okay, that was just awkward.
The scary machine is back up against my face. My face pressed against this thing, touching its padding. I wonder if he cleans it off with an alcohol swab. So many people he sees, so many germs on this horrifying contraption. A whole slew of Hasidim Jews left the office when I walked in. Don’t they think the same thing I do when they sit here, face pressed against this dirty mask? They don’t even want to touch our hands when exchanging money, how can they think this is cleaner? Awful.
The doctor presses his face against the scary machine on the other side. Here’s my problem with this. Not only is he almost straddling me, maneuvering his legs so it intertwines with mine, but he is breathing right in my mouth and nose area. This is awful. I can smell whatever it was he had for lunch. I think on that particular day, it was tacos with extra onions. Couldn’t he at least pop a breath mint before getting up close and personal? I try holding my breath for a little longer, hoping that he is finished examining that one eye. I breathe in, when he does, so that his breath doesn’t become my oxygen.
“If only….. I can….…just….slip…..one…..breath mint…… into his mouth…..life would be that much sweeter.” I think to myself, as his halitosis invades every part of my being. Every second feels like an hour. I’m suffocating. Houston, we have a problem. Mayday! Mayday! I’m going down! S.O.S.!!! Someone please help me! I scream this in my head the whole entire time.
The scary metal mask gets swiveled away, and I am in the clear. Fresh air, finally! The one thing I love about my doctor that literally saves me, is that he has been wearing the same cologne since I was two years old. It smells so incredibly good; I just breathe it in with no problem. He never changes it. It’s his trademark. You smell that cologne, you know he is in the general area. I even once tracked him down in an art store with his wife, because I followed my nose. No lie, true story! I just wish he kept up with his breath.
After tons of drops poured into my eyes, he brings over the glaucoma testing machine. This is almost as worse than the scary metal mask thingie. My eyes start to dilate, making me look like a huge crackhead. He moves up right back in my space again and tells me to place my chin on the chinpad. Of course, thoughts swing back to, “Did he swab this down with alcohol? I don’t smell alcohol, this doesn’t smell too clean…I need to disinfect myself when I get the hell outa’ here!”
“Okay……open your eyes wide, and don’t blink.” He says slowly.
Yeah that’s great. Don’t blink. An involuntary action your brain controls. Lovely. Keep in mind, if I do blink, the metal little device is sitting flat on my eyeballs. That would hurt like hell if I did blink. My brain listens to me. My brain obeys the ‘no blinking rule’. The weird florescent, purple hued light shines brightly into my eyes. The eerie thing about this machine is, you can see the doctor’s eyes looking right back at yours. Ew. I’m staring into my doctor’s eyes! This is so awkward.
“Keep looking straight into my eyes.” He says, in a meditative weird, psycho, pedophile-like tone.
Again, the breath. This is so not good. Can he read my mind, since he is looking straight into my eyeballs? He can read my thoughts, my eyes are dilated so much, he can hear me think. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD--GET A BREATH MINT! EYE DOCTORS NEED DENTAL PLANS TOO! A PIECE OF GUM WOULD NOT HURT YOU!!! But I kept quiet. This is way too intrusive. I want out. He moves the machine away from my eyes. I'm now literally blind from the lights that forced its way into my brain.
“Okay. You’re all done! I’ll see you in six months. Let me know if you see any blinking lights, call me if that happens.” He says, as he writes me my next appointment on his business card.
“Great. I’ll call you when I’m in a club, as the strobe lights flicker.” I reply.
He laughs at me, and says, “Don’t ever change Deb, and good luck with your engagement.”
Not only was his ‘best wishes’ very awkward, so was that whole entire visit.