There are two physical changes that could happen to me that I think would particularly make my life difficult: losing the use of my eyes, and having red hair. I don't think I'm in any danger of becoming a red-head, but the eye thing has always caused me some passive concern. So I recently decided to get my eyes checked, just to make sure I'm not having any problems that aren't blindingly obvious.
But I wouldn't just go to a quacky optometrist. It takes about 2 weeks of training at the Vo-Tech to become a licensed optometrist. I know, I tried to take that career path, until I found out that the two weeks of intense drooling was totally unnecessary, and instead got my optometry degree out of a specially-marked box of Cracker-Jacks, along with a nifty decoder ring that I could use to diagnose elderly patients.
Where I wanted to go was the ophthalmologist, where they now apparently all specialize in Lasik, Lasic, Lazic Wavefront Guided Intralase FS LADARVision 4000, and something else that that uses lasers for correcting your vision.
But since I'm on an HMO insurance plan (because I don't know anything about insurance and therefore don't know any better) I couldn't just walk into an ophthalmologist office and request low-cost services subsidized by my employer. I had to get a referral from my Primary Care Physician.
Referrals are a surprisingly easy process these days. I remember my previous doctor, who was convinced he had the medical training to cure all ailments and conditions by himself. I think if I had told him I had a toothache, he would have gone out to his truck and quickly returned with a Craftsman 14.4V cordless drill, ready to go into action.
But not the new doctor. He specializes in ... well, nothing. He's a general family medicine guy who was probably unaware when he started of how many sick families live in the Dallas metro. As such, he's totally overworked and has no problem dishing out referrals over the phone for any reason I can come up with. He had one of his "girls," as he calls them, set up an appointment for me with a local ophthalmologist.
I arrived for my appointment this morning and was disappointed to discover that I had been to this practice before. Different office, but same guy's name on the door. But that didn't make sense: I was told my appointment was with a Dr. Lu. I quickly felt cheated, because I was promised the services of a highly trained and educated Asian man (all of this I gathered stereotypically from the name).
My appointment was at 8:15, but I poked around the waiting room for another half-hour after that until I was ushered back to the next waiting room, which was a little smaller, lacked magazines, and was filled with various instruments that are either used for looking at eyeballs or castrating bulls. I was greeted by none other than Dr. Lu himself, who I guess works at this practice now as well. Yay, I got my studious Asian! He was a very nice guy and made the otherwise unnerving event tolerable enough that I escaped needing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The first thing he commented on was that my pupils were already dilated. It's true, my pupils are naturally larger than most, to the point where nobody offers me drugs at a rave because they think I'm already rolling. Dr. Lu added the drops anyway, and did his battery of tests on my eyes while I had a handful of Kleenex to wipe away more water pouring out than you would find in a street in New Orleans. He shined the flashlight into my eye and I had to stare into it for what seemed like hours, or possibly even seconds, while he intently stared like there was an NC-17 movie showing back there.
I'm so glad that it's over with now, at least for another year. I came away with a clean record on my eyes, and still no need for corrective lenses or corrective laser surgery. In fact, from reading the standard eye chart, I found out that my eyes are still able to focus on the 15/20 line, giving me better than average vision when compared to other people looking at eye charts. That's to say, when my eyes are working properly, which sometimes they don't. But that's another story for another century.