I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
July 22, 2015 - 10:15 a.m.
Welcome to a medical edition of Wise Madness. As it was so hard for me to deal with my insurance and make an appointment this is a big deal. It was a struggle against anxiety that I won.
I finally did something about being blind, I went to the ophthalmologist. I live in Brooklyn but my doctor gave me an appointment with a doctor at St. Luke's Hospital up on 114th street. The trains misfired so I would have been a little late. More crucially I was late because I had trouble reading the address. I thought it was on 110th street. I did enjoy the irony of being late to the eye doctor because I have trouble seeing I lost about 10 minutes trying to find it in the hospital. I was told second floor area J but where's that? I didn't know it was in the hospital. I had to ask how to get there. First I found I had to take an elevator up one flight. I could not find a stairway and when I asked was told, "There must be a stair someplace but I never saw it." There were no signs to "Area J" but the person who gave me the directions told me which way to walk. He told me wrong. I had to walk the opposite direction. In any event I arrived 20 minutes late, not a disaster.
I went to reception and they asked for my insurance card and was told to sit down. I expected to have to fill out some forms but wasn't given any. I waited a full hour till my name was called. They weren't ready for me. They were only then getting basic information from me. When I made the appointment they had all my info because they used the same system as my primary care doctor but as it wasn't in the actual hospital they had to ask again. They asked for my pharmacy's phone number .Do you know yours? Is that something people are supposed to have handy? I know where it is. I am not on any meds so I don't have it handy. I never got a prescription from them. But then guess what. It was in the system because when I was at my primary care doctor we tracked it down online. So they had the info if they were willing to look for it. Then I sat down. I waited … another hour and twenty minutes. By then the crowd had thinned out. To make things worse they had channel five, Fox, on the TV with all inane shows, Doctor Oz doing medical malpractice, everything is a "miracle food," People's Court, and TMZ live. There was no WiFi and I did not get a strong signal on my phone. My brain was turning to mush. I went to complain. The receptionists were without a shred of sympathy. I talked to the manager. He said things were backed up. Things don't back up by two and a half hours. That's overbooking. I should have been told when I came in, "Things are way behind. We'll take your info and you can come back in two hours." He was just making excuses till he asked if I had seen a technician. I told him no, I have just been sitting. That got some action. A few minutes later I was brought inside where they put the drops in my eye, and checked for glaucoma and visual acuity. I was never in the machine that automatically checks the focus of the eye. I was then told to wait outside again. A little later I was called in but it was to see the technicians again. I should point out that both technicians were extremely pleasant, the first people that I liked in the hospital. The people whose job is to deal with people had no social skills, those whose job are technical did. I finally was called in to see the doctor and I liked her too. She and the techs were very understanding of my frustrations at having to wait so long, unlike the receptionists.
So she did more tests and talked to me. So here's the story. As I knew I had cataracts. They are not "Oh My God! I’m rushing you to surgery bad. I was concerned because my vision changes so much. That I wake up not being able to see then it gets better. She told me that's what cataracts do. The only thing I was medically afraid of was that it was more than cataracts; so this was a big relief. This should be totally correctable with surgery. She was going to have me come back for a test to see if my vision could be corrected. Ugh. I told her that I got new glasses last year and they ceased to be adequate in three months. I don't want to do that again. And she understood and agreed. She said I should see the eye surgeon. They are going to call me to make an appointment. How much you want to bed they don't call today. I will call them if I haven't heard by 4 PM.
Navigating home was fun. My pupils were dilated and I could hardly see. Much worse than normal. Do you know why that happens? When you increase the aperture of a lens you decrease the depth of field. So you can't keep things in focus. I actually found a stairway. I walked down. But then there was a sign at the bottom, not when I got on it, "emergency exit only." But the door was open so I went out. I found myself in a tiny courtyard but there was a path to the street and I took it. But now I didn't know what street I was on. It wasn't where I went in. I couldn't see to orient myself. To the right I thought I saw trees which meant that was probably that park whose name I don't know, that was east of me. I wanted to walk west to Broadway. I walked a block and couldn't see what avenue I was on. I went up to a women and told her that my eyes were dilated and couldn't see and asked her where Broadway was. I was right, it was a block further in the direction I was walking. I also asked her what street I was on. It was 113th street. So I walked to Broadway then down to 110th street.
I was going to go to the City Winery Parking Lot to see Elephant Revival do a free show. One problem. That was at 5:00. It was now 5:40. Yes I was at the doctor for three hours and twenty minutes. That was ridiculous. There was nothing I could do so I headed home. I was thinking of shopping but I forgot my shopping bag and I was even blinder than usual. I did stop at the produce store near my house and got plantains and garlic for dinner.
I rewarded myself by making my favorite dinner, sweet garlic dinner. I had the plantains with it. That was great. I made it perfectly even though I couldn't see. It helps that I made it with thighs in the bone not boneless cutlet. That's more forgiving to cook.
Then what could I do all night. I couldn't read. I couldn't even use my computer. I could use my phone if I held it an inch from my eye. So I listened to music. I took a shower. Around 11:20 my eyes cleared up enough that I could watch TV on my computer.
Today might just be a bad vision day. I can't believe my eyes are still dilated. I'm having a bit of a problem reading on the computer but I'm getting by. Ugh. Just realized I was supposed to pick up mail yesterday. I got out too late to do that. I had been worried about how to fill the time between the doctor and the concert. Silly me. I should do laundry today too. Wow I finished writing this at 10:10; most days I haven't even started by now. I should make something special for breakfast. Not in the mood for pancakes. I'll probably just go for an omelet.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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