Today I left my optician’s office depressed. On a scale of 1-10, I was cresting a 9.5 easily. Now I understand how people get suicidal thoughts and even go through with them.
A bit of background; on my paternal side, my family has a history of eye defects, possible hereditary glaucoma. That this disease would skip 2 generations, is not obvious. The doctor suggests ‘constant monitoring’ #rolling my eyes at that.
Every six months I visit the optician for a check-up. I am a good patient like that. Last week, I was there to see a different doctor #remind me why I hate to consult different doctors……and this time the doctor says “The pressure in your right eye is up. Do you have a history of glaucoma in your family? Your visual field needs further examination. I would like to schedule another appointment with you. Can you come back next week?”.
I am at the reception trying to pay my bill when she calls me back “Raji! Buy this drop for your eyes. They are dry”. Am thinking “probably from being cried out! Ha! No, seriously, I thought “This must be from all the chlorine in the pool two days ago”
I glance at the name on the paper – Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops High performance.
So, here we come to today’s reason for depression – I return to the optician’s today, we do a Central Threshold Test, next we went through a regular eye tonography test.
Initially, I was smiling and expecting the diagnosis to be regular like “the pressure is down a bit, have you been using the drops? continue using them for a month, wear your glasses when you read or eat more fish”. You know, something regular doctors always say to us. I wasn’t prepared for what came next .
“The pressure in your eyes are high, your visual field has changed somewhat and needs monitoring so we can catch the early stages of disease”
Here I am thinking “oh shit! am i gonna lose my sight? Not even one but two of them have high pressure? But wait, back up, what the ****does high pressure in the eye mean?”
I was thinking all sorts of crazy, I realize she hasn’t stopped talking but is calmly proceeding with her prognosis.
“It is a pity you will be leaving us at the end of the month because your eyes need “monitoring”. However, I will write you a note with the result of your test so you can bring it to your country and tell your doctor that you have been examined and was recommended for close “monitoring”. That annoying word again.
And now am thinking
” The teaching hospitals?”
My experience with Nigerian teaching hospitals is a nightmare where you spend the whole day just to see the optician who is impatiently snapping at you because your eye reflex is to blink when he tries to poke you with the scanner of his tonograph. How is that a deliberate fault? Instead, he will scold you and tell you ” If you ain’t ready to leave your eyes open, maybe you can give up your space for someone else who is!”
In my head, I’ll be like “This fool must be crazy! Did I come to spend eight hours in the hospital just to see your frumpy face? Besides, If I see a piece of foreign material making straight for my eye (which pardon to say, am trying to fix), how else should i entertain the threat crazy fellow?”
Anyway, my optician today suggests upon my return to Nigeria, I should inform my doctor that I need close monitoring and it occurred to me that “I know no single reliable Optometrist or optician I could rely on for this “monitoring”. She nicely followed me back to the reception, informs the lady to print out the result of my test and her recommendations so I can give to my “doctor” in Nigeria. I got the print out without paying any money or waiting 5 minutes.
All in all, I spent 45 minutes for two eye tests and an examination that a patient would spend 7am – 6pm at UCH, Ibadan for which reminded me of the hassle i went through with University College Hospital. I had to pay, apply and walk all over the monstrously huge hospital grounds just to be given a printout of my own eye! At a point I wondered what they would do with the scan results If they preferred to keep them and it wasn’t even their eye! Crazies!
Which depressed me even more, gave me a migraine and helped me appreciate how people progress quickly from depression to suicide.