Monday, April 09, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Mama's eyes turned red a few weeks ago. (Her ultimate diagnosis: Blepharitis). Her (social model) daycare couldn't handle it; sent her home saying they were not going to let her back until she was declared "non-contagious."

I called her doctor, who said "go to an opthamologist." Mama hasn't seen an opthamologist for two decades, so I was at a loss to find one. QUICKLY.

Luckily, the last time Mama had a medical crisis, I was at work, and my well-organized hypochondriac co-worker supplied me with a list of specialized emergency rooms. So I packed up Mama and took her to the N.e.w Y.or.k E.y.e and E.a.r I.nfirmar.y one fine Monday morning.

The minute we walk in, she says, "are we going to see Dr. B?" I say no and smile and explain that, um, we're going to see an associate of Dr. B. Yeah, that's it. "No," says Mama, stamping her foot like a spoiled child, "Dr. B is my eye doctor."

We (meaning I) fill out forms as we (meaning her) wait impatiently for our turn. (They are mind-boggling quick after-hours, but we had come for a regular walk-in appointment. So we waited about 90 minutes).

At one point, Mama was so agitated I put my I.p.o.d headphones on her and cranked the classical music. It made her SO HAPPY that she began to dance. And sing. LOUDLY. To the orchestral, no-vocals included classical music. (Mama sings SO BADLY that a co-worker of mine who heard her once wanted to record her JUST for the comedy of it...)

We were the talk of the waiting room...

I had placed the I.p.o.d in Mama's hand (and wrapped her fingers around it), because I didn't want it to go flying. At one point, Mama screams "Nica, you have to hear this!" and crams the I.p.o.d. next to my ear. As if it was a transistor radio. I (politely) decline and she shoves it next to her own ear. And continues to dance. And sing. Loudly (and off-key).

Within five minute of the start of Mama's performance, we're whisked to a consultation room. (Coincidence? I think not). A nurse does the preliminary examination, and Mama starts talking about Dr. B. The nurse looks at her (then me) strangely. She asks Mama to repeat the name and Mama repeats it. "I'm sorry," says the nurse. "Dr. B died some time ago." She walks out and Mama and I quietly wait for the doctor.

Mama is sad, and spends the next few moments reminiscing. Dr. B's wife was named A. He had two sons. He was a great man, and a nice man. She gets a little teary, which isn't a bad thing an opthamologist's office.

The Trainee Doc comes in to examine Mama. I recommend the NYEE highly, but the doctors that you see there are fresh out of school. I think I have shoes older than the Trainee Doc. And while Trainee is knowledgeable, she's thrown by the fact that Mama is a sad (and bad) patient. Mama will NOT sit still, Mama will not stick her chin in that thing that you're supposed to stick your chin in (anyone know the name). And the glaucoma test -- where you have to keep your eye open as they blow air in it? -- yeah. NOT happening.

Trainee Doc asks, then begs, then I ask, then beg. We ask in English, we beg in Spanish. (I've explained about the Alzheimer's). Trainee Doc gets frustrated, and says she's going to call her supervising doctor.

"I should send a card to the family," says Mama when Trainee's out of the room. "A sympathy card to Dr. B's family." I nod and plug her into the I.p.o.d, worried about how we can get Mama through the necessary tests.

In walks Dr. Trainee with her Supervisor.

The Supervisor is the son of Dr. B.

The Supervisor, the son of Dr. B. examined her 20+ years ago when he was just a trainee and remembers Mama.

And the Supervisor looks enough like his father that Mama calms down and gets through the exam. (they want us to come back fro some preventative laser surgery, but all should be well).

As we get in the cab home, Mama turns to me and says. "I told you that I was going to see Dr. B."

I ask you -- what are the freaking odds?

1 comment:

Bea said...

I have no idea what the freaking odds are, but that's hilarious. In the end.