Image found here.
Words often make me hear different ones (just as life paths have often made me take different ones). I've been subjected to the glaucoma spiel in recent weeks, but glockenspiel is what I hear in my head. Same old tune every old bat gets to hear if she dares visit a medical professional.
If you like, you can hear a bit of the Harry Potter theme played on a glockenspiel. [YouTube 0:32]
Medical Scare Tactics
Doctors always find a problem; this time it could be glaucoma.
I recently had my eyes checked. I do this once every couple of years in order to keep my health card active; otherwise I'd end up having to make a trek to the government office to convince them that I am who I say I am, and no, I haven't been out of the country for a long time.
The health system owes me money, I say, and they chuckle at that. But you people who run to the doctor every time you get a sniffle, remember that I, and others like me who dread that whole scene, have avoided draining the health care budget so that you can still get daddy/mommy-stroked for free.
The optometrist said there was very little change (which I already knew), but did suggest that my peripheral vision may not be what it should be (horrors! glaucoma!).
See, you can't visit a health professional without coming away with a warning that you may have a dire disease. Some people feel important when they're told they might have a disease -- and repeat business is good for business.
Anyway, she deduced this sad prognosis from a test in which I had to push a little button every time I saw a flashing light while peering through a peep-hole into a machine.
Well, I'm 78 this year, and my reflexes aren't what they used to be, so sometimes, by the time I'd hit the button, two flashes would have occurred, and I'd been able to react to only one.
I pretty much know my own failings, and I certainly knew my reflexes weren't what they once were, so nobody had to tell me I should give up my driver's licence. I'm a grown-up, after all.
When I pointed this out to the optometrist, she responded, "Hmmmmm", with raised eyebrows, as if this possibility had never before crossed her mind. Was she relying solely on that silly machine to make her diagnosis? It seems that she was.
But, not deterred, she told me she was obligated to refer me to an ophthamologist. Which is exactly why I don't like the health care system - once in, you can't get out. She said she'd make the arrangements and I would be notified.
Afer three weeks I thought she had forgotten about it, but today I got a phone call from the eye doctor's office. I can have the testing done by a technician in August, and then I can see the doctor in October. Some emergency, eh?
Doctors are very busy these days, mainly because they've scared the bejeebers out of most people. But an appointment in October? How do I know if I'm even going to be alive in October?
See that's the neat thing about being old. You accept the idea of death -- that you could go at any moment, and that you may not be around for certain upcoming events. You can consider things like that without getting all freaked out.
The woman on the phone was very pleasant and had a sense of humour, so I felt comfortable telling her, "I'm not having any symptoms, and I really don't know where I'll be in October, so thanks very much, but I think I'll pass."
She remained pleasant, but said she was obligated to tell me that there could be no symptoms at all and I could still have glaucoma. I replied, "In 1996 I was strongly advised to have a complete hysterectomy due to a cyst on each ovary, and I didn't do it. After more than 20 years of complete abstinence from the medical profession, how bad could that problem have been?"
She laughed, and I thanked her again, and that was that.
I wonder how many women are walking around all hollowed out like the guy in the Carol Burnett skit "Palace Guard Wants a Pony"? [YouTube 7:10] Watch it; it will make you laugh; I guarantee it. Especially after all the weirdness of the most recent royal display.
Turns out there are lots of early warning signs of glaucoma:
No. 1: halos. Been seeing them for at least 10 years. Shhhhh, don't tell anybody. They are actually less pronounced now than they used to be.
Now all I have to do is get out from under the dentist. Oooooh, I didn't mean to put it that way, although it's a good thing he's such amazing eye-candy, or I might have quit after the first visit when several things were found in need of attention.
That guy took one look at my X-Rays and the next day a tooth, that had not long ago been "restored" by my former dentist, fell into pieces in the middle of my dinner. I'm lucky I didn't swallow it.
So the rest of it had to be yanked, and an implant has been started, and another tooth has to be crowned as well, so I'm in for a long haul. There goes my life savings, eh?
Right I now have a screw in my head (not loose, thank you) gathering bone around it so that, eventually, an artificial tooth can be attached.
I've had more dental x-rays in the last few months than almost in my whole lifetime. That can't be good. If you can get a clue from this article as to how much is too much, good for you. Bear in mind that it's written by a dentist so it's not very conclusive.
Apparently, it can affect your DNA. Does that mean if you commit a murder your DNA will point to somebody else? Food for thought, eh? (I love saying, "eh"; it makes me feel so Canadian.)
The upside of glaucoma is that you get to use marijuana. I tried smoking it once, a long time ago, and wasn't impressed. But still, it might be something to look forward to -- if "they" let me live long enough!
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