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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nothing to Fear

I had my very first eye appointment as a diabetic yesterday.  (Reader:  "Wait?  Haven't you been diabetic for 4 years?!")  Yes, reader, I have.  I know that going to a yearly eye doctor is something I'm supposed to do, but I had such a bad experience with my one (and only) eye appointment about 6 years ago.  Long story short, the doctor I saw was extremely forceful and unfriendly. 

So I've been putting this appointment off for as long as I could, until I started noticing that it was becoming more difficult to read words on the TV from the couch and reading presentation slides from the back of the conference room.  Trey kept noticing me squinting and said, "You're going to the eye doctor."  I reluctantly agreed, because I knew this was something I need to do. 

I arrived at the office yesterday afternoon, signed in, filled out the standard new patient form, and sighed as I circled "Diabetes" under current illnesses.  While I was waiting to be called, I was able to snap a picture for my D365 project and the Waiting with Diabetes group

I sat next to the tile foyer, ready to make my escape.

I got called back and made my way into a dark room with several chairs with chin rests.  The tech told me to look into the little black box where I saw a picture of a green field with a red box in the middle.  She did some adjusting to the lenses, then all of a sudden . . . PSSHT! . . . I get sprayed with this stuff into my left eye!  WTH?!  I had no idea what that was, the tech told me it was some type of spray, but I couldn't understand her.  Perhaps I should have told her at the beginning that this was my first appointment in 6 years, maybe she would have told me what to expect. 

Then I was escorted into a smaller room with one chair.  The tech gave me a huge black spoon to put over my eye and told me to try to read the letters in the mirror in front of me.  I really struggled with the first few lines she gave me, which kind of got me down.  I thought I would get the easier letters first and then go down, but apparently we were going backwards.  So the later lines she gave me I could read a lot better.  She sat down at the computer and asked me what medications I was taking.  "Novolog and Prilosec."  This was the first time diabetes was even mentioned in this appointment.  She asked me if I was type 1 or type 2, then told me how important it is to come in for a yearly appointment.  I kept feeling like I was saying over and over in my head, "I know, I'm sorry, I know." 

She told me the doctor would be in shortly and left me in the room by myself.  Two seconds later the doctor came in, and she was unlike any doctor I've ever had.  About my height (5'2"), a little portly, wearing a leopard print skirt and textured tights.  I smiled and thought she must be really cool.  She introduced herself and looked at my chart.  "How long have you had diabetes?"  "Just passed four years," I said.  "Well even with controlled diabetes, it's still very important to get your eyes checked once a year because we want to check to the back of your eyes and look at your nerve function, not necessarily your vision."  Repeating in my head, "I know, I'm sorry, I know." 

Then she dilates my eyes, and I go pick out some glasses to cater to my near-sightedness brought about by my eye exam.  I pick out some frames, and sit back down in the lobby waiting for my eyesight to get fuzzy.  She calls me back in and she shines a light in my eye as I my a circle looking around the room.  "OK," she says as she rolls back from my chair.  I was thinking, "OK what?!  What?!  Tell me!!"  She finally says, "Your eyes look perfectly healthy."  "Oh," I said,"that's a relief."  "Yep, I see nothing wrong."  She leads me out and I head out on my merry way. 

It was in that moment that I realized that we don't get a huge prize in avoiding complications, other than the avoidance itself.  I felt elated that I dodge a huge bullet in avoiding this appointment for four years, but all I could do was sit in the chair in the dark room and breathe a huge sigh of relief.  I called my mom and told her, and told Trey when I got home and they were both happy for me.  I just hate that I feel like I'm getting congratulated for something that's supposed to be mine at some point in my life.  I don't want it, and I'll keep passing that plate each time it comes by me.  Until then, I'll be rocking some sexy kitten-heel frames. 


  1. I dread the yearly exam but it's just one of those things. The dilation stings my eyes and I am wreck the rest of the day. I just sleep until my eyes come back to normal.

    Glad all is good!

  2. Yey!! Glad it went good for you. I'm always scared when they either don't say anything, just say "ok" or keep looking at my eyes and back at my chart. Freaks me out. Now, I'm off to schedule mine. Yey. :-)


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.