March 3, 2017

In which Meriwhen learns she was never meant to go into ophthalmology, and other important life lessons

Lesson #1:  Never schedule an eye appointment after working night shift.

Especially when the night is long and the psych acuity is high.  It was all I could do to stay awake once I got off of work.  I usually sleep immediately or thereabouts after getting home.  But not today.

I went home, showered, ate breakfast (Jack in the Box, how I love thee), and then drove the 45 minute to my ophthalmologist (Blogger autocorrect, how I love thee).

My eye doctor is located in a very affluent part of the entire state.  Not just an affluent area in my city--it's one of the top in the state.   So my little SUV is a bit out of place among the Audis, BMWs and other luxury cars.  I also feel a bit of place there too, as I show up right out of work, in my sandals, old jeans, and AN.com jacket, while both staff and patients walk around in business suits or designer label swag.  Everyone else is (or appears) slim, young and beautiful.

Then after the appointment, I drove the 45 minutes home and had lunch.  And then I tried to pass out...and was unable to fall asleep.  So I ended up staying awake for a full 24 hours.

Lesson #2:  Eye doctors have access to the best toys.

The eye doctor has the most beautiful green eyes...so beautiful and fairy princess-like.  There's no way THEY could have been natural.   But minding my manners, I did not ask.  And it goes without saying that all the vision techs and nurses had long, luxurious lashes...me thinks Latisse is at work.

And nary a wrinkle in sight on anyone.

Lesson #3:  Ptosis is not what I thought it was.

I told her that my right eye had the issues with drooping...she was focused on my left.  Then she took measurements, went over the test results, and I learned that what I assumed was a drooping eyelid was not actually a drooping eyelid.  And what I assumed was the normal eyelid was in fact the drooping eyelid.  It's the left eye that had the ptosis.

That being said, the right eye still has its own issues, so I'm not entirely insane.

The cure for both of these issues is minor outpatient surgery with a week's downtime.  It's not critical--it's more of a quality of life issue.  If I never got the procedure done, no big deal.  But she warned me that given the aging process, both eye issues are not going to get any better on their own.  And I'm also apparently at the border where the procedure would be covered my insurance for medical reasons, instead of not being covered as a cosmetic procedure...at least for the left eye, since my vision is apparently being impaired by it.  The right eye, they'd have to apply for specific approval to fix this problem, as apparently my vision is fine in the right eye.

I say "apparently" because during the vision field test, the right eye was far more uncomfortable during testing than the left.  So naturally, I assumed that it was as I originally thought--the right eye was the issue.  Guess I was wrong.

But we agreed on a conservative "wait and see" approach for now because...

Lesson #4:  I have no stomach for anything involving eye surgery.

She started describing the procedure and I began twitching.  It was all I could do to not go squeamish and pass out on her.  Even recalling the conversation as I type this several days later is making my stomach churn and my body shudder.

We decided that, even though the surgery is a minor procedure and I could drive myself home afterwards, it would probably be best if she put me out for it.

Then there's the scheduling issue.  A week of time off will be needed until the stitches can come out.  The bruising will take longer to heal, but I don't mind going in all bruised up.  I could camouflage most of it with makeup, I imagine.  And if not, it'll have the potential for helping me spin entertaining tales for my patients.

I got home and filled in the better half who agreed on the "wait and see" approach (he's got a much weaker stomach than I).  I follow up in 6 months or sooner if it worsens.  I'm probably going to schedule the surgery for the end of the year.

And of course, not having slept in 24 hours plus all this about eye surgery--the procedure is essentially an eye lift--made me start thinking...

Lesson #5:  I need to embrace aging.  Not necessarily without a fight though.

Mentally, I don't feel my age at all.  I feel years younger than I am.  I know I'm not a teenager or in my 20s, so I don't act or dress like one.  But I refuse to mentally-tack on "middle-age" to anything I say, think or do.

Thanks to a lot of sunblock plus great skincare, I'm fortunate to look 10 years younger than I actually am.  My skin has never looked this good in the last decade.  I'm also steadily losing weight and starting next week, I'm getting back into exercise (my excuse for not starting now is that I have a half-marathon that in this weekend, and I don't want to be sore).   I don't have any greys...though to be fair, I've been coloring my hair since age 19 so if there is grey beyond the random hair or two, I wouldn't really know about it.  So overall, I'm on the upswing.

The fact is, I have to accept that my body has been on the road for 40+ years now and with life happening to it, it's inevitable that there will be some wear-and-tear (tare?).   I'm never going to have the face or body of a 25 year old again.  And even though I'm ahead of the game with the religious sunblock use, I admit to feeling some regret that I didn't take even better care of my face and body (watched my weight, dealt with skin issues, etc.) so that perhaps I wouldn't have felt so insecure in my teens and 20s.  I could have enjoyed them more.

But I am what I am.  I should embrace it.  That doesn't mean letting myself go and not putting up any fight, though.   If I can improve something a little bit, I shall.  But let me be realistic about what I am and what I can achieve.  Nothing is going to bring me back to age 25 nor should I try.  But at least I can look and feel damn good for a 40-something year old.

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