The past four or five days, I’ve been enjoying yet another goddamn health quirk: sudden stabs of agonizing pain in the eye, as though someone were pushing a needle through the backside of my left eyeball.
This has happened before, but in the past it’s only occurred once and then it’s gone away. This time, it’s not going away. And, as usual, a visit to the Hypochodriac’s Treasure Chest that is the Internet induces raw panic. Raw panic does nothing for one’s sense of well-being.
Awake at 1 in the morning, after a pre-bedtime jolt that felt like my eyeball was about to rupture. Whiled away the wee hours editing some pretty damned awful copy. Went back to bed around 4:00 forgetting to set the alarm clock so I could get out the door by 6:45. Slept until well after dawn.
And so missed my 7:30 meeting. And, interestingly, for a change there was a reason I was supposed to show up.
Got Young Dr. Kildare’s front office staff on the phone at 25 after 8:00. They suggested I should present myself to YDK at 9:00 a.m. sharp.
He observed that there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. I needed to be seen by an ophthalmologist. I said I’d tried, but the earliest I could get in is a week from tomorrow. He said that would never do. I needed to be seen right now. He ordered his front office staff to find a practitioner and run interference with his or her front office staff.
They got me in to a doctor located in one of the city’s darkest slums, at 1:00 p.m.
My class runs from noon to 1:15. Said slum is a 40-minute drive from Heavenly Gardens Community College. I fly into campus, planning to dismiss class with a list of things to study for the Phaque Phinal.
I don’t bargain on Ms. Grandmère showing up with a gallon of milk and two packages of cooked-up mix brownies.
Nor do I bargain on today’s batshit craziness.
I appoint Ms. Grandmère as my unofficial substitute teacher and say “If anyone comes in here, tell them you’re the instructor.”
She says, “But I was a college dropout!”
I say, “That’s OK. I was a high-school dropout.”
The party is under way as I shoot out the door.
Run to my car, rocket across the freeway, navigate one of the scariest parts of the inner city, find said doc’s office. I’ve brought my laptop with me, because I have a rush editorial job to do, one that will pay decently, and I just know this last minute cram-me-into-the-schedule business is going to mean I get to cool my heels in the waiting room forever and aye.
When I get there, I turn on my computer and…wait. And wait. And wait. It won’t boot up. Mentally, I try to guess how much this apparent crash is going to cost me, right at the moment at which I decide to quit my job.
(As it develops, the thing was trying to download some new “critical” goddamn Microsoft updates — WHAT IS IT WITH THESE GUYS THAT THEY CAN’T GET THEIR SOFTWARE RIGHT THE FIRST TIME AROUND? — and because it couldn’t access a wireless connection, it hung. So I guess one thing, count it, (1), didn’t go totally wrong today.)
Finally I get in to see the doc. He’s an old guy, gringo but to my delight fluent in Spanish and not the least bit afraid of bureaucratic rules forbidding discussion of health-care issues in the native language of “illegals.” I like him, though I question his skills as an up-to-date diagnostician.
He decides I suffer from episcleritis and keratitis and recommends, in addition to four daily doses of prednisone drops, a hefty round of Motrin. I point out that in the ton of paperwork they made me fill out is mention of my allergy to the active ingredient in Motrin. He is dismayed to learn I am allergic to NSAIDs in general, since that is the mainstay of what he regards as the treatment for whatever I have.
By the time I escape his office, it’s two p.m. and I’ve had nothing to eat all day. I’m hungry. I take the Rx for prednisone and head for the pharmacy at my favorite Safeway, figuring I can pick up some food and a couple of foamydelicious canned beers to ease my general angst.
At the Safeway pharmacy, I encounter not a pharmacist but an assistant whose backwoods English is so illiterate as to draw notice, even here in lovely inland Arizona. After making me stand in line and then making me stand around some more while she figures out who I am and how to serve me, she announces that the pharmacist is on break and I should come back later this afternoon for the eye drops. I say I am tired, hungry, and in pain, that I have no intention of waiting half the day to get some prednisone eyedrops that no doubt are sitting on their shelves, that I can’t see to drive anyway, and that I want the prescription back so I can take it to the Walgreen’s across the street.
I practically have to throw her down on the floor and wrest the prescription from her fat, sweaty fist to get it back from her.
Having achieved this, I proceed across the street, where the pharmacist forks over the eyedrops in about 30 seconds.
Starved, I stick some frozen sweet-potato fries in the oven and defrost a tiny piece of steak to throw on the grill. The steak is freezer-burned. Defrost another tiny piece from a newer package; cook both so as to feed the substandard piece to the dog. Phone rings. SDXB. Can’t make him understand that as soon as I’m finished eating and drinking myself into a well deserved stupor, I’m going to bed. He keeps saying he’ll call me back after I have time to eat.
Administer prednisone, which requires lying down with eyes closed, while listening to SDXB talk. Get off the phone. Fix breakfast/lunch/dinner; overcook steak. Pained eye is so dilated it looks like the eye of an excited cat at midnight. Can barely see through it.
Decide to STET the appointment with the other eye quack on the 14th, since I suspect the old guy gave me a cursory look and had no clue what he was talking about but instead made a quick guess — particularly since I have exactly zero symptoms of keratitis and because he speculated the thing was some sort of allergic reaction, a theory that makes little or no sense. If there’s an improvement over the next day or two, bueno, I’ll cancel. But if not, at least I’ve got a foot in another door.
Never did get to take a nap. It’s almost 6:00 p.m. If I go to sleep now, which I desperately want to do, I’ll be awake at 10 p.m. and that will be that. Dog hasn’t had her evening feast, anyway. Eyes hurt.
Entire day has shattered into tiny shards like a wine glass dropped on the kitchen floor. I have gotten NOT ONE THING done.