How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wichita Optometry

 I have started going to a new optometrist in Wichita, KS (because that’s where I live now). 

A train cuts the photo in half, dried grassy plain in the foreground, bluebird sky with white puffy clouds in the background.

I miss Dr. Tod Davis. He has such a fun and delightful demeanor, cracking jokes, loving his job, loving his patients, and sometimes making quips in spontaneous German. 

I showed up at the new practice in Wichita in December during the Christmas season. I wasn’t surprised by the Christmas tree in the lobby. It was nice to see a video of the practice, with the doctors talking about their specialities. 

Having said that, I was quite overwhelmed by all the noise in the lobby. 

The front desk person was of course checking people in, having them fill out paperwork, wait to be seated, making short business phone calls to remind patients of their upcoming appointments, having brief comments with doctors who came out of their offices periodically…. Normal things for a front desk person to be doing. No problem. 

The TV to my left was on, as I said, with the short videos about vision issues and the various doctors of the practice talking about their specialty. Every now and then, there was a screen with the company motivation shown - it talked about being Christian and how their faith has motivated them to be a vision practice. I don’t really understand the correlation, and it was jarring to see this. 

My vision issues couldn’t read the whole thing quickly enough before it went off the screen. I don’t know how long the loop was, but I didn’t want to sit there and stare for like 15-20-30-40 minutes until it came back on and then wait to have it loop around again. I did see it a couple of times, but my ADHD time blindness has no concept of how long I sat there or how long the video loop was. It was jarring, and I wasn’t motivated to read it and I didn’t get out my camera to snap a photo, either. 

Also, in the same lobby, were religious carols (Silent Night, Holy Night, What Child is This? Etc.) being piped into the room on the other side of me. And, to my far right was the place where patients try on various kinds of glasses until they find one they like, then the person helping them writes the order. 

At one point, a vision therapist came out with a patient of theirs, and the patient stood there, covering one eye at a time and looking at a picture hanging on the window. She just stood there, over and over, covering one eye and then uncovering it. Over and over and over. Right next to me. It was bizarre vision therapy that I have never seen, and her vision therapist never spoke to her, just stood there, as the woman did this cover / uncover / cover / uncover and look at the picture hanging on the window. Erm, okay.

It was a LOT going on for such a small space to sit in. 

After a while, I was called back to meet my new optometrist. He looked at my chart and said, “how do you like heaven?” I am not sure how I replied. He asked me again a while later, because he knew I had moved from Virginia to Kansas. “How do you like living in heaven?” 

At the time, I wasn’t particularly liking Kansas. I was really struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation, and a boring gray landscape with no color. Still, the eye doctor persisted, “How do you like living in heaven?” 

About 4 times of this, it finally dawned on me that he meant Kansas in general. 

I asked him, “when you say ‘Heaven,’ do you mean ‘Kansas?’” And he basically said “yes,” without even looking up from his work figuring out my chart and my eyeglasses. 

I told him that I was struggling to like it. I tried to make it sound nice, though - “I just moved from Shenandoah, Virginia, and this is a big change.” I didn’t really feel like telling him how isolated and depressed I was, and how I never left my house for the most part, because of my severe anxiety. 

I asked around to other Kansas people later, “is Kansas typically referred to as ‘Heaven?’” No one had heard that before, and everyone thought it was weird that this doctor asked me this not once (which is weird), but at least 4 times. Bizarre.

I felt bewildered by a lot of the experience there. Also, some of it was helpful.

I told this doctor (as I have told so many eye doctors over the years), that my eyes hurt a lot of the time. I have constant, chronic eye pain. 

At some point, he asked me to hold my eyes open while he peered at them with a bright light. I could hardly comply. I had to blink. 

The doctor then announced to me that I probably have dry eye. He said this is what causes the pain. I asked him how he knew. He said because I had said that my eyes hurt all the time, and that when I was asked not to blink, it was hard for me and I had to blink. 

So he referred me to another doctor in the practice who specializes in Dry Eye. 

I will post about that visit in a future blog post. 

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