Yesterday was my annual dilated eye exam. I woke up and was pleased to see that it was an overcast morning and hoped it would continue into the afternoon… It didn’t.
When I arrived in the ophthalmology department for my appointment, I noticed a service dog in the waiting area. At first, being in an optical medicine department, I thought it was someone’s seeing eye dog. It wasn’t. It was Zeke.
Zeke’s handler brought him over to meet me while I waited and I found out that he is a therapy dog. His job is “to greet people and get pet.” I have several members of my medical team in that building and had yet to meet Zeke (it’s a big facility in all fairness). I like the idea of being greeted my a happy creature with four legs and a tail… I have cats after all. I think it would be calming for some people who might be going into unpleasant appointments.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, a therapy dog was brought to my room for a few minutes. I feel like animals can sense problems in people… which is why there are so many kinds of service dogs out there. Zeke also had “business cards” that gave his stats (birthday, favorite toy, breed, handler, etc.), that’s the first time I’ve met a dog with cards!
Sam took me back for the eye exam portion of my visit. My vision prescription hasn’t changed (yay!) and he complimented my pupils… I guess he’s used to working with elderly people who have small pupils?
During the chart updating Sam asked, “did you test your blood sugar this morning?”
“Yes,” I said. “I tested just before lunch too. My latest reading was 118 and my monitor says I’m at 138 right now.” (My appointment was 2 hours after lunch.)
“Oh, okay.” Sam seemed a bit taken aback that I test more than once a day. He placed the drops in my eyes to dilate them and left.
While waiting in the dim room for the ophthalmologist, I ended up overhearing half of another patient’s exam. The patient wasn’t a quiet person. The other patient was a type 2 patient with advanced eye complications and what I overheard made my heart break. Each person’s situation is different and I won’t share the details that I wasn’t supposed to hear, but he will linger in my thoughts for awhile.
The Dr. came in t see me once the world was sufficiently blurry and blinding.
“You’re here for your annual eye check,” he said. “And you want to leave with me saying that you don’t have complications.”
“That’s the goal,” I replied. We chatted about my vision, blood sugar, a1c and eye freckle. Then he took a good look at my eyes.
“Your freckle hasn’t changed, which is good,” he told me. “Both eyes look good, there’s no signs of diabetes in them.”
Do you remember last December when I got contacts and the eye doctor found a small bleed? That’s gone and hasn’t been replaced by any new ones.
I love that my ophthalmologist says what he’s entering in my chart as he types, “Type 1, no eye complications.”
He encouraged me to keep it up and said he’d see me in a year. I left in the bright, cruel world and hunkered down in the darkness until the light hurt less.