I thought I would return for a moment to my caregiver roots and relay a story told to me by my Mom, yesterday.
My beautiful mother has been having some vision issues lately. She had cataract surgery a few years ago and has been seeing quite nicely, even without her glasses, since then. Recently, she noticed that her eyes were watering more than usual, and since she was happy about everything in her life (and why wouldn’t she be with a daughter like me), she was pretty sure she wasn’t crying for no good reason.
She went to the eye doctor. After a thorough examination, the doctor declared my mother to have “dry eye” syndrome and also interference with her vision from droopy eye lids.
Now some people would be kind of excited about the prospect of a doctor declaring you a victim of droopy eye lids. No one wants to look like a basset hound, not even a basset hound, I’m pretty sure.
See, if a doctor will state that it is medically necessary for you to have eyelid surgery for better vision or to correct the flow of your tears, you can have plastic surgery on your eyes and your medical insurance will pay for it! My friend, Lisa, who actually noticed her drooping eye problem affecting her vision has been fighting with physicians for months now to get it fixed.
My mother was then referred to an eye surgeon to look into correcting the cataract surgery as well as the droopy eye lids.
This is how the conversation went down:
Doctor: What seems to be the problem?
Mom: My vision has begun to get cloudy on the edges and I really can’t see well.
Doctor: Well, you know, with aging we just have to accept that things aren’t perfect.
Mom (a bright woman who is indeed aware that she is 87 years old): I certainly know that by now. But I was told that sometimes with cataract surgery fluid can get behind the lens and it needs to be repaired with a laser.
Doctor: Well I don’t see that with you. I think you just need to wash your eyes real well with soap and water.
Mom looks at him like he’s a lunatic.
Doctor: Warm water, just use warm water.
Mom: I was sent to you by my eye doctor, and she saw that the cataract might have fluid behind it, so I wonder why there’s a difference?
Doctor: Well, I suppose I could do another test just to make sure.
Mom: Yes, let’s do that.
Cue Jeopardy theme song as Mom has test and waits to be called back into the doctor’s office
Doctor (with a chuckle): Well, well, well, I was certainly wrong about that!
Mom: What does that mean?
Doctor: You definitely are a candidate for the laser surgery, in fact in both eyes. But I would have to do one eye first, let it heal and then do the other eye. It’s kind of a pain to have to come back.
Mom: I’ll let you know.
Mom to me after relaying this conversation:
“First of all, (here she bursts into laughter), I don’t think I’m going to wash my eyes out with soap and water. And he didn’t even correct himself or say, “Oh I didn’t mean that!”. Second, so what if I have to come back two or three times? What else am I doing? I’m 87 years old. I would like to see!
Yesterday, my sister took her back to her eye doctor to get a new referral.
I wonder why people think age equals stupidity? I also wonder where that doctor got his medical degree and if he was last in his class. Nobody ever puts that on their wall, do they?
For more of my humor go here
Cathy is the author of Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial Caregiver