John Kauffman Unplugged
WARNING: SOME OF THE DIALOG HAS BEEN EMBELLISHED FOR THE SAKE OF ENTERTAINMENT. THE AUTHOR TAKES LITTLE FOR GRANTED, AND HOPES THAT YOU ALLOW HIM LICENSE TO USE THE WORD ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ IN THE BROADEST SENSE POSSIBLE.
It was two years ago… An eye doctor told me I had “dry eye”. He advised me that there were two “drains” in your eye, and that plugging one of them would help keep them “wet” by decreasing the tear outflow. I remember asking him at the time: “what happens if the plugs fall out?”
“Then they fall out.”
Yesterday my eyes were driving me crazy. If you suffer from allergies then you may know what I’m talking about. My eye itched like there was a parasite burrowing in the soft tissue in the corner. There was no parasite, just a little silicone plug. I get home and look at me eye up close in the mirror. Is that a tiny mushroom growing from the corner of my eye? NO, ITS THE PLUG BOSS, THE PLUG!
I’m sitting in the lobby of the “Doctor’s Walk-in Clinic”. I’m the last one waiting, twenty minutes from closing. The nurse calls me back.
Nurse: “What seems to be the problem?”
Me: “Well, two years ago my eye doctor inserted silicone plugs in my eyes to prevent the flow of tears away from my eyes – to keep my eyes from drying out. I think one of them is coming out and irritating my eye.”
Nurse: “….” (otherwise known as the blank stare)
Me: “Did I just grow horns?”
Nurse: “I think you’ll have to explain that one to the doctor. I’m not sure what to write here.”
Doctor (walks in): “What seems to be the problem?”
Me: I explain it again.
Doctor (moves away from me, his hands in the air, a look of fear in his eyes): “….”
Me (helpless): “….”
Doctor: “I’m not going to touch that with a ten foot pole.”
He leaves me in the room. On his way out he tells me I need to go to the ER and seek more specialized treatment.
I walked in a patient. Those moments in the examining room all anyone saw was a plaintiff. I did not pay on my way out. They didn’t ask either.
I go to the ER. I’m really happy about going to the ER. I have a theory about ERs. Too many people seek treatment from the ER. Too many problems can wait for a family practitioner. This problem is fixed, in part, by making the wait almost intolerably long. People get the idea that it’s going to be a long wait if they go, so they don’t go unless its really an emergency.
I’m on my last chapter of Russian classic “War and Peace” when the “certified physician’s assistant” comes in to see me. I give him the scoop. He tells me he’s never heard this one before. I tell him silently that this is not comforting. Just how many patients appreciate hearing that the medical professional has absolutely no practice treating their problem? “Wow! That one’s a new one for me! Nurse, get me some forceps and the sharpest thing you can lay your hands on. Oh, and tell Biff we need a hand in exam room six.”
O.K., here’s what really happened. The “certified physician’s assistant” came in, I told him my story, he said he never heard that one before, he takes a look, says “yep, I’ll be damned, there it is. I need to call the opthamologist on call and get right back with you.”
I’m reading about Jean Valjean catching up with Cossette just as the “certified physician’s assistant” comes back. “I’m just going to give you a quick eye exam. I’m going to put some drops in your eyes. It’s not going to be pleasant, but it should only sting for 30 seconds.” “Holy shit”, I’m thinking to myself. My muscles tense as the “certified physician’s assistant” approaches with the dreaded drops. My head goes back. The “certified physician’s assistant” brings the drops up to my eyes. He squeezes the bottle and a drop forms. Time slows to a crawl as the drop slowly swings from the bottle. The drop breaks free and falls towards my eye. It makes contact and all hell breaks loose. Scooping my eye out with a small plastic children’s spoon would have been less painful. The “certified physician’s assistant” looks on knowingly as I writhe in discomfort. My hands raise to my face, but do not make contact – as if they are poised to catch my head if it falls off. He pulls out the eye exam equipment and does his best impersonation of an eye doctor. He determines that there is no damage to my cornea and calls for the “senior physician on staff”. Mr. ER arrives, dressed in his best pair of blue ER pajamas. Mr ER and the “certified physician’s assistant” crowd in front of my face to get a look. Some say I’ve got a big head, but it’s not so big that two grown men can get in front of it. A Laurel and Hardy movie breaks out, until the “certified physician’s assistant” remembers whose turn it is and backs off.
The cry goes out “IT’S NOT THERE! IT FELL OUT ON IT’S OWN! I WON’T HAVE TO TEMPT THE GOD OF TORTS PULLING IT OUT! I’M FREE!”
It is Saturday, the day after. I’m in a car now, barreling into the depths of hell. You know it as Disney World. My eye feels better.
It’s later Saturday. It wasn’t so bad (re: hot). What else can I say about Disney world that you haven’t experienced or heard about already? What about my eye? All is well, as good as new.