I trailed Dr. Jordan down a short corridor and through an open door. He motioned with his hand for me to sit in a blue vinyl exam chair. Two arms extended from the chair, one with a light on the end, and another with a black device I recognized but couldn’t name – it reminded me of a many-eyed metal mask. A small table also attached to the chair and held what looked like a microscope, and in another corner of the room, an angled table held a monitor and several other contraptions.
I stepped onto the foot rest and sat. He squatted on a rolling stool that fit neatly under a small desk, and he faced a computer monitor with his right side toward me. He pulled a keyboard toward him and tapped the mouse to wake up the screen, which flashed with a blue chart. Then he rolled to face me.
“Now,” he said. “Tell me, how can I help you today, Liz?”
“Thanks, Dr. Jordan. Well, I would like a new pair of glasses and a prescription.”
“Okay,” he said, “I can help you with that. Are you interested in contacts as well, or just glasses?”
I smiled. “Just glasses,” I said. “I haven’t worn contacts since high school.”
“Alright,” he said, turning back toward the computer and making a note, the keys clacking under his fingers. “When was your last eye appointment?” he said.
“Probably 18 months to two years ago… I can’t remember for sure. I’m due for a check-up,” I said. Another note in the chart.
“Do you smoke?” he said.
“No,” I said. A click of the mouse.
“Drink?” he said.
“Like 2-3 times a week,” I said. Tapping keys.
“Are you taking any medications or drugs?” he said.
“Nope,” I said. Tap, tap.
“Any health problems at all?” he said.
“Not that I know of,” I said. Tap.
“Alright, well, let’s get started then,” he said, turning back toward me.
“Also, there’s something else I wanted to ask you about. I’m not sure if it’s anything, but…” I took a breath, “I seem to have developed a cloud in the center of my vision in my right eye.” There. I had said it.
“Hm,” he said, frowning. “We will have to check on that. Tell me more about it. When did you start to notice it?”
“Well, it’s hard to say… The optometrist I saw last took photos of the back of my eye with a special imaging machine, and he said my eye looked completely healthy. I don’t think I noticed anything before a couple of weeks ago, but my lenses are all scratched up, so it’s hard to tell for sure,” I said.
“Do you have any history of eye issues?” he said, glancing back toward the computer to see if I’d mentioned anything on the intake form.
“No,” I said, “I mean, I’m near-sighted. I’ve worn glasses or contacts since I was fourteen. But I haven’t had any eye injuries or anything else come up.”
“How about in your family?” he said.
“No,” I said. “I think my grandmother may have cataracts – my mom’s mom.”
“Well, grandma wouldn’t be likely to cause any genetic issue for you,” he said, looking hard at the carpet, then back at me. “Do you have any floaters?” he asked.
“Uh…what do you mean?” I said.
“They are shapes that float in your vision,” he said.
“Like when you close your eyes after looking at bright lights and dots flash in your eyes?” I said.
“No,” he said, sitting up straight in his stool and waving his hands from side to side to illustrate: “For example, I have floaters: mine are just small clear dots, and when I look up, they’ll move upward, and if I look another way, they’ll follow me and stay pretty much in the same spot in my eye. Anything like that?”
“Probably not. I don’t think so. But I’m not really sure,” I said.
“Okay…” he said. “Well, hopefully it’s nothing. Let’s take a look.”
To be continued…
This post is part of my “Through A Mirror Dimly” series about a health issue I’ve been experiencing. I’m telling this story through the season of Lent as a way to make sense of the ways that my own suffering teaches me about the suffering of Jesus Christ.
I also invite you to engage with your own suffering through this series: how does your personal pain illuminate the suffering of Jesus for you? And what can your pain teach you about the life of faith?
If you have any thoughts to add, comment below!