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“Eye” Do: A Humorous Look at a Visit to the Eye Doctor with a Reluctant Patient and his Wife

** Being Freshly Pressed on 1/3/12 was amazing! The number of views, comments and new subscribers has been overwhelming, in a good way.  While I bask in the glow of this 24 hour spotlight, try to respond to all of my comments and recover from the shock, I thought you might enjoy this oldie, but goody. Long time readers will probably remember this story, but I thought many of my new subscribers would enjoy it.**

More than fifteen years ago when I uttered the words “I do”, my husband and I promised each other to be there for better or worse. For my husband, when it comes to the eye doctor, it is always worse. To be fair, our eye doctor is a lovely, knowledgeable, skilled physician and her office is a pleasant environment in which to spend some time while you are temporarily visually impaired. Oregano, however, shuns all things eye related. A lifelong wearer of glasses, you would think that a visit to the eye doctor would be a routine, yearly, non-threatening endeavor. Not so for this man, for whom the mere thought of a regular office visit causes clammy palms.

Last year, after a two year hiatus from the eye doctor, he agreed to go for a routine eye exam. He had made the appointment with little trepidation, but when it came time for the exam with its many drops and extreme eye close-ups, anxiety got the better of him and he broke out in a cold sweat.  As he staggered, bleary eyed to the seat in the waiting room to wait for his eyes to dilate he began to teeter. The nurses brought him water and kept a close watch on him. He sat there trying to compose himself knowing he was only half way through his ordeal. After surviving the exam, he arrived home weary, sweaty and fully dilated. While recounting his reaction we both laughed thinking about what they must have marked in his chart.

Less than a year after that experience, the memory still fresh in his mind, Oregano found himself with an eye related problem. He began to feel as though he had a hair in his eye, but because of his eye squeamishness, he refused to let me look at it and didn’t investigate too thoroughly himself. Weeks passed with him rubbing his eye claiming that the hair was still there, but refusing to flush his eye with any drops.

In the ensuing weeks since the hair took up residence in his eye, I began to notice a problem with my own eyes: I needed to move books further and further away to be comfortable when reading. At first I thought these were random isolated incidents occurring with books with small text. However, after several weeks of regularly craning my neck backwards while outstretching my arms, I was forced to abandon my denial. Despite not yet being 40, I was probably going to need bifocals. Unafraid of the eye doctor, I scheduled an exam for myself.

While waiting for the date of my eye appointment, Oregano’s eye rubbing grew more frequent and he complained of sensitivity to light. Pleading with him to see the eye doctor was fruitless so I assured him that going blind was not a way to guarantee getting a dog for a pet. Reluctantly, he agreed and made an appointment. I promised to go with him for moral support and physical restraint if necessary. I also suggested that he enlist the assistance of the pharmaceutical industry and take a Xanax. On the dreaded day, I drove us both to the doctor’s office not quite sure which one of us would be better suited for driving home; me with my eyes dilated to the size of nickels or him in a post panic attack state, but we were in this together – for better or worse.

Oregano really held it together for the initial phase of the exam. It wasn’t until the doctor saw the miniscule piece of metal, not hair, in his eye that she uttered the word “remove” which struck fear in his heart. Before he knew what happened she had dropped a drop in his eye and departed saying she’d be right back.

In the few moments she was gone he looked forlornly in my direction and said, “Remove? Remove what? Why does she need to remove it?”

“Relax,” I said trying to keep him calm. “She’s going to remove the metal, not your eye.”

“It feels better already since she put the drops in. Can’t I just have more of those drops?”

I tried to reassure him, “The reason it feels better is because those were numbing drops. Once the PIECE OF METAL is removed from your eye, it will feel better.”

Always the analytical thinker, Oregano posed this idea, “If it’s metal, can’t she use a magnet to draw it out of my eye?”

When the doctor returned to the room he shared his clever suggestion. She got quite a laugh as she withdrew a long, pointy, metal object out of a sterile pouch. In Oregano’s defense, I would not have wanted to see this sharp stick coming directly at my eye either, but leaving a piece of metal on his cornea was not an option. I held my breath as she worked hoping Oregano wouldn’t move his head and skewer his eyeball during the procedure. The doctor worked quickly and removed the tiny piece of metal no bigger than a grain of sand. She was describing the eye drop regimen he would need to follow for the next week when Oregano grew pale and the sweating began. A few deep breaths, a cold compress and some reassuring words seemed to calm him down enough to move out of the “torture chair”, as he referred to it, to the “spectator’s chair.”

Then it was my turn.  I said, “Let me show you how it’s done.”

As I calmly sat through my eye exam without incident or any adverse physical effects, Oregano sipped cool water and took deep breaths in the corner of the room. It wasn’t until the doctor stated that I did, indeed, need bifocals that my heart skipped a beat. I knew it was coming. There is only so long you can blame the font size or the length of your arms, before you must accept reality, even if the reality fairy is a few years too early.

After treating my weary, yet brave, husband to his co-pay and heading out into the gray, rainy evening with my sunglasses on, we arrived at Lenscrafters to share in this big life moment: purchasing my first pair of bifocals, or rather, the more politically correct term, “progressives.” Feeling better after his ordeal,  Oregano enjoyed commenting on the fact that he is older and doesn’t yet need bifocals. As I sat close to the mirror staring at potential new eyewear through dilated eyes while coming to terms with reaching this inauspicious milestone, my husband sat patiently by my side. There, for better or worse, he told me that the glasses I had chosen looked beautiful with my gray hairs.

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

43 responses »

  1. Do you how you see a picture and then it becomes a memory you mistakenly feel you’ve experienced? I feel like I was there with you and Oregano. Well done!

  2. Parprika—What are the odds of us being Freshly Pressed together? I feel such an intimacy with you now 😉 Congratulations and enjoy the ride!

    • Maybe the powers that be were hanging out in our little corner of the blogosphere – if there is a corner in a sphere. Two Jersey girls getting pressed together – we should have t-shirts made. Congratulations to you too. It’s a really fun ride. I love your posts and you’ve always been so supportive and encouraging to me. Hey, at least something good came out of your son breaking his wrist and getting a concussion.

  3. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. You deserve it.

  4. This is one of your funniest stories. I still laugh when I remember how that visit went. Actually, I don’t remember much since I was about to pass out the whole time. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know I was absolutely terrified when I heard the word “remove.”

    My co-workers were amazed that I had waited so long to see the doctor. They would have gone after one day, and I waited a few weeks. What was I thinking?

    By the way, I agree with Blondgirl008, and I think you look sexy in your glasses. I love you no matter what’s wrong with your eyes. That should work in my favor anyway, since I’ll be more and more out of focus as I get closer to you. 🙂

  5. From someone whos mother tells me I look to serious and old with my glasses on, I can comprehend how Oregano greeted your bi-focals, uh I mean progressives

  6. Bunny Mateosian

    Thrilled that your blog is making such a hit. Look forward to every posting and your never-ending sense of humor. I get the feeling that you have thrown a pebble into a literary lake and are now enjoying the ripples you created with that little toss. Congrats on all the recognition you are getting. Well deserved! Since I am a family friend and married to an Armenian for many years, I want to give myself a “spice” nickname. One of the Armenian spices is “Kinz” (not sure of spelling) and though I am not a blood relative, I sort of feel like “kin”! So from now on, think of me as “KINZ”.

  7. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I love this story and I laughed as much today as I did the first time I heard it! While I don’t have the same issues with my eye doctor I can eyedentify with Oregano when it comes to my going to the dentist!

  8. As someone who has passed out cold watching my sister get a routine eye exam….and who has nearly passed out trying on contacts…and who has had to sedate my husband to put in eye drops…I totally appreciate this story!

    • Wow! You’ve got a whole family full of eye squeamish people. Giving Oregano eye drops is a nightmare. I have to pin him down and then he keeps closing his eyes and turning his head. It’s really quite comical. Thanks so much for commenting.

  9. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I didn’t notice until reading this, but it makes sense given the referrals I’ve gotten from your blog today.

    I love the eye story. I had a few really bad eye infections this spring and reading this brought back so many memories (documented in my post titled “My Date with Prince Charming”- not sure if you ever read that one). I don’t know if Oregano could’ve handled it.

    • Thanks, Carly. I’m so glad readers have also come to your blog via mine. I’m happy to spread some blog love.
      I haven’t read the post you mentioned, but I will soon. It’s funny that it’s titled “My Date with Prince Charming.” I had pink eye when I went on my first date with Oregano. I couldn’t wear any eye makeup for my date. 16 years later he’s still married to me, so go figure.

  10. Thanks, Papri! (Many I call you by a diminutive even though we just met?) Your blog is delightful and we newbies need to get caught up with you.

    • I seem to have been given quite a few nicknames since I adopted my pseudonym. Feel free to call me Papri. That’s one no one else has come up with yet. I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. I look forward to getting to know you.

  11. You could have titled this, “The Teacher and the Pupil.” I’m surprised that Oregano did not “lash” out at the doctor, but it was better that he kept a “lid” on his feelings. and didn’t “socket” to her. Oh well, I’d better stop this nonsense….

    Great story, but I get a little teary-eyed just thinking about going to the ophthalmologist and having him poke around so if you’ll excuse me, I’m headed for the Kleenex…..

  12. Oh Dog, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! It’s about time!

  13. My hubby refuses to go to any kind of Dr. I always have to drag him out the door. We are both eye glass wearers and I will more than likely be the one with bifocals. Nice post.

    • I wrote that story 2 years ago. He’s started to mention that he’s having trouble seeing. I think he is headed down the bifocal road and I will be there to make fun of him all the way. Pay back is Hell. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  14. I used to work for an eye doctor and it was pretty amazing how many people wanted their hand held during their visit.

  15. Ooh, this one hit too close to home! Where is that damn Fountain of Youth, anyway?

  16. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed. Well deserved!

  17. You had me at the dog part – I was all laughs after that 🙂

    Although I must say in your husbands defence, that I’m the same way with dentists – I will NOT under any circumstances go unless someone comes with me to hold my hand and promise me ice cream 😉

    Did you know that my family (this time it’s a close relation – my greatgrandfather) still holds a patent on the eye magnet today? Neat, huh?!

    Enjoy the great freshly pressed phase – I’m sure it’s exciting (did your stats go so far up, that they now look like a phalus symbol ? Cause that’s what happened to mine through your referrals 😉 )

    • So glad you enjoyed the story. I had no idea there was such a thing as an eye magnet. I won’t tell Oregano or he’ll insist on that being used if ever he has a piece of metal in his eye again.

      My stats have gone up faster than the price of gas. It’s been insane! Before being Pressed, my highest one day total was 108 and I was darn proud of that accomplishment. Now, with 7000 hits in 36 hours, my little 108 doesn’t even register on my stats bar graph. I’m so glad readers are also flocking to my blog buddies. You all deserve some blog love too.

  18. Well, Paprika, I see that you and Oregano have seen the light!

    Best wishes ,


    • Well, Rigatoni, I am awfully glad I did not have any liquids in my mouth when I read your comment or I’d be wiping it off my monitor right now. Love your choice! Henceforth, I name thee, Rigatoni.

  19. you do mean being freshly pressed on 1/3/ 2012 right?? Just messin’ with ya.
    Eyes are freaky. I don’t like Clockwork Orange, the movie because of the eyeball scene.
    My husband had to get a cyst removed under his eyelid not once, but twice. It was a little like that scene. **Shudder**
    Sorry about the glasses. Glasses are now considered hot. They make you look like a sexy librarian.

    • Oh, that scene in Clockwork Orange freaked me out too. I had to look away. Your husband’s eye doctor experience sounds awful. I won’t share that info with Oregano or I’ll never get him there again. Thanks for the comment about the glasses. I tried to pick funky frames so that I may have the eyes of an old lady, but the glasses of a sort of hip, middle aged woman.

  20. Great – I am so enjoying reading your posts. Glad you Dad and Joyce let us know about your blog. Renee neglected to let me me know. It looks like you may hit the big time soon. Good Luck with that.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Ellen. I’m glad your now in the Good Humored club and enjoying the posts. I don’t know about the big time, but I’m really happy so many people are reading and enjoying the stories.

      • Paprika: Fred and Ellen visited us this weekend and told me about your blog. It is hysterical and very well written. You need to write a book. You’ve got quite a talent. BTW, see if you can figure out who I am. Here are some clues: Mah Jongg, feasted at House of Lamm quite a few times, Fanwood 🙂

      • Thanks for your wonderful compliments and for reading the blog! I suppose I owe Ellen and Fred a commission for finding another reader for me. If you’re who I think you are, you were a shady character who introduced me to the Goodbye Girl during a slumber party.

  21. One of my favorites Paprika but we are in2012 now!


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