My first doctor's appointment was on the 16th of May at the Illinois Eye Institute. I started the day as usual. Mother and I had discussed how I would handle work and my appointment schedule and we both agreed that coming in to work and then going to the appointment would allow me to maximize my hours (I only work an hourly temp position) and get me to my appointment on time. Even though we'd discussed the details the weekend before, the morning of the 16th reminded me of my very first overnight field trip in grade school. It was filled with questions.
Do you have your journal?
Is it up to date?
Do you have enough bus fare?
Do you have your directions to the eye clinic?
Are you sure you don't need me to come with you?
Do you need me to come pick you up?
Did you remember to get a book to read while you're in the waiting room?
Are they going to dialate your eyes?
Do you have sunglasses?
So many questions that I had to remind my Mother, the Principal of Punctuality (Read: The person who lives by the mantra"You're late if you get there 20 minutes early" ) that we were going to be late. We rushed to the car and onto the packed expressway (We were late, afterall) and she started the questions again. It was both endearing and frustrating.
I knew that she was going to be like this until my problem was resolved, she probably wouldn't sleep, her blood pressure was going to go up, she was going to have migraines all the time, and her constant questioning was going to drive me up a tree. She's like that about everything serious. If it's not right, she'll poke and prod and pick at it until it is or, at least, until she completely understands the problem, COMPLETELY. It's one of those character differences that causes more frustration between the two of us than anything. I'll say and accept, "The sky is blue, but I wish it were a little more purple. I'll draw a picture with a purple sky." She'll question "Why is it blue and how can we turn it the right shade of purple NOW, get to work on time, cook dinner, sew a glamorous evening gown, and photograph it all by 10 p.m. without killing ourselves?" It doesn't fail to whip me up into a frenzy of hysterics right along with her.
Work proceeded as normal, well as normal as possible. My mother was still emailing me periodically with questions.
I skipped lunch and boarded the CTA, following their RTA trip planner's directions to the Illinois Eye Institute and...promptly got lost. Not only was the route unnecessarily convoluted, but it placed me in an area where the buses only travel one way, which meant, there was no hope of me getting back to where I started. I ended up calling the IEI to tell them what had happened. The very nice lady answering phones was helpful and gave me step by step directions that would lead me to the clinic. I had no problems. She then wrote out directions and drew a little map to help me find my way home, in a non-judgemental, grandmotherly way. After getting lost in downtown Chicago (I have no idea why the RTA directions even included that part. I pass the IEI on my way home. Downtown is in the complete opposite direction.), having to walk fifty-eleven miles in 100 degree weather and sweating my hair out, I was fit to be tied... and I was pretty sure I smelled like a hog. So, while I waited for the doctor to finish with his other patient- who took my spot since I was late, I freshened up, worked on some jewelry.
The doctor that was handling my case- We'll call him Dr. Bright- was a nice, friendly guy in his late twenties, with a huge smile and an eagerness to help that's unheard of. He performed all the standard checks to my eyes before I interrupted him with my little journal of my symptoms. He was astounded by how meticulously documented it was, made photocopies and swore to forward them to a colleague who knew more about this stuff than he did.
Then, he performed more tests, all of which came up normal. No glaucoma, no macular degeneration, no Fuch's dystrophy. Then, he started looking in the backs of my eyes. He was like one of the main protagonists of an anime, "We're going to get to the bottom of this and save the universe!" It touched my heart and I knew that I was in good hands. ..Until he made a strange 'Oh...uhmm.' noise.
Suddenly, I became aware of how long he was studying each eye, the curious noises he was making and the subtlest twitches of his eyebrows (the only things I could really see with a big hulking back-of-your-eye-ball-seeing device strapped to my head). Having a doctor who's eyebrows are doing the samba while they're examining you is not usually a good sign. It's definitely not a good sign when he tells you, "Well, you wanna follow me to room XYZ for some more tests? Don't worry! It's nothing serious. Just a vision field test."