Friday, October 22, 2010

Inappropriate And, Frankly, Baffling Anger

I really hate going to the eye doctor.
A lot.
When I know I have to go there, it seriously ruins my entire day, and when I am there, I'm incredibly surly, abrupt, and really rather rude. I do what I can to make it as clear as possible that I don't want to be there and that I want to leave as soon as possible, if not sooner.
Frankly, the level of pure, seething hatred I feel is kind of baffling, even to me.
There isn't any one thing about being there that sets me off, but rather a bunch of little things.

1. Tick-Fucking-Tock
Problem number one is that it takes forever. Just getting there is bad enough, as it involves driving, and anything that involves driving even the shortest distance in Northern Virginia takes about a thousand times longer than it ought to take. And then when I am there, I typically have to sit and wait. And wait. And wait. It's worse when it's an actual Gentle Molding check-up, as I have to sit and wait with my lenses in and my eyes closed for at least a half an hour before actually starting the exam, but even today, when all he needed to do was take a quick look at my eye and at my lenses to make sure there wasn't anything on them that would cause the problem I had, I sat and waited for nearly an hour. How nearly? 52 minutes.
I considered walking out and telling them to call me on my cell phone when they were ready, but even at my surliest there are limits to how impolite I can manage to be.
In general, I hate any kind of demand on my time - especially when I'm not only not getting paid for it, it's actually costing me money - so the delays don't help improve my mood. And it's not the point that I wouldn't be doing anything worthwhile with my time anyway; the point is that it's my time, and if anyone's going to waste it, it's going to be me.

2. Chaos Theory
The place is always a chaotic mess. There are typically three to four people working there in addition to the doctor, and even when there aren't any other patients, they're always running around frantically and trying to do a dozen different things at once, and no one seems to know what anyone else is doing.
For example, today, shortly after I got there, one of the - five - girls working there took me over to check my pressure. That's the thing where they blow air in your eyes. (As an aside, I fucking hate that. I turn into a total spaz Every. Damn. Time. There's just no way to prepare for it. I'm like that cat in that old Warner Bros. cartoon that would jump up onto the ceiling when the puppy would sneak up behind him and bark.)
So she checked my pressure, I had my customary involuntary fits, and then I went back to waiting.
20 minutes later one of the other girls called for me and pointed in the direction of the machine and told me to have a seat.
Me: What for?
Her: I'm going to check your pressure.
Me: The other one already did that.
She apologized for not being aware of it - most likely prompted by the way I'd responded through gritted teeth - and then apologized again. Feeling bad about having been so angry towards her, I tried to say, good-naturedly, "I just didn't feel like getting blasted in the eyes again." I didn't succeed so much with the "good-naturedly" part.
Beyond that, at least half of the time they don't even know why I'm there, and have to ask me. What the hell do you keep in those files? Because clearly they aren't any sort of records of anything.

3. The Hustle
Every time the doctor finds something that requires a follow-up, it feels like a naked cash grab. This suspicion is exacerbated by hearing the girls doing all of this upselling to other patients while I'm sitting there waiting. It's like being on a used car lot or something. Everything about the place seems geared towards squeezing out every last penny from rubes like me.
On top of that, while most of the time I'm happy with the results of the Gentle Molding, the whole thing was seriously misrepresented to me in terms of how it would work and how much it would cost. At this point, I've spent much more than it would have cost to get LASIK done.
That's something that I'm actually considering at this point, as the Gentle Molding costs are only going to increase year after year.

4. The Broken Record
Every time I'm there I have to hear the same things over and over again. First, there's the video about various eye conditions - along with patient testimonials - playing on a TV in a constant loop. It never changes, and I can't seem to tune it out. It's all "Punctal Occlusion" this, and "Presbyopia" that, and that same damn kid - three different times - talking about how he couldn't see the big "E' before Gentle Molding and now he can see down to the 20/20 line.
Then there's the doctor himself, who has to explain and re-explain the same things over and over again as if each visit is my first. The worst was when I went in for my first check-up this year and had to tell him about the Diabetes, and he gave me this whole lecture on how important eye care is for diabetics. "Oh, really? Gee, I didn't know anything about this life-altering disease that I have. My physician, an Endocrinologist who's specialized in Diabetes for over 40 years didn't bother to tell me any of this!"

*Sigh* And the worst part is that even when it's over, I just can't seem to let it go.
The only bright spots are that I don't have go back until February (Note: Dammit, February isn't far enough away.) and that I can finally go back to wearing my lenses and stop wearing these stupid glasses.

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