Keep an Eye on Your Health
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The Spectator
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 by Laramie Boyd
2014 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        I spent this morning in the office of an eye retina specialist to get approval to have a laser procedure in my right eye that had a cataract removed a while back. I brought my wife along in case I needed someone to drive me home after they dilated my eyes. My vision is getting cloudy and there is a blind spot moving around in my field of vision, so my Ophthalmologist thought I should have the eye checked out. The time spent filling out medical history forms, waiting to have my eyes tested, having the actual test, then waiting to be called into the examination room, and waiting there for the doctor to see me, and the actual conference with the doctor, all told took over one hour. I'm sure no one is content with that procedure but it's surely a common practice in the medical establishment. It is what it is.
        While my wife spent her time reading a book on her Kindle, I thought I'd spend my time just watching what goes on in a very crowded waiting room. What an interesting time that was. I'm sure the average age of the patients waiting to have their eyes checked was over 70. Some of them could only walk with a push-walker or needed a wheel chair. A few were crippled and could hardly stand and had to hold on to someone's arm. Not many were engaged in a conversation, they just seemed to be quietly lost in thought. The patients moved slowly in and out of the waiting room as their turn to fill out forms and be examined came up. The doctor's assistants were careful to accompany the folks back to their seat if it was apparent the patient needed it, or even outside to their car if walking was a problem. But most relied on someone who had come in the front door with them. Some in the group came out of the exam rooms with patches over their eyes, and they walked with an unsteady gait and gave me the impression that they wanted to leave the building as quickly as possible, arm in arm with someone. I'm sure they were more than ready to get home as fast as possible to rest. Visiting with doctors is not an easy, fun job for the elderly.
        What I realized, sitting there in that waiting room full of senior citizens who had seen better health days, was how only the old can appreciate the days gone by when they felt better, looked better, and moved better. Young people don't give a healthy body a second thought. The young think they will live forever, with all their faculties in order, feeling spry and up for any challenge that may come along. That's their birthright. Older folks just feel....well, old. And those who have their health right up to the last are the lucky ones. That's especially true for the privilege of good vision. Losing one's eyesight stands high on the list of dreaded infirmities. I'm not sure where it fits, but I'll bet it's the one of the five senses most people would not want to lose. And many of the patients I was sitting with and watching carefully probably were facing that possibility, as I thought I might be.
        When the doctor finally called me in the examination room, he quickly set up the high intensity viewer and got down to work. "Look up. Look down. Look up right, up left." He was thorough to a fault. He saw what caused the cloudiness, and felt that the blind spot crossing my field of vision would disappear when the laser did its job. He mentioned the outside possibility of a dislocated retina, a serious problem he said he could straighten out if it did occur. He said he saw no reason for me to worry about macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness if it wasn't treated. He supported the doctor who was to do the laser procedure and felt, all in all, I should have an easy go of it, but couldn't guarantee anything, as was the case with any surgical procedure.
        I consider myself one of the lucky ones, and my wife agreed. I'm in good health, my eye promises to improve, and hopefully no complications will arise. But if they do, the doctor will attend to them. I'm not speaking out for a program of making young people more aware of the unkind things old age does to the body, encouraging them to spend their days dreading the ravages of Father Time. I'm just saying let's all of us say a word of thanks, however we express that, with the memory of any good health we have had in the past, be grateful for any we have today, and hope for a minimum of health problems in the future. Only when it's gone and may not return will we really miss it. Oh how we will miss it.