For years, the Goose has been saying she needed glasses. Now, before you get all judgey with me, realize, I’m the mother. I usually know what my kids need, and I was 99.9% sure my daughter did not need glasses. She never showed any of the signs that would tell me her eyes were not great. So, for years, I’ve been putting off going to the eye doctor. Part of the time, I was putting it off because we had no insurance and no money, and part of the time, I just got busy with life and forgot. (I know I’ve burst your bubble…now you know I’m not a perfect parent. Shocker.)
Finally, the planets all aligned correctly, and we had insurance at the same time I actually remembered to call and make an appointment with the eye doctor. The Goose had been saying for weeks, “Is that sign (book, TV, ____ you fill in the blank) blurry to you? It’s blurry to me.” I was pretty sure it was an act, but I decided I’d better have her checked, just in case.
The Goose and I went on a Friday afternoon to the eye doctor. On the way there, we talked about the “air blowy thing” that blows a puff of air into your eye. I had assured her it would not hurt, but she insisted she did not want it done. I told her not to panic and that we would talk to the doctor about it. After all, I had no idea what the purpose of it even was, so I could not say for sure whether she would need it or not. I had already also assured her she would not be getting her eyes dilated. I had that done once. That was a mistake. I was pretty sure having them do that to the Goose on her first eye doctor’s visit would ensure it would be her last eye doctor’s visit. (Keep in mind that both of my child have major anxiety about all things medical. One has it worse than the other, but neither of them is comfortable in a doctor’s office.)
We got to the office and checked in. The Goose was already busy picking out her glasses as she was sure she would be getting some. I told her not to hold her breath. We did not wait long before it was our turn. The assistant was friendly enough, and she had the Goose look into a machine. I have no idea what the machine was for, but there was no pain or air involved, so it was so far, so good. Then, the assistant asked the Goose to move over to the other machine so she could blow a puff of air into her eyes. Instantly, the Goose burst into tears. I looked at her and said, “Stop it. We already talked about this.” Then, I turned to the assistant and asked what the purpose of the air was. I never actually got an answer. I told her I would prefer to talk to the doctor first, and she said that was fine. She also said the doctor could put drops into the Goose’s eyes instead. Again, the Goose started to cry. At least we knew her tear ducts were working properly.
A few minutes later, the doctor called us back. Although I had written the Goose’s nickname on the forms along with her full name, and although the assistant had managed to call her by her nickname, the doctor did not. He called her by her full name. By the time we had reached his office, he had called her by her full name (the one she gets called when she is in trouble) three times. I nicely (Honest! I was still being nice at this point!) said, “Oh, you can call her by her nickname. That’s what we call her.” He shrugged and said, “Whatever.” Then, he called her by her full name. Strike one.
Now, allow me to interject here that, if I actually knew the doctor’s name, I would not hesitate to name him in this blog. I would not change his name to protect the innocent. He does not deserve that courtesy. Yes, it was that bad. However, he never showed the professionalism of introducing himself, so I have no idea who the man was.
Let’s just call the doctor, Dr. Dishtowel, because he had as much personality as a wet dishtowel. Dr. Dishtowel began running through the typical, “Does this look better or does that look better?” “How about this or that?” “Now this or that?” questions. By the way, I hate those questions. I’m always afraid if I don’t pass, I will end up wearing Coke bottle glasses for the rest of my life. But, this isn’t about me. I wasn’t the one answering. I was the one sitting in the corner, getting more and more angry.
Dr. Dishtowel was a jerk. There’s no nice way to say it. He just was. He moved in a rushed manner. He was brash, harsh, abrasive and just rude. My Goose kept looking at me as if to say, “Save me…” I had to chuckle to myself as I realized she probably wouldn’t insist on going to the eye doctor again for a very long time.
When Dr. Dishtowel finished his robotic examination of her eyes, he said her eyes were perfect. He told me the Goose’s eyes had probably the best vision of any he had seen all week. I resisted the urge to say, “I told you so.” I figured I’d save that little tidbit for later.
Dr. Dishtowel began writing in the Goose’s chart. As he wrote, he said, “Oh, I see we were not able to put the puff of air in her eyes. I’ll have to put drops in her eyes instead.” And with that, you guessed it, the tear ducts began working again. I calmly said, “Can you please talk to me about the purpose of the drops?” He snidely said, “The purpose is, it’s part of the exam.” Strike two.
I said I understood it was part of the exam but I wondered what purpose it served. He said he did not understand why I was questioning him or why it was a big deal. I said, through gritted teeth, “That’s the big deal,” as I indicated for him to look at the Goose. Dr. Dishtowel looked at the Goose, and then what he did next is what still makes my blood boil.
Dr. Dishtowel began a rant that went something like this: “You’re crying? Why are you crying? Why is she crying? She shouldn’t be crying. Is this normal? Does she always cry like this? Does she have some kind of anxiety disorder? Have you taken her to a psychiatrist about this? If not, you should. This isn’t normal. Crying isn’t normal. Really. Is there something wrong with her? Does she have a disorder?” Strike THREE!
I said, as calmly as I could muster, “There is nothing wrong with my child, but thank you so much for suggesting that there is, and thank you even more for saying it right in front of her. That’s definitely going to decrease her anxiety. Thank you very much. “(You idiot…Okay, I didn’t say that part, but it was implied.)
Then, Dr. Dishtowel said, “Well, I am so sorry. I did not mean to cause this. I’m just doing my job. I didn’t mean to upset anyone, but obviously I did.” (Yay think, moron??) “After all, I’m just the eye guy. What do I know? I mean, I only went to school for this, but you must know better. It’s a normal part of the exam, but it wasn’t supposed to make anyone cry. I’m just so sorry. I think you need to get out of my office now. I’m sorry I caused this. I’m just the eye guy.”
Honestly, people. I’m not making this up. You can ask the Goose. She watched the whole thing, wide eyed, waiting for Mama Bear to rip this man’s face off. I managed to get out without hurting him. Honestly, I was so shocked by the whole scene that I did not have time to respond. The only thing I managed to say was, “Well, you’re the one who said her eyes were perfect. I don’t see a reason to put drops in perfect eyes.” I don’t think he heard me though, because he was so busy saying how he was “only the eye guy.”
To say the visit was bizarre would be an understatement. The Goose and I got to the Suburban and just sat in quiet for a minute. Then, my first words were, “What. The. Heck. Was. That??” We both laughed. Then, I reminded my dear, sweet Goose that if she didn’t trust me, who could she trust? It was a little over-the-top for her to cry when Dr. Dishtowel said he was going to put drops in her eyes. If she knew me at all, she should know there was no way I was letting that man put anything in her eyes. I also reminded her that, in the future, instead of crying, she should speak up, and that it was okay for her to speak up when it involved her own body. Hopefully, she heard me. All I know is, she will never have to speak up to Dr. Dishtowel again. -Al