It's been three months since my right eyeball got the lube and filter treatment called a Vitrectomy, so I just had my final follow-up appointment this week. Dr. Steven Schwartz, Retina Hooha-in-Chief at the Jules Stein Eye Clinic in Westwood, CA, did the honors. Helluva surgeon. Helluva guy. His diagnosis coming right up, but first, this:
Most of my visit was spent in the Waiting Room from Hell. Okay, not Hell, literally. I mean there wasn't real fire and brimstone. I didn't see any actual devils, demons, or RNC officials. So let's just say it's the waiting room for Hell's Waiting Room and the hell with it. (See where I went with that? Clever, huh?)
It certainly was crowded as Hell. Wherever you looked, there were oodles of vision-challenged geezers, all hoping to complete their appointment with their eye doc before it was time for their appointment with St. Peter.
My appointment was scheduled for Noon. Doc didn't see me until 3:30. That means my wait was almost two hours plus the… no, lessee, carry the six plus the square root of, um…it was almost a nine hour delay! Excuses proffered ranged from “unscheduled surgery” to traffic on the 405, to Eliot Spitzer's wandering wiener.
Earnest administrators and student doctors updated us with an occasional, bellowed announcement that appointments were running a “half-hour late.” Any patient above the age of two knows the phrase “half-hour late” is the medical euphemism for “three-hours late.” In fact, Quantum Physicists have studied this continuum disconnect in their time travel research for years, even attempting to apply it to Goldberg's Paradigm Shift Theory. (And by “have studied” I mean “will study.” Time travel has always been confusing, and by that I mean will always be confusing.)
An informal survey (no ball gowns) of those present in the Waiting Room from Hell produced these additional lateness causational data:
(1) Jules Stein's Clinic's outstanding reputation.
(2) The overall aging of America, and concomitant eye issues.
(3) Half the patients there thought they were in the urology lab.
Ladies and germs, did I mention these people were old? On average, their age ranged from one-foot-in-the-grave to both-feet-in-the-grave. I don't want to say the other patients were older than me, but they gave me the affectionate nickname: “Out of my way, punk-ass bastard!”
Adding to the confusion, many were blind as a bat. Others were blinder than bats and brought their own seeing-eye bats. All in all, though, they were a feisty lot (the patients, not the bats). And despite the delays, many hung in there upside down without complaint (the bats, not the patients).
Speaking of feisty--some patients even came strapped. Some were armed with red-tipped fighting canes. Others swung their oxygen bottles Bolo-style to clear their paths. Several arrived pushing up-armored walkers.
Most filled the time with a sport that combined Musical Chairs and Blind Man's Bluff. Winners won the right to sit in one of the few available chairs. A producer from OF-TV (formerly “The Old Fart Channel”) was on hand to develop a reality show hosted by Donny Osmond and the late Joan Rivers.
Oh, hey, look at that, almost finished here and I buried the lede-neglecting to pass along my good news. The good news is when I did see the talented Doc Schwartz, he was ecstatic about my Peepers. He was so pleased, in fact, he fired me as a patient. He said my eyesight was now testing at “20-25” in either eye. (Before the surgery, my right eye had tested at “20-What Eye Chart?”) He said to come see him in a year or so, gave me a pat on the ass and sent me on my way.
I was so delighted with my prognosis, that before leaving, I sucker-punched an eighty-something double-cataract victim and stole his Bolo. Good times, my friends, good times.