Had a bit of a scare yesterday, but (spoiler alert!) everything is (relatively) fine.

On Monday night, I developed a blurry area at the top of my field of vision in my left eye. Gave me a fright because anything on my left side (since that’s where my heart is) makes me panicky. I had an appointment to see my fantabulous optometrist, Dr. Mona Henri, because some years ago, I had an eye surgery that made some of my eyelashes grow right into my eye (yes, it’s as uncomfortable as it sounds), and so I see Dr. Henri every few months to have them plucked out. When we arrived, I asked Dr. Henri about the blurry area.

Dr. Henri is nothing if not thorough, so she dilated my eyes (while waiting, I worried appropriately), and found that it was something that has a very long name that I can’t remember, but is basically harmless and will go away on its own in time.

But while she was looking, she did see some vitreous hemorrhage (basically, bleeding in the back of the eye), which is caused by diabetic retinopathy. So she wants me to see a retina specialist, which Dr. Mackie was probably going to recommend anyhow, so it just moved the schedule up a bit.

Dr. Henri gave me two cards for practices in the area that focus on retina. Turns out they’re the only two in the immediate area, but I didn’t know that at the time. She recommended one over the other and explained why, which I appreciated.

When I got home, I phoned them both. The woman at the first was just as nasty as could be after I answered her very first question, which was, “what’s your insurance?” Their practice doesn’t accept my insurance, she informed me with as much disdain as she could muster. And paying out of pocket would be $450 plus the cost of any tests, she managed to say without actually adding, “which you clearly can’t afford because you’re a lesser human being.” I told her that I hoped the air wasn’t too terribly thin up there on her high horse and that she should consider a career change before I hung up.

We interrupt this report for a rant…

When people phone a medical office, they’re often scared, frustrated, and/or upset. I understand that answering the phone at these places is not an easy job because people in any or all of those states can be rude. (For the record, I was absolutely not rude until the woman on the line was a bitch to me.)

This is, however, no excuse whatsoever to treat people badly. I hope my fellow patients out there won’t accept this kind of treatment. There’s no call or excuse for it.

Should any doctors read this, I hope you’ll make the effort to know—a little covert over-listening is easy—how the people on the phones in your office, practice, clinic, or hospital are treating people. If they’re being rude, nasty, snarky, or degrading, I hope you’ll show them the door. Because surely there’s a better job out there for them, and they’re representing you. If you’re cool with them treating people poorly, you’re in the wrong profession.

Ok, back to the report…

I went back to my old friend, the Find a Doctor database on the insurance company website, and found a practice specializing in retina that’s not too far afield. I made an appointment there for April 8. This is good because that’s after my appointment on April 5 with Dr. Mackie, so I’ll be armed with the info from that appointment.

The (super nice) woman who made my appointment said I should plan t be there for 2-3 hours because they’ll want to do a bunch of tests. It’s nice to know that in advance…yesterday, I lost the whole afternoon because I wasn’t planning on having my eyes dilated, and in addition to it making it pretty much impossible to see, I’ve always had a pretty dramatic physical reaction to it (makes me sick to my stomach).

So next week is a busy one appointment-wise. Thank you for all your good wishes, concern, and comments!!