Saturday, September 3, 2011

Angiogram or Wine Flight

    One hot summer day, when the temperature rose to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, my retired husband grew tired of watching the "End of Days" marathon and "Alien Invasion" shows on the Discovery Channel and decided it was the right time to cut down a few trees on our property.  I was unclear if he was preparing for the Apocalypse or just getting an early start on stacking firewood for the winter.   I felt that his motivation was mixed somewhere between the two.   "Shark Week"  and "Nostradamus Predictions" had just ended the week prior and that left me with a swimming pool that was especially crystal clear and predator free.   I don't question what drives this man and have learned to simply look for the benefits in it.   The "End of Days" program always leaves my pantry stocked with food for at least ninety days.  Why would I complain? Unfortunately,  this summer has brought record heating temperatures (surely predicted thousands of years ago) and this was no time to work outside in the heat.  My husband came in dripping of sweat and was red as a beet.  I made the comment that he should cool off because he looked like he was about to explode.  Seems I may have been onto something as we were completely unaware of the small stroke occurring in his eye.   There was no pain, just a sudden blurry spot in his vision.   

    After consulting with his friends, none of which are eye doctors, and allowing me to do some home surgery in his eye, he landed at an eye specialist.  As the elevator doors opened into this office of soft lighting and many patients lined in a row,  I knew we had entered a whole new world as foreign to us as a fluorescein angiogram.  You have to realize that my husband believes that most all illnesses can be treated with aspirin and sunshine and has not been to the doctor in many years.   He immediately clashed with the intake nurse who asked, one too many times, which eye was having problems.   As he stared at the giant E on the wall and was unable to see it, it was obvious which eye had a problem.  The situation spiraled downward and I'm certain his chart was flagged with a note, "Proceed with Caution" or "Stick a Needle In His Eye!"   We waited in the "dilation room" which reminded me of the green room at the Limelight, a popular dance club and bar of the 80's.   It was soothing and dimly lit.  I wondered if a hostess would appear in a green mini-skirt asking if I needed another Vodka Collins because I was too young in the 80's to appreciate the difference in well and call drinks.   A nurse came around the corner and greeted a quiet, elderly woman sitting in the back of the room with a salutation I never want to hear... "Hello there.  Are you ready to get your eye lasered?" making it sound like a fun party game.   My reply would have been a very clear, "No."    Instead, the woman rose from her seat and began the long walk down the darkened corridor.  I looked again for the hostess with vodka.    

    Before long, we had relocated to another tiny, dark room.  The doctor came in and was all business.  After a thorough evaluation, he left the room and returned with this statement:  "You've had a stroke in your eye.  The damage is irreversible.  We're going to shoot some dye in there and take some pictures." This was followed with a regurgitated set of statistics about how many people don't suffer a severe allergy from this or die.   It was less than comforting and I wished we were back in the green room, possibly even the one in the 80's, wearing our silver threaded disco clothes.   I knew the way my husband's deductive reasoning process worked and if the damage could not be repaired, it made no sense to continue to assess the problem.  He opted out of the eye angiogram and selected a red wine flight at a nearby cafe.  After three glasses of wine, his skin was flushed with new blood flow and a warm goodness coursing through his veins.  This was his prevention plan for future vascular events.   I have to agree that a nice Cabernet Sauvignon was much better than a serving of fluorescein dye.   

    We'll take a few days to digest all of this new information and map out a proper plan of action that might actually be covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Until then, we'll keep the wine flowing and hope the ocular veins are doing the same.  

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