My dad showed up three hours later, and we set off to the eye doctor. I was now able to open my eyes for longer segments of time without wanting to die, but only while wearing my darkest pair of sunglasses.
Once we got there, I had to fill out two pages of paper work. Naturally.
Fortunately, it was no longer a breathless Baywatch type of scenario, but more of an I’m-on-the-top-of-Mount-Everest-and-its-constantly-much-harder-to-breathe type of situation. Honestly, it was much harder to endure listening to the people on The Chew talk about puddings as I waited for half an hour with my eyes closed.
I opened my eyes to see a woman holding my chart, beckoning me to follow her. I stood up and walked towards her.
“Wait, Linda,” said one of the girls behind the desk. Then she whispered something to Linda, which I could not hear. Apparently, your other senses don’t become super-heightened.
Linda told me to take a seat in the waiting room again, which worried me. I heard muffled discussions taking place behind the desk and saw my folder being passed around, which also worried me.
Ten minutes later, Linda called me back up to the desk. Two other ladies stood there with her as she informed me that my insurance would not, in fact, cover my visit to their office. I knew this had happened to my friend in the past but didn’t think it would ever happen to me. My friend had a heart condition that he thought was covered by his insurance but then he found out they didn’t cover some of the expenses. He was luckily able to afford the bills but got a critical illness insurance quote and took out the best policy so he wouldn’t have this happen to him again.
Anyway, I took off my sunglasses. I gazed at them with teary eyes, explaining that I was referred to them specifically by my insurance. I went on to describe my morning and how I found myself in their office. I might have added a puppy-dog face. But it was one of those rare puppy-dog-face moments where it was a real, true, and genuine puppy-dog-face.
It was just one of those days.
When I was done, they looked at me as if I had just recounted The Notebook, Titanic, and the first five minutes of Up all at the same time. If they had a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, I’m certain they would have offered me a spoon.
Then they went to bat for me.
They got back on the phone with my insurance, passing the phone around and taking turns frustratingly attempting to communicate with whoever was on the other line.
There was conversation about routine check-ups versus emergencies. I took the opportunity to explain to them the fact that the representative from my insurance did not laugh at my joke earlier that morning when I told her that I could not open my eye and that it certainly was not a routine checkup.
“You aren’t going to let us help one of your customers in need?” Linda asked, angrily. “This young man needs help!”
By the end of the debacle, the doctor himself was standing in the lobby, listening to what was going on. He had no other patients to attend to.
Dejectedly, Linda finally handed me the phone after going as far up the chain as she could. The representative informed me that the closest place I could go was either an hour south or an hour west to a different eye doctor.
And that, my insurance representative told me, was that.
It isn’t in my nature to make a scene, and I was tired anyway, so I handed the phone to my dad, who was eagerly awaiting his opportunity to voice his displeasure.
Then we ventured west.
* * *
Every month, when I get my credit card statement, I say “Holy shit, someone must have stolen my credit card!”
But then I see that the high balance is once again due mostly in part to my monthly health insurance payment.
While it is always a relief that my credit card did not get stolen, it is still a monthly double punch to the gut. One, that I don’t have a full-time job that pays for insurance. And two, that I am leaking such a large amount of money every thirty days for something I never use.
So it felt especially good that my insurance came through for me the way that it did when I finally needed it.
When all was said and done, I finally got to see an eye doctor just before 6 PM – twelve hours after this terrible day started.
Her office was five minutes away from my parents house.
I’m not sure exactly what the medical term is, but apparently as I took my contact out the night before, I pinched away some of the protective coating from my eye.
Don’t worry, though. I didn’t lose my eye, as my mom foreboded.
My eye is completely fine now, except that it does this weird thing where it tears up when I hear “Someone Like You” by Adele. It is very strange that it happens every time, but it is undoubtedly a side effect of my scratched eye.
It also hurts when it happens to see Nicholas Cage’s acting or when it accidentally catches a glimpse of Snooki in general.
But I’m fairly certain that everyone shares in that particular pain.