Tactical Nuclear Weapons Replace WMD
“Hello, I’m Dr. Sandra Yong. How are you today?”
“Certainly better than I was over the weekend. This eye infection started in the early hours of Saturday morning. The pain I was experiencing has subsided, thankfully. The profuse tearing up has too and while I can now see your facial features, my vision is still blurred in both eyes, which wasn’t the case prior to the infection. My eyes have become hypersensitive to light too.”
“OK, let’s see what they look like through the microscope,” she said and then after the examination, “Well, here’s the good news; while you do have some lesions on your right eye cornea, there are none on your left eye. I’ll prescribe some eye drops to help you combat the infection and to stop further development of the lesions, lest they become perforations.”
“And the bad news?”
“There’s a lesion sitting right smack in your right eye’s line of vision, where it can cause the most damage. Its going to take weeks to heal, I’m afraid and even then, you may need a cornea transplant in that eye. Not every one does in a situation like this though, but I won’t be able to tell until your eyes have healed completely. Either way, we will make progress from where things stand now, alright?”
“Mmm hmm.” Well, just what on God’s earth happened?
“What medications are you using for your eyes at the moment?”
“None. I used to apply a drop of Symbrinza to my left eye twice a day prior to the infection. It was prescribed to help me regulate the pressure in that eye after I’d had surgery to ameliorate the exfoliation syndrome in it, but I stopped using Symbrinza after Saturday morning, because it aggravated the pain.”
“I see. I doubt that it’ll cause you any more pain, so you can start using it again. Here,” she said, pushing the completed prescription form into my hand, “You need to purchase and apply these three drops immediately. They include a broadspectrum antibiotic which is compounded by a particular pharmacy in the next block, so you’re better off going to them first. I’ll have you booked to see me again on Friday, the fifteenth, so I can assess how well you’re responding to the drops. Will that work for you?”
“You bet it will.”
“Good, if you give this slip to my assistant, she’ll appoint a time for you to come back on the fifteenth. See you then.”
“Do I need to continue on the intravenous therapy started by the Burnaby Hospital’s ER?”
“No, absolutely not.”
My son and I walked over to the pharmacy Dr. Yong had directed us to and after purchasing the prescribed drops, drove to the ER at Burnaby Hospital. I presented my Care Card to the receptionist on arrival there and started to explain that I’d just seen the ophthalmologist and her opinion was that I wouldn’t need additional intravenous therapy, but I was interrupted by a young doctor standing nearby.
“What’s your name again?” She asked.
I introduced myself and related Dr. Yong’s opinion to her, knowing as I did, that her colleague Dr. Morton had indicated the previous day that the therapy sessions would be repeated for up to five days, depending on the opinion of the ophthlamologist.
“Do come in, so we don’t have to discuss this matter out here.” She led us to an isolation chamber, offered me the seat there and said, “I’ll be back shortly.”
After quite a few minutes had passed, Dr. Morton joined us in the chamber, all suited up to attend to a patient in quarantine, which I found odd, since my son was standing in the same chamber without any protection, but whatsoever.
“Hi, you’re somewhat early today,” he said.
“I know,” I responded. “We drove here after seeing Dr. Dubois this morning and, by his referral, Dr. Sandra Yong, who’s a cornea specialist. She prescribed three different eye drops for me, including two antibiotics. She says I don’t need to continue the intravenous therapy.”
“Really? Do you have a followup appointment with her?”
“Indeed, I do. I’m due to see her again at a quarter to twelve on Friday the fifteenth.”
“Oh? Well in that case, I’ll have to remove the peripheral line on your arm,” which is exactly what he proceeded to do after pulling off his face mask. “When did you say you’re due to see Dr. Yong again?”
“About noon on Friday.”
“Well, there’s no point detaining you any further then. You have a good one,” he said, as he walked us out of the isolation chamber.
“And you,” I replied.
“Are you letting them go this soon?” the young female colleague asked him, as we made our exit from ER.
“They know what they’re doing,” Dr. Morton replied.
There’s a book-long young medic, I thought. It appeared to me, by her inflexible adherence to the rule book, that she may be a newbie to a vocation she’d chosen, but may lack the flair for. On the other hand, I just may have succumbed to a bit of uninformed conceit, as I sometimes do.
My eyesight had improved significantly by Friday and I could feel little pain in the eyes, though they remained hypersensitive to light. We arrived in the block where Dr. Yong’s clinic is somewhat early, on my request. As a result, we had time to scout for a cheaper street parking slot. It was worth our while. I directed my son to a lane where parking slots cost five Dollars an hour; a bargain which felt good to gain at the cost of the walk past two blocks.
Dr. Yong thought I was responding satisfactorily to the medications she’d prescribed, when she examined my eyes in the microscope. “Let me see you again next week, OK? Do give this slip to my assistant and she’ll let you know the date and time for your next visit. Enjoy your weekend.”
Our next visit was during the morning of December 19th, by which time my eyesight had improved some more and our anxiety over the vicious neisseria meningitidis had subsided. In large part, the war against the pathogen was over, with just a few holdouts left to be mopped up. To our surprise, Dr. Yong’s clinic was virtually empty when we arrived. It turned out that in preparation for the Christmas break, they’d retained only the most urgent cases on their calendar for that week. She again examined my eyes under the microscope after dilating the pupils, as they always do prior to such scrutinies.
“Your eyes are looking much better now. The lesion in the bull’s eye of your right cornea is healing. Now, as I mentioned earlier, some people experience a complete regeneration of tissue after such damage, but that isn’t always the case. If you do experience full regeneration, there’ll be no need for further intervention from us. Otherwise, you may need a cornea transplant. So, I’m going to have my assistant set up an appointment for you to see Dr. Morrison early next year, for a possible cornea transplant. In the mean time, the progress you’ve made so far means we can begin to tapper off your use of the medications.
“Here’s how I want you to proceed for the next month. Continue using the antibiotic eye drops twice a day for the next week and then cease using them altogether. Use the steroid drops four times a day during the same period, then three times a day during the ensuing week. Reduce it further to twice a day in the third week, once a day in the fourth and cease using it altogether in the fifth week. Let me write it all out for you.” She wrote and handed me three slips for the routine she’d just described, for notifying her assistant of my next appointment in January 2018 and for the ensuing appointment with Dr. Morrison. “Merry Christmas to you both.”
There then; the UN’s Secretary General, acting on behalf of the Security Council, had issued the predictable statement calling for an immediate ceasation of hostilities, the return of all parties to pre-existing borders and the commencement of talks leading to the exchange of prisoners, the safe evacuation of wounded combatants and a lasting peace, with regard to the brief war over my eyes. Christmas would still be possible, howbeit I’d missed deadlines for the dispatch of greeting cards, etc because of the unseasonable outbreak of war.
I walked to the neighbourhood pharmacy that afternoon for two purposes. “I’d like to return these reading glasses which I purchased four days ago.”
“Ow, is there anything wrong with them?” the Sales Associate asked.
“Nothing whatsover, but my eyesight has been changing progressively, so I no longer find these suitable.”
After that transaction was completed, I stepped up to the prescriptions counter, presented my identifying Care Card and asked the assistant, “Could you send a fax to my family doctor to ask for a renewal of the prescription for my blood pressure medication? I’ve a day’s supply only at the moment and I can’t get an appointment to see him before December 22nd, which is, you know, three days away.”
“We will and we’ll give you a call as soon as we hear from him,” she replied.
“Thanks and Merry Christmas.”
It was cold but sunny that afternoon. I took off my sunglasses momentarily and looked up at the leaves of one of the trees which shade the walkway, as I made my way home. Thank God I can see the yellow leaves fluttering in the gentle afternoon breeze again.
Its a simple pleasure I treasure, because of an association and more. One of my cherished childhood memories is of warm afternoons spent outdoors, sitting under a tree as we listened to our first grade teacher read, or tell us stories about heroic figures. The fluttering leaves mean much more to me these days, because I also view them through the prism of just what it took to build a planet which supports organic life in this vast expanse we call the Universe; an expanse in which our solar system hardly qualifies as a speck of dust, let alone its planet which serves as our home. Yet this delicate, infinitesimal Earth presents us with such stunning glimpses of beauty and always, in the offhanded manner of a masterpiece.
[To be continued …]