Eye Spy

I’ve often said that getting old isn’t for kids, nor for the faint of heart: you have to be seasoned and tough to be able to handle this aging nonsense.

Hence: eye trouble. Last year I was having trouble with my vision, so I went off to see my eye specialist — okay, opthalmololojist or whatever [10,000-word rant against medical terminology deleted] — and he gave me the good news that I have cataracts (a symptom of old age, apparently; everyone gets ’em sooner or later) which will eventually require surgery, oh joy. Also, the itching and pain in my eyes are caused by glaucoma (i.e. incurable, and eventual blindness). Oh, happy happy joy joy. The conversation then ran as follows:

Kim: So… are you going to measure me for a glass eye, or what? How do we deal with glaucoma?
Doctor: Drops.
Kim: Drops?
Doctor: Drops. Take a single drop in each eye every night, and that’ll at least reduce the pressure. Here are a few bottles to get you started — samples, no charge — and let’s take a look again in a few months. Your eye pressure is 21 [I have no idea what that means – K.] and we’ll want to get it down to at least 13 on your next visit.
Kim: Drops?

Last week was my follow-up. Good news is that the pressure is down to 11, so the doctor is happy. I am less happy because the cataract in my left eye is worsening, and will require surgery next year. Aaaargh.

My eye specialist is a good man. His old office was in a medical suite attached to a hospital so at the front door there was the usual shitty “30.06” (as we call it here, the thirty-ought-six) sign which forbids concealed carry in the building. Of course, at my first visit I forgot to de-gun in the car because Idiot Kim, and when I sat down in the examination chair I winced as the gun stuck into my back. The conversation went as follows:

Doctor: You okay?
Kim: Yeah.
Doctor: Gun got ya?
Kim: Uh… yeah. [no point in lying, he had me dead to rights]
Doctor: What are you carrying?
Kim: Uhhh a 1911.
Doctor: Cool. I’ve got a SIG 220 myself [patting his hip]. We should go to the range together sometime.

Man, I love Texas. A doctor who shoots .45 ACP… it just doesn’t get much better than this. Oh, and earlier this year he moved to his own office suite across the road: no 30.06 sign outside.


  1. Yes, growing old ain’t for sissies. While growing older is preferable, perhaps mandatory, growing up is optional.

    Don’t worry about the eye surgery; as a certified five year-old whiny crybaby candy-ass, I can tell you there’s nothing to it. I’ve had both mine done and the worst part was when they started the I.V.; that second one stung like a bastard. Best money I ever spent on myself; I went from 20/450 and 20/250 to 20/30 and 20/15 and had sharp peripheral vision for the first time in my life. I had staggered prescriptions so that I had my near vision in my dominant eye, so my front pistol sight is in clear focus. (Another first.)

    Best of all, the girls are much prettier now, and I can wear the cool sunglasses now so I’m not quite so obvious about it when I’m checking them out.

  2. Blonde goes to her doctor.

    She: Doc, I keep seeing spots before my eyes.

    Doc: Have you seen an ophthalmologist yet?

    She: No, just spots.

    Bwahahahaha! The Devil made me do it. 🙂

  3. There’s no cure for glaucoma, but the progress of the disease can be completely arrested by medication (like your drops). I was diagnosed in 2003, and my medication (latanoprost drops) has kept the glaucoma in check ever since. I wish all incurable diseases were this easy to treat.

    I also have Fuchs’ dystrophy (treatable with OTB meds) and incipient cataracts, but my eye doc says that when it’s time to correct the cataracts surgically, they can also fix the glaucoma and Fuchs’ dystrophy at the same time, along with my nearsightedness and astigmatism. It will be like getting new eyes.

  4. Don’t be alarmed when, in about 2 years, your pressures start to creep up again (incidentally 11 is terrific – “normal” range is 10-15, and eye docs like to start pressure reduction treatment – the drops – when they see 2 sequential exams at 18 or higher; 21 is definitely high). You will develop “tolerance” to the chemical mix, and your eye guy will switch you to a different drop (I’m guessing that you’re now on a 6-month check schedule for monitoring pressures). There’s also a cold laser process to open up the drainage ducts inside the eye which delivers positive effects for 2-4 years, then can be repeated (between the 2nd set of drops and the laser, I’ve been hovering at 14-15 for a couple years now). As for the cataracts, that usually turns out to be a blessing for those of addicted to thick glass in front of our eyes. I’ve known a large number of people who have gone from very nearsighted to better than 20/20, and needless to say, lens replacement resolves astigmatism issues.

  5. I love living in Texas, especially here North West of San Antonio in the Hill Country since we moved from Dallas four years ago. Even in Dallas my experience with carrying a gun was kind of like yours Kim. When I first got my CHL years ago I was carrying a Browning Hi-power in a near inner pocket in my heavy leather bomber jacket and when I went to my dentist and the receptionist took me in to sit in the dentist chair she indicated a side chair where I could put my jacket, which I did. My dentist who I liked a lot came in and told me he would hang my jacket up for me and as he lifted it he asked me what I was carrying. When I told him about my Hi-power he told me that his carry gun was a Beretta and from then on we had gun talk every time I saw him. The same dentist also told me that part of good dental hygiene was drinking one or two shots of decent Scotch over ice every evening to kill bacteria and he felt the best combination was over ice from Sonic drive inns where he would buy it by the bag to take home.

    When I go into San Antonio my urologist is an avid bird hunter and he also likes shooting a great precision rifle he had built out and he likes to show me his latest guns on phone pictures. Most all of the waiting rooms for any kind of medical or dental docs down here have gun magazines and any discussion about firearms in the home seems to be about the preference of one gun, caliber or gauge over another.

    Texas, I was visiting with our Kendall County sheriff a couple of years ago when the Washington dems were trying to mess with our guns. The sheriff told me they were nuts up there if they thought they could take our guns because all the law in Texas would be standing right beside the Texas gun owners since they are gun guys too. Last thing, our local police offer a CHL class through our parks and recreation every couple of months for a bargain price and when I helped out doing some volunteer work at the city lake I asked the head Parks guy if it was all right to carry and he told me they expected people with CHL’s to be armed.

    By the sorry about the eyes, I have friends who have been dealing with those problems and so far so good for mine but without my hearing aids I can’t hear folks talking to me worth a damn.

  6. Getting old is not for the faint of heart. But I am not in a hurry to see what is on the other side yet.

    Glad you tamed your Gout. I remember back when you figured out you had it. As to the cataracts, eye surgery is one thing the medicos seem to be doing well. We have eye clinics up here and it is in and out.

  7. Don’t sweat the cataract procedure. The wife had both eyes done last summer and it was almost a fast food drive through thing. About 2 hours in the office for the first eye, wait three weeks and then do it again. The biggest hassle is the series of eye drops post – op and Marge’s doc gave her a spread sheet that she could use to check off when the drops were done. They might try to sell you a high dollar lens replacement that they claim will “cure” close up and far away vision problems. I have pretty good insurance but the super lenses would have cost about $3000 per eye out of pocket. My “regular” eye guy who is a former neighbor, good friend, and shooter said that we’d spend the cost of a good vacation on the super lenses and Marge would need glasses anyway. He had no financial skin in the game and I trust his advice so we went with the cheaper lenses and Marge is happy.

    My urologist is another shooter. We show each other cell phone pictures of our latest toys and at my last visit we had a nice discussion about high end 1911s. I guess that sticking your finger up fat old guy’s butts pays pretty well.

  8. Another “victim” of Cadillac surgery. Great! 20/25 in both eyes. I use about 1.5 diopter el-cheapo glasses for reading. Okay, now, with iron sights.

    I don’t know current prices, but per some friends, glaucoma medicine in the US was $90/month. In Mexico, $28 for a three-month supply.

    Cen-Tex shooters, check out the schutzenverein at Grapetown, if you haven’t already found it. Fun competition!

  9. I’m on three types of drops for glaucoma, but at least it’s in check. Probably will need cataract surgery on the left eye within a year. Beats going blind.

  10. I work with an old Chinese guy.
    The doctor told him he had a cataract.
    Mr. Wang said, “No, I drive a Rincoln.”

  11. Ditto on anyone above who said not to sweat the cataract surgery. And there might be some cute nurses there to help ya out too.

    Welcome back to bloggerland. While I’m here, I’ll blame you for my opened mind and and the proliferation of .22 firearms in the house. 🙂 Thanks!

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