My Psycho Eye Doctor

At last, you all get to hear the long, sad, sorry tale of my psycho eye doc.

No, really – she has major issues.

And me? I’m an angel. But I’m feeling a titch ranty on the subject, so: fair warning. Pretend we’re having martinis over lunch while I regale you with this story.

As we all sadly know, one of the most difficult aspects of moving to a new place is finding new service providers. I was due for my annual eye exam sometime around February, but I put it off because I just didn’t want to deal with finding a new eye doc, too. Then, sometime around the end of May, I lost a contact lens. Just one, but it forced the issue.

I asked around, got a recommendation, made an appointment – then discovered that doc wasn’t in my network. Canceled the appointment, checked my insurance network to find five eye docs in Santa Fe, all looking equally anonymous. I picked the only woman in the group, for the sake of solidarity and having no other criteria.

I have come to sorely regret that decision.

She works only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. No, I don’t know why. I call to make an appointment and leave a voice mail. A woman calls me back saying “This is Dr. Psycho’s office. I understand you’d like to make an appointment.” Yes, please, I say, because I lost a contact lens.

“What kind of lenses do you wear – hard or soft?”

“Semi-soft, oxygen permeable lenses.”

Pause. “All lenses are oxygen permeable. Are they hard or soft?”

“Semi-soft,” I say.

Pause. “What brand are they?”

Brand? “I’ve never seen a brand associated with my lenses.”

“There’s not a name on the peel-pack?”

“I don’t know what a peel-pack is.”

“So you don’t know what brand they are or if they’re hard or soft.”

By this time, I’m thinking this is the dumbest, most passive-aggressive receptionist I’ve ever dealt with. “Look,” I say, “I started out wearing hard lenses, then eventually moved to oxygen-permeable semi-soft lenses.”

“Well, let’s just make you an appointment and we’ll see.”

At last! So we make an appointment for June 5. Please note this is nearly six weeks ago.

Ten minutes later, my phone rings. Dr. Psycho’s office again. She launches into this thing about how she really needs to know what kind of lenses I’m wearing now. Slowly it dawns on me that I’ve been talking to Dr. Psycho herself all this time.

(Yes – I’m slow on the uptake. Turns out she has no receptionist, no staff. Does everything herself in this little stark and empty office. But I digress.)

So, she concludes, what she really needs are the records from my previous eye doc. This is a simple solution so I agree. Done, request to my very efficient previous eye doc (how I miss him!) sent.

I go in on June 5. I really am trying to be open-minded. We got off on the wrong foot on the phone. Clearly our personalities don’t sync. All I want is a replacement lens, because I’m wearing one lens from 2009 and an older one from, say, 2007. When I tell her this is what I’m doing on the phone, she laughs and laughs and laughs. In kind of a creepy way.

(geez – we already blew through the first martini. time to order another round?)

She does my exam. At this point I should mention that I’ve been wearing glasses since I was nine and contact lenses since I was ten. I’ve been through a lot of eye exams. Which is better: this one? or this one? Sometimes the choice isn’t a clear one. This one might look darker but this one might look crisper. When I say there’s a minor difference or none, she becomes impatient and insists I choose. She dilates my eyes, saying she’ll use just a small amount because light-irised people like us don’t need much. She puts in so much, fluid is dripping down my cheek. I regret putting on eye makeup.

She promises me loaner lenses and talks me into trying soft lenses from, yes, a peel-pack. She teaches me how to put them in and is shocked that I can do it quickly. I’ve been putting in contact lenses for over 30 years, I remind her. She explains the process again and tells me how difficult it is.

I agree to try the soft lenses for a few days, since I’m open-minded like that. Even though I’m pretty sure every eye doc I’ve ever had says soft-lenses aren’t for me because of my astigmatism. That’s not so true Dr. Psycho says. She’s all focused on my age and thinks I’m resistant to getting bifocals. I haven’t needed them yet, I tell her. You might need reading glasses she says. Before I lost this lens, I could see perfectly, I say. Yes, but you’re getting to the age where you need reading glasses, she says.

I sigh.

I tell her that my previous eye doc set up my lenses so that the center is for near-reading and the edges are for distance and it’s worked great. She shakes her head at me. She says no, no they weren’t – she’s seen the chart. In fact, she’s quite convinced my previous lenses were a mistake.

But I could see really well. This does not matter. I might need to think about reading glasses.

I don’t like the soft lenses. Comfortable, sure, but I can’t see very well. She asks me to read with them on and I say I can’t see the text in my lap. She frowns at me like I’m lying. I remind her that she dilated my eyes, so I won’t be able to focus well until they get back to normal. She laughs and says, oh right! she forgot!! and forgive her, because it’s just been such a busy morning.

I know it’s too late to make this short, but I’ll try.

I don’t like the soft lenses, so I call in and she orders the “hard” lenses for me, reminding me of the additional expense. She’s all about expense and discounts. I received a 10% discount on my visit. I don’t know why. I just want to be able to see. I go back to wearing my 2009/2007 lenses, which is a bit disconcerting because my eyes don’t quite work together right, but at least I can pretty much see.

On June 16, I go in. She gives me the new lenses in a case on which she’s sharpie marked a big R & L for which lens is which, even though the case is embossed with the letters already. She makes a point of saying she’s sure those are in the correct order.

I cannot see. She runs me through the tests and I can’t see a thing. I’m nearly in tears. She’s impatient with me saying I can’t see. I ask her if she’s sure they’re in the right order, because it looks a lot like when I inadvertently switch them. She thinks I just need to adapt because those previous lenses were such a mistake. I say I can’t drive home like this, so no way. Fine, she’ll order me new lenses. I ask if she wants to examine me with the 2009 lens in, which she never has, and she says no and launches into this explanation of why they were such a mistake, showing me the chart, which I can’t read because, duh, I can’t see.

At this point, I begin to actively hate her.

I stick with it. Just get through this. Small problems compared to, say, working in an Apple factory in China.

I call my previous eye doc for a sanity check. Dr. Everett King in Laramie, Wyoming. A prince of a man and a fine doc, if you happen to be in that neighborhood. He looks at my chart, looks at her determination of my prescription and thinks she’s partly confused because my eyesight has improved considerably. Ironic, since one of the bad effects of the evil mistake lenses was to be to worsen my eyesight. But the lovely Dr. King offers to order me replacement lenses and ship them to me if I can’t get ones that work from her.

I feel like someone has handed me a bouquet of roses.

(Let’s order dessert, okay?)

On June 23, I go back in. She tells me this time the right lens is marked with a dot. Clearly so I can’t screw it up again. She tests me. The lenses are adequate. I can’t see quite as well at all vision lengths, but I can see well enough. I’m out of there.

She wants to schedule me for a follow-up in one week. I say no, that would be the 4th appointment and I’ve been there enough times. She insists and I give in. July 10 – farther out than she likes, but I have family coming July 4 weekend and I don’t want to take more work time for this. She calls on July 3, saying I missed my appointment. I say no, it’s for next week. She says no, she had me down for July 3. I apologize.

My family, who hear the call in the car, ask what’s up and I tell them my eye doc is psycho. Why are you going back, they ask?

Really good question.

(Don’t worry – this is almost over. I’ll pick up the tab.)

So I leave her a message saying thanks for everything, but I’m not coming back in. The lenses are fine. I don’t mention I’m never coming back again, but I’m sure it’s implied.

She leaves me a nearly rabid voice mail in return, telling me it’s imperative that I come in.

I ignore it. But I save it, just in case I need it for, oh, say, a restraining order.

She sends me a freaking CERTIFIED LETTER.

When I see who it’s from, I nearly refuse it. Then I figure, she wants it for her liability. Fine. I accept. We should be done now.


I’ll let you all know if she contacts me again, at which point I’ll have to tell her to cease and desist.

So, let’s talk about you – what’s going on in your life??