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It's not iritis and it's not glaucoma and it's not any other eye disease. I have healthy eyes, just ageing ones...and DRY ones, to boot. Very probably made worse by the skin treatment medicine I was on for 4 months in the beginning of the year and which I will most likely be starting again tomorrow, which definitely won't help and will, in fact, probably make it worse, at least for a while.

So, I'm relieved to know that my eyes are really okay, but frustrated to know that the blurryness will probably continue for a long time and that there is no "cure" as such. On the worst days, I'm squinting so much I look like I have no eyes at all. :(


When I arrived at the eye clinic just before 4 p.m., there was an elderly lady there before me sitting outside the waiting room, talking to herself. I just smiled and went past her, into the room to take a seat and pick up a magazine. After a minute or so, she followed me in, and proceeded to talk to herself loudly, and then read several papers from her handbag aloud to herself as well. She asked me what time it was and several other rather incoherent questions.

I was a bit surprised at how uncomfortable she made me. I suppose it's because we are so conditioned not to invade other peoples' space, especially when they are strangers and ESPECIALLY in Sweden. She asked me if I'd been there before and when I said no, never, she said that was strange because she knew she had seen me before. She kept repeating phrases to herself aloud and then began re-reading the letters. The second time around I actually heard some of what she reading, enough to realize that the letter stated the day and time of her appointment with the eye doctor—FOR TOMORROW. At 10:00 a.m.

At that point I interrupted her to ask when her appointment was, and she confirmed that it was, indeed, for Thursday at 10. "But it's Wednesday today," I told her. She was confused and looked lost and then asked me again what time it was. "Just after 4," I told her, and she said, as if it made perfect sense, "Well, then, it's nearly Thursday, so that's okay" and settled back into her chair. Just then the nurse came out and called my name so I got up and left the waiting room. After we had gone into the examination room, I told the nurse about the old lady and suggested she go talk to her, since she seemed very out of it and was at the clinic a day early.

The nurse left the room and returned a bit later, shaking her head. We continued with my eye exam. She tested my vision with an eye chart and asked me about the problem and put drops in my eyes to test the pressure. She handed me a little cotton pad to wipe my eyes with which came away bright yellow. "Good lord," I exclaimed, "Did you get any in my eyes or is it all over my face?" She laughed and reassured me and finished the eye test, which involved putting a little tube with a blue light around the end of it RIGHT UP AGAINST MY EYEBALLS and then she sent me to the waiting room with a form to fill out before the doctor called me.

The old lady was still there and another nurse was kneeling by her, obviously exasperated and trying not to show it. She was rifling through the old lady's handbag trying to find a phone number or address. They were right in front of me, so even though I wasn't trying to eavesdrop there was no way to avoid hearing the conversation. She found the woman's name and then exclaimed over the amount of money in the purse and told her she shouldn't be walking around with so much cash. She pulled out a passport and some other items and all the time she was trying to find out how the old woman had come to the clinic: by bus? by taxi? did she have any children that they could call? Anyone that could come help her? At this the old woman looked up and said in a shaky voice, "I thought you were helping me." Finally, the nurse managed to get a phone number and went off to call the person and right then the doctor came out to fetch me.

She made me uncomfortable and sad and worried, this woman I had never seen before, didn't know, and would likely never see again. She was all my worst fears brought to life: my mortality, the creeping years, the terrifying thought of not having my senses and my MIND at my command. When I came out from the doctor's exam, she was gone, so I hope that the nurses found out how to get her home. It was the end of the business day, so I'm sure they had some investment in making sure she was helped out as quickly as possible.

The doctor put some more pink drops in my eyes and shone blindingly bright lights into them both at close range. He gave me a lot of good advice and told me what kind of eye drops and eye gels to get at the pharmacy, and that a humidifier in the office might help. He did not, however, tell me to wipe my eyes before I left and I walked out of the clinic into the middle of Malmö Festival to get to my car in the parking garage and then drive home...where my brother and children asked me why I had orange rings around both my eyes. *sigh*

I may have a long way to go before dementia or senility sets in, but looking like a fool apparently has no age limits.
mood: tired
music: Klee—A Thousand Ways

great essay

truly excellent!


Re: great essay


Man, reading about that woman made me cry. Hope your eyes feel better.

It was pretty heartrending. My eyes have been fine all week, with the exception of Monday. I started the medicine again today, though. :(

That poor woman. I do hope she has family.
I just had an exam similar to yours on Friday. Drops, lights, eye pressure tested. I too had been worried about blurryness and general deterioration of my vision. Same thing, no problems, just aging eyes. Yuck!! My right eye, long distance is not as good as left so glasses will help but not necessary. It's the painting and computer work that has hastened the decline:( Oh well, it might have been worse.

This getting old things SUCKS, I must say.

The thing with early dementia is that it comes and goes in stages

Either that senile old woman escaped from her personal assistant, or she'll get one appointed to her after this incident. Part of why I love Sweden (and I used to work as a personal assistant).

I think these things are a bit scary and uncomfortable partly because it happens so rarely in Sweden.

It's a good thing you didn't have iritis though!

Re: The thing with early dementia is that it comes and goes in stages

Yes, I was surprised too that she didn't have a personal assistant...she even commented at one point that they had told her the day before that her appointment was tomorrow, but she was so out of it, it didn't matter. :(

I'm glad that there isn't anything seriously wrong with your vision but I wish there was more they could do for you.

It's stories like that one about the old woman that fill with G with fear and dread. His family is close and helpful but they are a small bunch and for various reasons, there's really only one of his generation who is capable of helping out all the elderly relatives, including G's mom who is soon 83.

Me, too. And I started the medicine today, so I really hope it doesn't get worse. :(

At least they were kind to her at the doctor's office but who lets these people run errands without help?!

Sorry about your eyes . . . is it worth it to get a second opinion or do you feel pretty satisfied (that's the wrong word perhaps) with the diagnosis?

I'm satisfied with the diagnosis. This skin medicine is serious shit. I have to get a blood test once a month, and it's not just my eyes it messes with. My liver has also been borderline because of it. :( I'm hoping 4 more months will do it, and I won't have to keep going. Some people are on it for a YEAR! (or many times)

Oh geez Liz, that's scary stuff. Well then I'll join you in hoping it's only for 4 months.

Have I mentioned I've worn the same pair of glasses for at least 15 years? Recently I took a self-test on Internet, and according to it I wouldn't gain much by taking a real test and get new glasses. I wonder what is the world record? :-) If the time in front of a computer screen matters how long your eyes last, they've become accustomed for long, 10+ hour sessions since I was a teenager or child even.

You made me laugh AND feel sad.

Then my job here is done. :D

Must make me laugh again!

Oh, your job is never done! heehee.


I can't believe there's not less dangerous medicine for face. Mine hasn't had the liver problems.
Sad about the old lady- but, it's easy to appear competent while having failing moments (NO, I'm NOT talking about myself!). But,there have been others in our older generation where this could have been them. Wonderful to know that Sweden has help available for such situations.
The orange eyes made me laugh! Love, Lizardmom

What's the name of your medicine, Mom? I'll call you tonight.


Oh! You're breaking my heart here! What is this personal assistant thing? Please explain!

I'm glad you were there to help her. As for your eyes, I hope you get some relief soon! The orange circles, just too funny. :)


I didn't help her at all except for alerting the nurses. Personal assistants are healthcare employees who take care of the elderly and handicapped, at home, within the Swedish medical system.

Just reading about that eye exam gave me the creeps. (Squeamish about things touching/near my eyes...even drops.)

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lizardek's obiter photos
lizardek's obiter photos

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