My baby would forgive me if she ended up going blind because I couldn’t figure out what the hell her various eye care professionals were smoking, right? I’m sure she would. I mean, it’s not like she’s ever mad at me about things that aren’t even my fault, or like she overreacts to the smallest provocation, or…
Holy crap, I’m doomed. I may as well hand her a voodoo doll and a white cane for her birthday this year, I think.
Perhaps it’s my fault. (Oh, who am I kidding? OF COURSE it’s my fault.) I should’ve taken her to her last eye appointment. But the yearly trek into Atlanta to see the Pediatric Wonky Eyes Specialist involves, you know, driving into Atlanta, and I try very hard not to do that if I don’t have to. So I’d suckered Otto into taking her, and I thought everything was all set.
I’d asked Otto to call beforehand to tell them that Chickadee wears contacts now, and to ask if she should wear them to her appointment, or at least bring them to her appointment. She needed to have her eyes dilated, so they recommended glasses. Fine. I gave Otto all of her contact lens information and asked him to please make sure we had what was needed for an updated lens prescription. They went and all was well and Chickadee came home with a new prescription.
Now, let me back up for a minute. Last year she had her exam and then we went to a local place covered under my ex’s vision insurance (this will be a salient point in a little bit, I swear) to get her fitted for contacts. She had an exam and had a few pairs of trial lenses before the doctor said Yes, that’s it, go ahead and order. Apparently there’s a bit of guesswork involved in corrective lenses when you’re squishing them onto your eyeballs instead of just wearing them on your face. Anyway. We got her lenses and all was well.
This particular vision insurance, by the way, allows service once a year… and by the time we’d gotten through the trial pairs and actually placed an order, it was nearly March. Which means that we don’t qualify for coverage again THIS year for over a month.
About a week ago Chickadee stopped wearing her contacts. She went back to her glasses all the time, and the first few days I just figured she was being lazy and/or tired, but after about four days I asked her if she was ever planning to wear her contacts again. “Oh, I’m out of contacts,” she said, as if it should’ve been obvious.
We then had one of my very favorite mother-daughter discussions, the one about how I’M NOT PSYCHIC and I am generally better able to assist you when I’m actually informed that you need something.
Well. No problem; we could just go ahead and order a couple boxes of contacts and pay for them out-of-pocket, and then order the rest once the vision insurance allows it in a month or so. Right?
Apparently the way they do the prescription for contacts is also vastly different than the way they do it for glasses. So part of the “fitting” process (and I remembered this, vaguely) was the doctor fine-tuning the prescription based upon Chickadee’s propensity towards eye-crossing. Her prescription was tweaked until there was no sign of her eyes going rogue, and that resulted in something very different than what was originally prescribed.
Hey, I don’t pretend to understand it. Something to do with the angle of somethingorother from cornea to lens, which is, you know, ZERO in the case of contacts, but a few inches with glasses, and… look, I’m not an optometrist. All I know is that if her original prescription said something like:
SPHERE +4.5 CYLINDER -1.25 AXIS 20
The modified contact lens prescription was then:
SPHERE +5.5 CYLINDER -1.75 AXIS 140
To which my response is pretty much: Buh? Okay!
I called the place where we got her lenses the last time, and it was like a freakin’ Laurel and Hardy skit. I explained that we had a new prescription and I wanted to know if she needed to be refitted for new lenses.
Receptionist: So you have a new contact lens prescription? You can just bring that in and we’ll order the lenses.
Me: No, we just have a new prescription. A new glasses prescription, I think.
Receptionist: So you want to order glasses.
Me: No, we want to order contacts.
Receptionist: You need a contact prescription for that.
Me: I know, but last time she was fitted for lenses based upon the glasses prescription.
Receptionist: Oh, she’s gotten lenses here before?
Receptionist: Well then we can just look those up and order those again.
Me: Right, but now she has a new prescription.
Receptionist: But we can order the old one. It’s valid until the end of February.
Me: But she has a new prescription. Don’t I want the updated prescription rather than last year’s…?
Receptionist: But do you have an updated contact lens prescription?
Me: No, I told you, I have a glasses prescription. Does she need to be fitted again?
Receptionist: We can order the old ones without another fitting.
Me: Can you order the NEW ones based upon the previous fitting and the new prescription?
Receptionist: Not unless it’s a contact prescription.
Me: It’s not—oy. Look. It sounds like she needs to have a new fitting. That’s fine, I’d be happy to make an appointment and bring her in. Can we do that?
Receptionist: Well who did she see last time she was here?
Me: Dr. Nice.
Receptionist: Oh, he’s not here anymore. His contract expired.
Receptionist: So she can’t see him.
Me: Okay…? Was he replaced?
Receptionist: Oh yes, of course.
Me: Can we make an appointment with the new doctor?
Receptionist: For an exam? Sure!
Me: No, not an exam. She’s HAD an exam. Just for a fitting.
Receptionist: Oh! No, we can’t do that.
Receptionist: He doesn’t do contact lenses.
Me: He doesn’t “do” contact lenses? You guys are an authorized 1-800-CONTACTS retailer. How is that even possible?
Receptionist: Yes, we are. But right now we don’t have any doctors who do contacts.
Me: You don’t… nevermind. Okay. How about THIS—I’ll call the doctor who did her exam and see if I can get a contact prescription. How about that? Would that work?
Receptionist: Oh, certainly.
Me: Great. Thank you.
At this point I was already feeling a good bit of dread, but then I went ahead and called the Fancypants Pediatric Wonky Eyes Specialist in Atlanta.
Receptionist: How may I help you?
Me: Hi, my daughter is a patient of Dr. Fancypants’ and was just there for an exam last month. She got a new prescription, but it was for glasses, and she wears contacts. The place we got her contacts before will no longer fit her for contacts, so I was wondering if there was any way for Dr. Fancypants to maybe look at her old prescription and her new one and figure out what her new contact prescription should be?
Me: I know it sounds crazy. I don’t quite understand.
Receptionist: You should be able to take the glasses prescription in and they’ll figure it out.
Me: You’d think so, yes. But no. They no longer do that, apparently.
Receptionist: Well can you go somewhere else?
Me: Uh, maybe, except then we’re off our vision insurance AND we have to pay for a whole new exam.
Me: Listen, I’m sure I told my husband to tell Dr. Fancypants that Chickadee wears contacts now. Surely he can figure out her correct contacts prescription and fax it over? Or tell us if she can keep wearing the old prescription and just update her glasses…? She’s been doing fine with the contacts, really, it’s just that she’s out.
Receptionist: Well, I just don’t know. They should be able to use the prescription we gave you.
Me: I KNOW. I DON’T GET IT EITHER. I AM JUST TRYING TO GET SOME CONTACTS FOR MY KID.
Receptionist: Well I suppose I can talk to Dr. Fancypants.
Me: Could you? That would be great. I don’t quite know what to do, here.
Receptionist: I mean they should be able to—
Me: I KNOW. THANKS.
So, yeah, my day has been pretty awesome so far. And if it gets to having to explain to my kid that she’s just going to have to suck it up and see blurry for a while, well, THAT’s going to make it even better….