My ophthalmologist is a jerk


My eyesight turned bad when I was about nine years old. I’ve worn glasses ever since, and go for regular checkups.



Luckily, the Rhode Island Eye Institute is a block and a half away from our apartment.  The day before my last appointment, I received a telephone reminder from a robotic assistant, who told me blurrily that I had an appointment on Wednesday with a Doctor – Newberg? Newsome? Nugent?



I couldn’t remember.  I’ve had at least three different doctors since going there; the first one retired, the second one moved away.  When I checked in, I tried “Nugent,” as that seemed the trendiest, what with Ted Nugent in the news and all.  The receptionist looked up at me wearily.  “Newman?” she said.



“Sure,” I said.  “Why not?”



First came the assistant.  Eye drops.  “Is this better – or this?  Number one – or number two?”  I’ve been doing this since I was nine years old.  I know the drill.  I hate the drops, but I can deal with the glaucoma test and the blazing lights they shine into my eyeballs.  I’m tougher than I look.



Then, after an interminable wait (to allow the drops to take effect), in walks Doctor Newton: younger than me, blondish, goofy-looking, very sure of himself.  He looks into my eyeballs.  Optic nerve blah blah blah. Cornea blah blah blah. There’s some pitting of the retina that might (if I live long enough) be serious, but not to worry: surgery can fix it. 






I decide to ask a question.  “I’ve been wearing bifocals for a while,” I said.  “Do I really need them?”



He starts to giggle. “You probably don’t realize that you’re using both lenses,” he said.  “That’s a good thing.”



At first I’m relieved.  Then I notice that he’s still laughing at my silly question, and glancing back at his assistant to make sure she notices what a silly thing I’ve said.



And I suddenly realize that my ophthalmologist is a jerk



I have pretty much decided I will never visit Doctor Nerdburger again.  There are lots of ophthalmologists in the world.



I wonder if Ted Nugent is available?



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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