He ran a few more tests, and an hour later came back into the examining room. “We’ve got to start you on some eye drops,” he said.
After graduating from college, I left the family nest and flew away to discover the wide, wonderful world at a big city graduate school. The experience was outstanding, and my next professional move brought me back to a position in my home state. This meant that I was close to my parents and able to see them on a nice, regular basis.
One thing led to another, and we started coordinating our schedules so that we could do our errands and go out together occasionally. This was always fun and enjoyable for all of us. But one night in late summer, when we were coming home from the movies, my father said: “Look at these oncoming headlights. Do either of you see those rainbows around them?”
I didn’t know what he was talking about, and my mother shook her head no. We made it home safely that night, but the next day my mother decided he should see the eye doctor as soon as possible. She made the appointment and I went along with them to be a backup driver, because Mom did not have her license.
It didn’t take long for the ophthalmologist to determine that my father had glaucoma. He recommended a regimen of eyedrops to begin immediately to get the pressure in both eyes under control. At this point, he said, there wasn’t any need for surgery or any other kind of treatment. We made our appointment for the three-month follow up visit and left the office feeling blessed at the little that was needed. I drove home, because my father’s pupils were still dilated.
Time marches on, and he did very well with his schedule and his eye health. As it turned out, I also became a patient of the ophthalmologist that he had seen that day. I went there for years for my regular checkup and each time I went into the office, I felt my father there with me.
Ten years passed in a blur, and one day at the conclusion of the eye exam the doctor pushed the heavy equipment aside and looked at me. “Your pressure is a bit high, Gina.”
He ran a few more tests, and an hour later came back into the examining room.
“We’ve got to start you on some eye drops,” he said. “Looks like you have glaucoma. In both eyes.”
Most people might think that having glaucoma is a frightening diagnosis, and it is very serious. But in my case, it was, and still is, a comforting reminder that part of my father is still with me.
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.