An Emotional Eye Exam

Last week I had my yearly eye exam. One of the many dangers of uncontrolled blood sugars is the damage that it can do to your eyes, such as retinopathy, therefore I make sure to get my eyes checked at least once a year. During my appointment and after my eyes had been dilated, the doctor took a series of pictures of the inside of my eyes. He pulled up the images on the computer.

“What are you looking for exactly?” I asked him.

“I’m looking for areas of breakage or bleeding in the blood vessels,” he replied. “Your eyes look healthy, I’m just going to check some of the areas that I can’t see in these images.”

I sat upright in the examining chair, staring straight ahead as my doctor positioned the magnifying device in front of me. I could barely keep my eye open as a high intensity light was shone into my eye.

“Look straight ahead. Now look up and to the right. Up and to the left. Now look down.”

With one eye still recovering from the bright light, he moved on to the other. When he finished with that eye, I started to sit back, relieved that the worst part of the exam was over.

“Just one more second, there’s a spot that I want to check again.”

Wait, what?

“Sure, no problem,” I said, struggling to maintain my composure.

You know how there are some times in your life when time seems to slow down or stand still? Well, this was one of those times. I imagine that what I’m about to describe to you happens to many people in many different situations, when further tests are needed, when there’s a false positive, when there aren’t adequate answers, etc. What in reality took only about one minute seemed to last forever.

All at once I found myself caught in the middle of an argument between Logic and Emotion, and let’s just say Emotion got the better of me.

Emotion: What did he just say?? He needs to look again? Oh my god, I bet he saw something bad! How can this be happening?!

Logic: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He’s just looking, we don’t know for sure if there is anything wrong yet.

Emotion: Ah, what am I going to do?! I knew this day would come. My parents kept saying I’m too young for anything like this to happen, but no one can be certain. Here it is, my first complication from my diabetes! I can’t believe this!

Logic: Calm down. He hasn’t found anything yet, let’s wait to worry about it when we know more.

Emotion: What does this mean? What do I do? Is the damage reversible? Is there a treatment? Is it too late?? I’m too young! ¬†Please, I’ll be better! Oh my god, am I going blind?!?!

This is the part where I imagine Logic slapping the hysterical Emotion across the face, like you see in the movies.

Logic: Pull yourself together!! It’s not doing you any good to jump to conclusions like this!

Emotion, recovering from the shock of just being slapped, was about to say something when the doctor intervened.

“Everything looks good, there’s no damage here.”

Logic looked smugly at Emotion, “See, what did I tell you?”

Relieved by the good news, I began to relax. My eyes are healthy, there is no damage from my diabetes. I was in fact, freaking out about nothing. However, I’m glad that I had that initial emotional response. I don’t want to be in denial or think that I am immune to these types of complications, even though I am young. Logic may be right, it’s better to worry about things as they happen, but Emotion helps to keep you concerned and vigilant. This exam reinforced that yes, this could happen to me. Every choice has a consequence, and if I want to continue to be in good health, I need to continue to make good decisions when it comes to taking care of my diabetes.

That is something I am sure both Logic and Emotion can agree on.

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