The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 27
Steve was always, always moving forward. Never a second spent in neutral. He was off to France, a buying trip: urns, statuary, decorative accessories. He and I met with a Nokia rep the day before his departure. The day after that everyone was equipped with the latest, most advanced mobile communication technology in the world.
It felt like a turning point. It felt like 1989 when I had to either commit to my own business or walk quietly away. I could table the decision for now.
“Mr. Rico?” said a young woman dressed in a lab coat. “Hi. Suki. Follow me, please.”
Reading test. Visual field exam. Preliminary pressure check. Another room. Then Dr. Bleckman. Symptoms? I explained, she listened, then got to the serious machinery with which they can look behind the eye at the optic nerve itself.
Bleckman: I want Suki to run a couple more tests, then we’ll talk.
More rooms. More machines. My eyes felt violated.
Finally we talked.
I had severe optic nerve damage. I had end stage glaucoma. The results of the visual field indicated I had radical peripheral vision loss especially in the upper quadrants in each eye. She prescribed the three most powerful eye drop medications in existence and scheduled a follow up in three weeks.
Me: (Slowly, incredulously) End stage glaucoma?
Bleckman: We’ll see what happens with the drops, but yeah. 90% of the optic nerve in each eye is shot. (Long pause as she looked over my chart) God, and you have no insurance.
Me: It’s available through work. I’ll look into it.
Bleckman: Don’t worry. If it’s not comprehensive we’ll just write it off.
Me: That’s… very kind of you.
Bleckman: I hope I’ve scared you.
Me: ‘Terrified’ might be a better word.
Bleckman: Good. Listen, I can’t talk to most patients like this, but when you walk out of here you’ll go through all the Kubler-Ross phases. Familiar with her, them?
Me: Yes. Denial, anger, so on…
Bleckman: Get over it. See you in three weeks.
On the way back to Don’s house I stopped at the Barnes & Noble where Sheila and I used to work. I didn’t recognize anybody working the floor or the cash registers. I loaded up on Zen, comparative religion, mythology.
My new Nokia rang:
Shana: Guess where I am right now.
Me: Uh… British Honduras. Right? I knew it! Do I win something?
Shana: (Giggling) Totally. Huh uh. I’m leaving a life drawing class at Santa Monica College.
Me: You’re kidding. You’re taking a class?
Shana: I’m the model, silly. So are you home?
Me: In…15 minutes?
Shana: OK I’m coming over. Bye.