A couple of weeks ago, my optometrist put up a chart I could not read with my left eye. He changed the chart, and I still couldn’t read it.
March first, I had a cataract consultation. The idea was to do both eyes a couple of weeks apart.
When the doctor’s office told me about a couple of options, my brain stopped when they said, “Blade,” or “Laser.” I chose laser immediately. I signed a sheaf of papers, not reading a single page.
About 48 hours later it finally sunk in that the two choices were entirely different. Blade referred to cataract surgery ($800 per eye) and the need for glasses afterward. Laser included clear vision – just reading glasses. $4,300. So, $4,300 plus $1,600 comes to roughly $6,000.
During the next 48 hours I did not clearly understand the options or what had just happened.
I finally “woke up” a few hours after I was told I needed a physical, including an EKG. Odds are, I would not pass an EKG – I have “flunked” the last four tests. A couple of times while preparing for lithotripsies, anethesiologists refused to help until the kidney doctors signed off. About 24 hours prior to my latest lithotripsy, the same refusal. This last time, I had to pass a sickening stress test before we could proceed.
My troubles did not end with simply canceling the eye surgery. I had signed a paper requesting an account with CARECREDIT. I was approved, but did not realize that the account was opened, AND charged $4,300, with a credit limit of $6,000. If I missed a payment ($185), my interest would be 26.99 percent! My Social Security check is only $1,400 per month, so the payment would be more than ten percent of my income.
I was in tears this afternoon (March 7, 2017) trying to cancel the account. A kindly lady from the Eye Center refunded the $4,300, but that did not CLOSE the account. She had told me how to proceed, but I didn’t “hear” her and really messed things up. It may end up taking 45 days to resolve.
This is where it gets thick: I was charged $4,300 on March 2, a full 20 days PRIOR to the scheduled operation. I was charged before anything was done! (I only figured this out March 8.)
I think that as my brain shrinks (everybody’s does with age), I am having some sort of dementia, including short-term memory loss. I am 71 years old.
It goes much deeper however, and stretches back as far as I can remember. Especially when faced with a “fight or flight” situation, my brain freezes. No thoughts. No actions.
It doesn’t take a crisis to cloud my brain. In the last year, I have probably driven through at least three stop signs and two red lights. I still play basketball, but whenever I get the ball, my brain freezes, and I don’t know what to do next. Those playing with me used to take advantage of these freezes and swarm me. Lately, I think they have taken my age into account, and given me a few seconds to figure things out. Not always, but often.
Just a little bit of pressure – real or imagined – will make me tongue-tied. Read “panic attack.”
It has taken me a week to figure this all out and to write it down.
I will order a stronger pair of glasses today.
I believe that if I had an adult with me while signing all that paperwork, none of this would have happened. I’m not signing ANYTHING in the future without an adult present to hold my hand.
I’m just too old.