|The left eye is the bad one.|
That thought crossed my mind as I was driving home after taking Archie to the vet about his bad eye. Archie has lost all vision in his left eye from an injury he sustained when he was a puppy--the vision loss is permanent. He has glaucoma in his bad eye, a complication from that injury.
Archie may lose his left eye. The vet could tell I was sad. He tried to assure me that Archie would be OK and that Archie has already adjusted to his condition. As far as Archie is concerned, the vet said, having vision in just the right eye is normal. Archie doesn't know any better; it's the way things should be from what Archie could tell.
Here is how things would have played out if I were the patient:
Doctor: It looks like you have glaucoma .
Doctor: And your blood pressure is high. You need to do something about it.
Me: Well, usually it's lower.
Doctor: How do you know?
Me: I check it at home on an instrument I bought at the drug store.
Doctor: Well, it may be wrong. What kind is it? You may have dead batteries; you might have put the cuff on wrong; the model could be defective . . .
Me: I'm kind of upset over the glaucoma situation. I've been feeling bad. I know it can lead to blindness. The stress has been getting to me.
Doctor: (shrugs shoulders like "so what?") Well, you're going to have a stroke.
[By that time, I'm pretty damned upset and visibly so.]
I know that hypothetical conversation seems absurd to some people, but that is about the way a conversation I had with a doctor went in a visit when I was diagnosed with diverticulitis. For those not familiar with diverticulitis, it is an infection in the lower intestines. It hurts a whole fucking bunch. Sometimes, it requires surgery and can lead to death. It was a hell of a time for a doctor to read me the riot act about by blood pressure when I'm in agonizing pain from diverticulitis.
The vet visit today made me realize how fucked up it is that my dog's vet has a better bedside manner than any doctor I've been to in the last 20 years.