Stamp of Approval

Published April 7, 2017 by dividinguplife

Yesterday morning, my boss did cataract surgery on my grandmother (the second eye), and my grandpa met us up there so that I could go to the office and then meet them there for post-op care. When I say grandpa, I mean the man that bought me all kinds of stuff when I was a baby (diapers and formula, clothes and toys) not the one that abandoned me on my birthday and never came back.

I think my grandpa taking care of me was the first reality check that blood isn’t always thicker than water. In fact, in my life, I have learned that it rarely is. Sometimes even the water evaporates. Sometimes the realization that you can only depend on yourself comes crashing down on you like a ten ton weight. 

My grandpa is the one that just helped me out of my legal troubles when that surprise court date circa 2009 popped up on me when I went to get my pistol permit. Facing the chance that I’d be hauled off to jail for something that I didn’t know existed in the first place, my grandpa gave me five hundred bucks, no questions asked so I could get a lawyer. He has done more for me not being my blood, than most of my family that is blood, has ever done for me. 

We had breakfast in the hospital cafeteria yesterday morning. It was nice to just sit down and spend time with him and hang out. My grandpa is a cool guy. 100% Portuguese with a temper to match it. He has worked in the carpet business his entire life. I remember being a kid and staying the night at his house on the weekends with my grams, and he’d be on the phone first thing in the morning screaming at his installers because they were idiots. 

Yesterday he brought my grams over to the office so I could check her vision and her eye pressure before she went home. Last night while I was cooking dinner, he was on the phone with my Grams and made a comment about how smart I am. It was very nice to hear that coming from him. I mean, he only saw me do something that is about a fifth of my entire job, and it was enough to impress a man that isn’t impressed very easily. 

When people hear that I’m in Ophthalmic Technician, they never really care to grasp what it is that I do. Or they just shrug and assume I sit on my ass all day and do … what? I’m not sure. Very few people actually understand the level of patient care and the intricacies involved in my line of work. I work with eyeballs all day. I literally have my fingers on and around a persons eyeball. I do the testing (about six different machines for different parts of the eye and different potential diseases), I set up the surgeries, I monitor the billing, the appeals, the denials. Not only that, I’m also the sounding board for elderly people that don’t have anyone else to talk to. I ask them how their eyes are feeling, and twenty minutes later we are talking about their arthritis and how much they miss their spouse that has been dead for fifteen years. By the time we get out of the exam room, I know how them and their spouse met, how long they were married, how their spouse died, and how they have been doing since their spouse died. These patients become more than patients. When they die, a piece of me goes with them. Even now, years later, there are quite a few patients that I think back on, that have passed. I’ve been to numerous funeral’s where the family recognized me and I grieved with them. In the Glaucoma specialty, we see our patients four to six times a year. We get to know them. They aren’t just another chart number. I become invested in them. 

After five years and almost three thousand patients, even now when my boss comes up to me and says something like “You remember that patient that had an ahmed tube shunt that went from Count Fingers to 20/30 and we were able to remove her from her drops?” and I’ll be like “Yeah, it was such-and-such” …. like you remember their names. It’s important. They say you are supposed to separate yourself emotionally from your patients, but I can’t. I find that to be cold and insensitive. 

Tonight my husband laughed at me because when I vacuum, I kind of lasso the cord around my hand and then hang it on the hook, rather than wrap the cord around the two hooks all proper-like. My husband is a lot neater than I am. I cook and I clean, but I’m just not as detailed with it like he is. He hangs all of his clothes in the closet. I throw mine on the top shelf of the closet. It doesn’t bother him, he just laughs at me. 

When I was growing up, my mom was a neat-freak. I mean like an OCD nazi neat-freak. She would clean everything until it shined, and then bitch at you if anything got messed up. If I tried to clean up after myself, she was convinced that it wasn’t clean enough and she would clean it again, all the while screaming at me about what a slob I was. By the time I was sixteen, I just didn’t care anymore. After I moved out at seventeen and was on my own, I realized that if I left a sock on the floor, the entire world wasn’t going to come crashing down on my head. Seeing small clusters of chaos in my world brings me comfort. It reminds me that life can move forward without everything being so fucking perfect all of the time. I’ve done well enough in my life living by this rule. It’s just another thing my mom fucked up in my head. One more thing to add to a long list of reasons that I wish I would have been adopted. 

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