Thursday, August 12, 2010

What the heck is acting blind?

Earlier this week, I visited the doctor’s office to get what is supposed to be an annual physical for the first time in three years. Because the medical group that I’ve been using since I’ve been an adult stopped taking my health insurance, I was forced to find a new stranger to conduct my well woman’s exam. Oh well… I guess using a stranger to probe your private space keeps it impersonal. So, I guess this new doctor situation can work for me.

After signing in at the front desk, I sat down in the waiting area with my sister, Kim. While we were waiting, Kim assisted me in filling out the medical history paperwork the docs always give you when you’re a new patient.

First of all, I’m so glad that no one else was in the waiting area. I hate telling whoever I’m with all of my medical history in front of others. There’s no privacy in that. Secondly, I actually sometimes hate having to tell my sister or whoever I’m with certain things to help them answer the questions on the questionnaire. What if there’s something quite personal that I want to keep a secret? My personal business is being exposed to others, simply because I can’t read and write print. They need to find some kind of way to allow the patient to fill out those forms with one of the staff or through electronic means. **My two pennies on that…**

Well, moving on… The above is really not the purpose of this blog post.

After filling out the paperwork, the nurse called me to come to the back. She asked me all those basic screening questions, and then left me to wait for the doctor.

Five to ten minutes passed; then this very friendly female doctor entered the room and shook my hand. I believe that’s when she noticed I couldn’t see. It was the way she paused and glared down at me before saying anything else.

She turned to start reading some of my information on the computer. Then she turned around and asked me what was the extent of my blindness. I told her that my eyesight was completely gone due to an awful bout with Glaucoma.

She then looked at me and said, “Wow. You don’t act blind at all. That’s great.”

I was like, “Oh really?”

I couldn’t believe that this doctor, a highly educated, professional, modern American woman, would say such a thing.

“I don’t act blind? How does a blind person act?” I silently wondered.

I guess the fake smile on my face wasn’t convincing. She retracted her comment and said, “Well, how does a person act blind anyway? I’m just saying you don’t act like you can’t see.”

“Oh that’s better, doc! I don’t act blind. I just don’t act like someone that can’t see. Hmm...” I thought

You can imagine how amazed she was when she found out more about me. She nearly fell out of her chair when I told her that I am an adjunct prof at a college.

“Oh, so you’ve gone to college and everything? Very good! You've done very well.”

After she finished conducting my medical interview, the impressed doctor shook my hand and told me how proud she was of me. For what it was worth, I accepted her sincere praise with a bashful smile and a modest thank you.

She politely handed me the robe I was supposed to put on after taking my clothes off. She hesitated a little after that. I was wondering if she wanted to watch me undress. Not in a perverted way, but as someone that was curious about how a blind person actually does things, such as dressing and undressing. After I stood and waited, without taking my clothes off, she exited the room to give me some privacy.

Despite how uncomfortable she made me feel about being blind, I will be seeing this doctor again. She gave me the most comfortable physical I ever had. LOL I can deal with a lack of understanding of the blind as long as you don’t hurt me when you’re examining me.

To read more entries from Angela Braden's personal diary, visit her award winning blog, NuVision for a NuDay.

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