Friday, April 23, 2010

Will I ever be mature enough to control inappropriate laughter?

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the floater that had suddenly popped up in my right eye. It was annoying, but I wasn't worried about it.

On the night after I wrote the "floater post," I started experiencing flashes of light -- tiny, moving, macaroni-shaped lightsabers -- when I'd go from a bright room into a darker one. The flashes weren't particularly bothersome, so my initial plan was to ignore them. But it was the weekend by then, there was plenty of time to nose around on the Internet, and almost every article I read said something to the effect of, "It's usually nothing to worry about, but if you don't get immediate medical attention, there may be dire consequences."

On Monday I called a retinal specialist (I have early-stage macular degeneration and had been to this office once before) and ended up there again on Tuesday. That appointment went well. The doctor said he couldn't see any signs of a serious problem but wanted me to come back again in two weeks and then again in a month. "Sometimes these things take a while to appear."

I was fairly perturbed about having to go back for follow-up exams. Because they dilate my eyes at every appointment, someone has to go with me to drive me home.  This means one or the other of my daughters has to take off work, which, while it makes all the waiting-room time more interesting for me, makes me feel guilty for wasting a big chunk of their time.

Anyway, this past Wednesday was the two-week follow-up.  I expected we'd breeze in and out fairly quickly. Instead, the doctor found a little retinal tear. He explained the significance of it, then told us he'd need to do a laser procedure to "spot weld" the area to prevent a retinal detachment. Fortunately, he could to do it that day, right there in his office.

So, we waited again. We waited a long time, and then another long time after that.  At one point, Kim said, "I wonder what's taking so long."  I replied, "Hmmph. He's probably sitting in his office reading up on laser procedures." Kim instantly put her hands in the typing position and said aloud as she typed in the air, "How... to... do... laser... surgery... on..."

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate the humor, or maybe it was because I was a little nervous, but the air-Googling struck me really funny. I laughed out loud, then Kim did, and it turned into one of those moments that grew funnier the longer we thought about it.

Right then was when the doctor came in, and his first words were, "I'm sorry you've had to wait so long." A wave of humor hit me again. I was sitting in the exam chair, my head was tilted waaaaay back, the doctor was standing right beside me with the laser instrument in his hand, ready to go, and my lips were clamped together so tightly that my smile must have looked like a maniacal grimace. Just as the doctor leaned in over my head, I couldn't hold it any longer and let out one short burst of laughter.

"I'm sorry," I apologized. "We were talking about something funny just before you came in, and I need a second to regain my composure."

The doctor chuckled, too, presumably because laughter is infectious.  "That's okay," he said.  "I expect you'll stop laughing as soon as we begin."

He was right. But as soon as we were safely back in the car, it got funny all over again.


  1. I pray you never are! Your humor is most endearing! Hope the eye mends quickly so you can get back to your true purpose in life... petting the dogs!

  2. That's a funny story! That reminds me of when Mom and I are waiting at our favorite drive-thru for our lunch or supper, if it takes a long time, we say "they had to go and kill the cow", "pluck the chicken", "go down to the river and catch a fish", and just last week Mom came up with my favorite so far, "they had to go and kill the horse". That one had me laughing for a while.

    Hope your eye gets all better fast!

    and I haven't forgotten to post, give me another day or so. ;-)

  3. Oh, I love inappropriate laughter! It almost always occurs when I am very nervous about something, and I guess it is a release, because something will always strike me as hilarious during that time.

    Thanks for the laugh...and I hope your eye gets better really, really quickly!

  4. Thanks, everybody, the eye is doing fine. I forgot to tell you the best -- and funniest -- part of the whole experience: They told me not to do any vigorous exercise for the next two weeks. That REALLY cracked me up!

  5. Anyone who can laugh when someone is that close to their eye with a tool is one brave woman in my opinion.

  6. Maria, as much as I'd like to claim bravery, I won't lie to you. When the laughter started bubbling out, my hands went in front of my face.

  7. I'm sorry you have macular degeneration. Mine was the dry type and I went to have a cataract removed and one eye turned into the wet kind and to make a long story short, I'm blind in that eye due to retinal edema. Tomorrow I go to a different opthalmolgist to see about taking the cataract off my left eye. I've got my fingers crossed. The retinal specialist did warn me that if I saw flashes of light to call them immediately. You did the right thing.

  8. Wow, nan16, your comment certainly got my attention, and I thank you for making me understand the potentially severe consequences of conditions I'd mostly considered annoyances. I'm sorry your own experience with macular degeneration tured out like it did and wish you luck at the opthalmologist tomorrow.

  9. I hope I'm never mature enough to control inappropriate laughter! Loved this post :)


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