When The Lights Went Out

images I had such a scary thing happen on Friday.

I couldn’t see.

My vision in my left eye went south while the right took on a blur making it hard to even walk down the stairs.

Did I panic?


I called my eye doctor who decided to take the day off antiquing in Connecticut leaving no instructions in case a patient goes blind in her absence.

The 12 year-old receptionist said, “Nothing ever happens on Friday…slow day.”

Excuse me? I can’t see cupcake so that puts that little theory right out to pasture.

“So, would you like to see her next Friday?” God help me.

I hang up deciding to run to the Eye and Ear Hospital on East 14th Street wondering if I can actually manage this.

Why didn’t I call someone to go with me?

There was no one to call, and besides, time was of the essence.

As I’m bumping into walls readying myself to leave, I remember the eye surgeon who performed a procedure on me a few months ago ten blocks away.

I rush there…upset, hands shaking, and a young girl says, “Sorry, we can’t help you…you’re not a regular patient.”

“Yeah, but it’s an emergency, my doctor is away,” I said, “and I’ve been here before.”

She walks away leaving me standing there.

Remember in the film Terms of Endearment when Shirley Maclaine goes nuts in the hospital because no one would help her daughter?

Yes, just call me Shirley.

A doctor came out to say they’d find me one.

“Yeah but you’re a doctor. Why can’t you see me?”

“You’re not my patient.”

The whole thing was so insane and humiliating, though I stopped that in its tracks. I wasn’t about to take on their cold, heartless behavior. What ever happened to a code of ethics.

We’re healers, not heels.

So I leave and go to another doctor nearby who happened to be great. After every test imaginable, it was blamed on either allergies since my eye was severely swollen, or the antibiotic I had been on that could have relaxed my retina.

“Don’t worry,” she kept saying. “It’s nothing.”

“Nothing you say? I still can’t see.”

There was no tumor, no bleeding…my optic nerve is stunning, as she put it. She advised me to wear my distance glasses till my left eye corrected itself.

Talk about confidence in the human anatomy.

“So just go enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Okay Doc, if you want me, I ‘ll be at the nearest bar.”

Enjoy my day…I went to a church and sobbed.

My vision has gotten a little better every day since, thank God. My body truly retaliates to medication, but what do you do if you really need it?

The whole experience left me hating the medical community.

I thought of people without the ability to stand up who would have just melted away. I’m grateful I have it, but when it’s over and you know you had to fight that hard to be treated merely decently, it makes you sad, this is the way of the world.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Cinema, Gratitude, Health, New York City and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to When The Lights Went Out

  1. micklively says:

    That’s one scary tale Susannah. I’m pleased to hear that you’re on the mend.
    Every time you raise a medical issue, I thank my luck to be born under the NHS. Have you considered emigrating (again)?


    • Our health system is embarrassing to be sure. It’s only about money…no one seems to care anymore. I’m still appalled that doctor refused to see me. It turned out okay since the one I did see was incredibly efficient and did put my mind to rest to some degree, but the stress of it all was quite unnecessary.


  2. Wicked says:

    It is truly unfortunate how right you are. After watching my mom suffer the last months of her life while the doctors only made her worse while they scratched their heads and shrugged their shoulders, I have no faith in modern medicine. I go only when I see the panic set in in my husband’s eyes.

    I’m sorry you had to fight so hard for so little comfort. Glad you’re gradually improving.


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, what you went through is absolutely inexcusable. I know I would have freaked out, thinking I was having a stroke or something worse. I’m glad your sight is clearing up.


  4. Lynn says:

    This is just horrible Susannah. What would it have taken for the eye surgeon to take 5 minutes to have a look in your eye to give you a better sense of calm before moving on to the “next” doctor? Such a sad state of affairs on so many levels!


    • He kept telling me to calm down since smoke was coming out of my ears. Do doctors realize how scary illness of any kind truly is? I mean they are so jaded…I saw it with my ears all last year, and this eye things staggered me. No one cared. It was all about money, themselves…who didn’t want to be bothered.

      If I saw a perfect stranger unraveling the way I did in that office, I would have done whatever I could to help them.


  5. katecrimmins says:

    That’s awful. I worry about my eyes. I have never had great vision. Wore glasses as a kid, then contact lenses. After 35 years of those took a toll, I got corrective surgery but I still need glasses for reading. My eyes get tired and dry. I have a great doctor who is an hour away. A month ago I got an internal sty and it was really painful. No way could I drive an hour. I ended up at a local walk in. I did get help but it wasn’t satisfying and I waited a long time. Glad you are getting your vision back. Vision issues are very scary. Some senses are either to live without than others.


  6. Elle Knowles says:

    And THAT is exactly why I procrastinate about seeing doctors. I have to be pretty far gone to make an appearance in a doctors office. I will say – you were pretty far gone with this. I would have been right in there with you. Glad you are getting better and on the mend.


    • Thanks Elle, I am better and so grateful my peepers are more or less back to normal. The doctor kept saying, don’t be surprised if you have to wear your distance glasses more often…you’re at that age you know. Why didn’t she just stab me while she was at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. oh my! You have actually been on my mind all weekend long, I actually thought of reaching out to you on Saturday, but figured you didn’t need the weird DAF lurking after you. I just had a feeling though, you know how that goes? I am so sorry you had to do this yourself…. I am glad it is improving. Please take care of yourself. DAF


  8. That is pretty bad treatment, although I’m glad your eye is getting better. Don’t you love how doctors will just assure you that there’s no problem when there’s clearly a problem? My wife’s foot is numb and in pain at the same time and we’ve gone to about 7 doctors, some of whom say there’s no problem and some of whom prescribe things that don’t help. So I understand.


    • I’m sorry she’s going through that, my fellow July 18ther…sounds like inflammation…does she run or do something athletic? Warm baths in Epsom Salts might help…more two cents.


      • It’s a problem she’s had for years. These days she just ices it and keep doing whatever she wants, including exercising. The worst thing was that it was a doctor who caused it, with shoe implants she didn’t need in the first place. She wore them two days, but that was all it took to screw her up permanently. Yeah, she doesn’t like doctors either.

        How is the eye today?


      • It’s much better…thanks for asking. She had orthodics? Hmm…I have them too…wonder if that’s why my feet numb when I sleep. I assumed it’s from running. Doctors.


  9. Shirley,
    You were right to forge on until you found someone to help. Been there…done that and reacted the same exact way. How could you not after loosing trust in anyone with a white coat along the way? My heart is racing just thinking bout this … jeez! Glad all is good now. Shirley2 signing out.


    • I just found out from a new doctor since the old one is lucky I don’t flatten his tires…the antibiotic I was on…one of the side effects, though a rare one, is loss of vision. Wow…I had to be the one, right? Scary day.


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