My monthly appointments with the retina specialist roll around entirely too fast. Seems like I had one just last week. Hard to believe four weeks have passed since my last injection.
If you’ve been following along, you know I have Age-related Macular Degeneration in both eyes. At 54, I’m young to have this condition–much less, a case as severe as what I have in my left eye. I suspect high mileage is to blame. If you haven’t been following along, read my post from a month ago when I last visited the specialist.
Earlier this week I got my first bill for the new treatment: $3,790. That’s $175 for the office visit, $125 for the retina scan I get every time I go, $990 for the injection procedure, and $2,500 for Eylea–the new drug I’m counting on to save my sight. Fortunately, I have good insurance. Of that, I had to pay $509.88, an amount that will drop once I meet my annual deductible.
A retired friend of mine says getting older is not for wimps. I agree, and would add it’s also not for people without insurance. And yes, that at my age I’m already dealing with two chronic conditions (the other being high cholesterol) has a lot to do with my new active lifestyle. I’m hoping that exercising regularly and losing weight will prevent diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Having learned that they call people back in the order we sign in rather than by the appointment time, I arrived fifteen minutes early. The office was already so full I had to take a seat in the overflow waiting room. The doctor and his team of three assistants arrived from Augusta about ten minutes later.
The first assistant called me back, dilated my left eye, and checked my vision. She said my vision had improved a bit since last time. I took this to mean I’d done a better job than usual guessing, because I really couldn’t see that last row of letters at all. She sent me to the dark waiting room where already-dilated patients wait for the next step in the appointment.
A while later, assistant #2 did my retina scan. Usually I ask if it looked any better than the previous scan in hopes that I can maybe skip an injection. Since the treatment regimen for the new drug requires three injections, four weeks apart, I already knew I’d be getting one so I didn’t ask. After the scan I returned to the dark waiting room to wait for my visit with the doctor.
The retina specialist is from India, complete with turban, beard, and a flowing mustache. He’s very nice, soft-spoken, and efficient with an excellent bedside manner. Despite herding dozens of patients through the office every day, I always feel like he’s sincerely glad to see me. I like to think it’s because I’m just so darn adorable. Anyway, he told me that the swelling in my retina had gone down by about 15 percent. That means the new drug is working!
After yet another stay in the dark waiting room, assistant #3 called me back for my injection. A shot in the eye is not something one gets used to–I know because we talk about it in the dark waiting room. The shots don’t hurt. The worst part is the Clockwork Orange speculum they use to hold my eye open for the procedure. Hate it. Once they put the speculum on, I have to tell myself to breathe. Fortunately, the procedure takes less than a minute.
On the way home, I stopped at Captain D’s to pick up lunch–my reward for having endured another injection. Usually I get broccoli and green beans for side dishes. Today I went all out and replaced the broccoli with fried okra. Some days you need to treat yourself. To compensate, I only ate one of the hush puppies.
Then I do what I always do after an eye appointment–took a nap with the chihuahuas. I’m still feeling a bit under the weather, so I took a couple of generic NyQuil gel caps. Note to self: Don’t do that again. I didn’t wake up for almost four hours. That means I’m probably looking at a sleepless night here in…
My Glass House