Welcome back to the kitchen! It is a sunny splendid day. This morning on my walk/run (yeah, just hearing words my run makes even ME laugh out loud), two perfect cardinals flew right onto my sidewalk path. Quite frankly, I would’ve cared less a year ago. Now, I smirk, notice their bright red coloring, and thank the Lord—I can see the birds!
My first eye appointment, a referral by Doc Lopez, was disappointing. They, a standard optical center, said I had bigger issues than they could medically treat. They gave me a list of ophthalmologist and retina specialists. The Hubs randomly picked one out of the list—possibly because they had matching first names. I called and left a message. I thought it would be the usual weeks before they could see me. I felt defeated wondering how much longer I could function without my vision.
By the time, we pulled into our driveway. They called back. We set an appointment within two hours. The Hubs and I ate lunch, caught our breaths and, I think, we both, secretly prayed for a needed answer. The Hubs escorted me into Hot Doctor’s office. It was bright, stellar clean and full of patients. I explained to his nurse what occurred. She tested my eyes, retina strength, corneas and seemed concerned.
Hot Doctor walked in. He was young, had a chiseled chin, dressed in a crisp white dress shirt, and tailored pants and he certainly had a genuine trusting smile. His patient room was decorated with pictures of his family and a wall size television streaming soft music. He shook my hand. “Tell me about yourself and what’s going on.” I told him the journey and said, “I need to be able to see. I can’t see my phone or my computer. I can’t even see Em on a volleyball court—making out which body was hers.”
“I’m so glad you got here when you did.” he replied. “After seeing your eye scans, you were moments away from two detached retinas and permanent damage to your corneas. We have a few options. We need to treat your eyes with a medicine ASAP. They range from a cheap medicine to a pricy one. You being a lawyer, you are like my sister, you rely on your vision. We can’t cut any corners,” he told me.
“I will need to do a shot in both of your eyes, every 30 days for a year. They are expensive. I need to get your insurance company’s approval first.” he continued. I interrupted him, “Don’t worry about that—we can pay out of pocket and let’s just get the shots now.” “No, I insist. I can get your insurance company to pay. Besides, the shots are $2000 an eye, you will need both eyes every month—for 12 months. I don’t make a penny off the shots—not a dime,” he continued.
“You’re in good hands with Doc Lopez. I’ll be in touch,” he closed. I took a deep breath and cried in the patient room. I was scared shitless. His friendly nurse came back, gave me a tissue and said, “give us a year, you’ll be okay.”
I found The Hubs in the patient room. He could tell I was crying but I played it off that my dilated eyes were red. We got into the car. I called The Folks. Again, they listened to our one-way conversation. “Wonderful—just wonderful news,” they stated. “What is wrong with them? I don’t think they get it that I can’t frickin see!” I asked The Hubs. “Yeah, they don’t get it,” he replied with a snark.
Hot Doctor’s office doesn’t mess around. The next morning, they had insurance approval and I went for eye shot number one (this was a Friday). “We can’t do shot procedures in both eyes within the same day—insurance won’t pay for it. What you doing tomorrow morning?” Hot Doctor asked me. “Tomorrow, Saturday—nothing, I can’t see remember.” I laughed with him. “8 am work for you?” he asked. “You are open on the weekends?” I questioned. “No,” he chuckled. “But, you don’t have much time to screw around. See you tomorrow.”
When we returned Saturday morning, his patient waiting room was full of patients. I was caught off-guard. Hot Doctor walked into my examination room. This time, looking like an advertisement straight out of a magazine. We finished the other eye. “I’ll see you back in 30 days—for round two,” he smiled.
After another two weeks, my vision slowly came back. The dizziness was gone. I could keep my balance. I was craving baking desperately as fall temperatures began to set in. I found, online, a sugar free, flour free chocolate chip cookie mix. I ordered four packages. When the mixes arrived, I put them in my pantry for a special day and admittedly knowing that Doc Lopez wouldn’t approve.
Before the next eye appointment, I gave my mom one of the cookie mixes. I told her, “When my special day comes, we need a treat/celebration you should make us these?” “Wonderful, just wonderful.,” she said while tucking the mix away.
We returned to Hot Doctor’s office for my round two. The same nurse did the usual eye check, scan and tests. “What eye was it, again?” she asked me. “Huh? Both of them,” I replied nervously. “Why– is it bad news?” I continued. She continued to mumble and hum to herself. I began to panic.
Hot Doctor came into my examination room. “I’ve never had this before. Your vision is 20/20. The retinas and corneas are looking damn near perfect,” he told me. “Never in my life career. Have I seen this, such rapid recovery. We aren’t going to do the second shot today. We can’t waste your insurance money,” he evaluated.
I began to cry. This time, I couldn’t help or hide my tears. “You don’t need to apologize to me. We both believe—and you know what I mean. Keep doing what you are doing. Listen to Doc Lopez. He knows what he is doing,” Hot Doctor assured me. As he walked out, he stopped in the doorway, “I’ll see you in another thirty days. We aren’t out of the woods yet.”
I told The Hubs the news. He high-fived me and got choked up himself. I called The Folks. I could tell they were crying too. “I’m going to start baking those wonderful chocolate chip cookies, you two come over.”
Fast forward, to today, I’ve never had another round of eye shots besides the first one. My vision is perfect as are my eyes’ corneas and retinas. I see Hot Doctor every four months. He smiles every visit. He always says, “You look great. Your skin tone is back. Love that smile. Keep doing what Doc Lopez tells you—he knows what he’s doing.” Then, we have a ten-minute conversation about healthcare public policy.
As a health policy wonk, I’ve come to realize that Florida health insurance is a bureaucrat nightmare. I’ve written our Governor twice begging him to let me tell him (or a congressional committee) our stories about insurance terminations for no reason, mistaken billing and endless rounds of telephone tag. It’s brutal.
We now keep a few bags of the cookie mix on hand for those special treat and celebratory days. The Hubs prefers these cookies over “regular” chocolate chip cookies.
Hot Doctor has a direct line to someone, it might not just be an insurance company. Celebrate with my favorite cookies—please know that I limit myself to just having one, keeping within Doc Lopez’ guidelines. After all, he knows what he’s doing. As does Hot Doctor. For those who “believe,” you know who else, does too!
We’re on a roll. Life is sweet.
All this made with LOVE!
Jayne (aka The No Sugar Baker!)
No Sugar Baker Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 package of Keto Candy Girl Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (www.ketocandygirl.com)
1 stick of butter
½ c Lily No Sugar Dark Chocolate Chips
½ c chopped pecans
Follow the basic instructions of the cookie mix. When mixed, add extra chocolate chips and pecans. Make 14-16 cookies from each batch by the spoonful on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 13-14 minutes. Celebrate and enjoy!