Saturday, March 8, 2014

It's Been Awhile

It's been quite some time, in fact, that I've had a Kaiser blooper story to tell. In the past, it was about Jie Jie's care. Today, it's about my own care.

The story began a couple years ago when I needed new contact lenses. Since I was 18, I've always gone to a local optometric practice and had excellent care even though it changed hands a few times. Since I now had Kaiser insurance, I figured I'd go there. Big mistake.

First, I was diligent and called to find out what the co-pay was. It was $100. Yes, pretty hefty, but not too bad compared to a full exam paid in cash at the optometrist. So I go to Kaiser. Then I find out that for my $100, I get half the tests my other doctor performed and it's only for glasses. If I want contact lenses, I have to make another appointment and pay another $100. Needless to say, I complained loud and clear since I had been specific on the phone when making my appointment what my needs were and no one told me that it would involve two visits and I was already missing work. The doctor took pity on my and said she's fitted people for contacts before and would fit me. She did and prescribed a disposable lense for me since my current brand had been discontinued.

I bought the lenses and had trouble immediately. After never ever having any trouble at all, I figured it must be the new lenses and I must have to get used to them. I struggled for 9 months before going back. I know that seems long, but I was a new mom and Jie Jie's medical issues were more important at the time. When I finally did go back, I paid another $100 and was told by the same doctor that my contacts were fine, despite my pain and their blurriness, and she said I had irritated and dry eyes due to allergies and gave me some over-the-counter drops.

The trouble persisted and I even bought two more boxes of those lenses over the next year. You know how it is, trips to China, new kids... The mom's needs are always put last. Well, today was my day and I skipped Kaiser altogether and went to my aunt's optometrist and I'm so glad I did. I received a very thorough examination and set of tests for barely more than $100, he listened to my trouble, gave me some contacts to try that felt perfect immediately. I showed him my old lenses, which I'd brought and he said, "These don't look right. Your corneas have a steeper curve." Well, I happened to have the old box still in my purse and pulled it out and showed it to him. He exclaimed, "No wonder you've had trouble! These are the wrong size! These don't even fit your eyes!"

Yes, the Kaiser doctor measured my eyes wrong the first time and didn't catch the bad fit the second time and misdiagnosed me. Every time I blinked wearing those lenses, they'd move across my eyeballs, irritating my eyes. It's also why everything was blurry.

I can't tell you how good my eyes have felt today and how wonderfully clear everything looks. I'm going back in a week to try a different brand, actually the same brand I've been using, but in the correct size. This doctor believes in getting the fit and brand right, something I'm very, very grateful for. It's such a relief to know my eyes are fine, too, that the blurriness isn't due to age or tiredness or some dread disease.

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