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Sore eyes & high BP |

Modern Living

Sore eyes & high BP

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star

Sometime last week I noticed my eyes getting tearful. I would be speaking to someone and suddenly a tear trickled down, forcing the other person to ask, “Are you crying?  Shouldn’t you see an ophthalmologist?”

If you know me, you know I would answer, “No.”  I don’t really believe in going to the doctor and I don’t believe in chemical drugs.  But about two nights ago my eyes were so itchy on the outside corners and this morning I had a hard time opening them because they were stuck together with gunk. I looked in the mirror. My eyes were red. Omigod, I panicked, I must have sore eyes. I have never had sore eyes before so I don’t know what to do. Then I remembered someone saying she went to the emergency room of a hospital.

So I went to my closet, pulled out the first pair of pants that I hadn’t worn in a long time so there were almost permanent wrinkles where it was folded over a hanger and a big printed blouse that ballooned over the pants. I combed my hair but had no makeup, no jewelry, nothing. I rushed to the Cardinal Santos Hospital looking like an old bag lady.

At the emergency room I had to write down my name, address, my specifics.  I told them I thought I had sore eyes, showed them my eyes, and expected to be told what to do. Instead they sent someone to take my blood pressure (BP).  It was 180/110, which was exceptionally high. So the intern brought me a wheelchair.

“I can walk,” I protested.

“No, ma’am, your blood pressure is very high. That’s too much of a risk. I will wheel you in and you lie down.”

“But I don’t want to lie down,” I said, as he wheeled me in. “I’m only here for my eyes. Not my blood pressure.”

“But your BP is high,” he said, and he fixed the bed, raising the head so I would not have to lie down flat.  Then he took the chair and left me sitting on the bed.

A woman came and I told her, “I am here for my eyes only. Can I get assistance for my eyes? I know why my BP is high. I have problems okay? But nothing will happen.  My eyes need attention.”

She left then returned and said, “Ma’am, the opthal (that’s the word she used) who is here is Dr. Olivares. I already called Belle, her secretary and she is waiting for you.”

“The doctor is in already?” I asked.  “Yes, ma’am,” she said. So I walked through the maze that hospitals have become trying to find the office of Dr. Olivares.  I found her.  She was young and she wore jewelry similar to the ones I like to make.  She looked at my name and asked, “Are you Tweetums?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I think we’re related,” she said.  “My mother is a Sy-quia.”

Probably by affinity, I said.  My mother’s oldest sister married a Sy-quia.

“Tita Caring,” she said and I nodded. “My grandfather was the brother of her husband, Pete.  My grandfather was Leopoldo.”

“Tito Ponding!” I exclaimed though suddenly I wasn’t sure if it was Polding or Ponding and his wife Tita Nena. I remembered them well.

“Who is your mother?” I asked.

“Peewee,” she said.

“I know Peewee, and Mackie and Cristina. I was closest to Cristina before she passed on. We were around the same age. Tell your mom I said hello.”

“My nickname is Tweetie,” she said, “and my mother always said it was similar to the nickname of Tita Caring’s niece, Tweetums.”

“We meet at last.”

 She looked at my eyes. Yes, she confirmed, it is sore eyes.  You don’t get it from the air.  It is not that contagious.  It becomes contagious when say you have sore eyes, you rub them then you hold a cup that someone then picks up and holds and then she scratches her eyes.  Then she will have sore eyes.

“I have a meeting this afternoon,” I said, “do you suggest I go?”

“No,” she said, “stay home and relax. The emergency room said your BP is too high.”

“Yes it is,” I said, “but it doesn’t bother me.”

 When you’re panicked over the itchiness of your eyes, then you’re told your BP is sky high, then an opthal, who turns out to be a totally delightful sort of relative, verifies that you have sore eyes, it is initially comforting. But when you get home and get a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize how ugly you look, how your sore eyes tend to isolate you and how high your BP is, suddenly you get a little demoralized, slightly depressed.

 Ah well, c’est la vie. Please be patient with me.

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