John Tang

A Scheduled Eye Appointment

Posted in Sketchbook by Jt's Item Roster on May 3, 2010

A Scheduled Eye Appointment

Saturday afternoon I heard Sasha scheduled an appointment at one-thirty. Yesterday a patient was disappointed in his ability wearing contact lenses. He was a teen who just began freshmen year in high school, skin to the bone, had a full-set of oily hair, which at times veiled his large forehead. Sitting, leaning over on the table, he asked, “You didn’t have this much problem, did you?” “Worse,” I said. Both of my eyes were red, burning, crying before my coworker (With my fingers I showed the water-fall flow of tears down my puffy checks). My coworker was much more patient, who was Sasha. Today I wanted share the story with her, somehow reminisce over my training, but she arrived early, one o’clock, with her mom. She wore a white pea coat and had her brown, bushy, frizzled-hair down for awhile. I was eating adobo in Tupperware, sitting on the table at the back.

“How’s it been, Sasha?” I gave her high-five.

“I’m good.” She gave an absurd look, wide eyed, as if I was a new employee here or some sales associates from a department store. She asked. “And you?”

“I’m good. You’re early, though.” I said. “We were just eating. Did you want some adobo?”

“No, I’m good.” She looked around at the boards. “Just going to pick something first.”

“I’ll let you do your thing, then.”

Surprised, I stepped into the back of the office behind the eyeglass tower. Forking down lunch, in the corner of the Tupperware there oil collected and soon slid under the rice, leaving a dull and slimy taste on the hump of my tongue. I put down and refilled another cup of water, as I saw Vanessa do Sasha’s pretest in the darkest corner of the building, where patients could dilate before the main exam. I finished lunched and brought the cup to the front desk, where Sasha’s mother saw me walking, and I offered her a cup of water, then apologized our office didn’t have a water cooler but could afford a flat-screen television set, which was on top of the Oakley display case.  No, she said in her Japanese accent. She was fine.

Everything was neatly finished: The Daily Log was transcribed into the computer, all the patients were recorded, including their purchases, and basic office supplies were put away neatly in the cubby and drawers and shelves—paper clips, pens, pencils, sticky-notes. I double-checked everything, again, when I saw Vanessa sit Sasha in the examining room. She placed her chart on the front desk, as I double-checked that, too, if it was recorded in today’s log, even only a few minutes ago I saw her name written in Vanessa’s handwriting with a pen.

“She’s very pretty.” Vanessa said.


“Did you say anything?”

“Tried,” I said. “It was as if she doesn’t remember me.”

“I didn’t get that vibe at all.” She said. “What did you talk about?”

“Arian.” I said. He was a friend we all knew well. “I think she doesn’t remember my name.”

“She said your name.” Vanessa said. “I don’t know. I wasn’t fully paying attention.”

“How come you put her in, already?” I asked. “Dr. Huey just started his lunch.”

“Sorry, it’s just the flow of things.” She said, “To get them in after pretests.”

“I’ll get her out.”

“You get her out.” She said. “Then you talk to her.”

Sasha knew the routine as well: During lunch we would sit patients in the examining room, so they wouldn’t feel as if there time was wasted. I gave two hollow knocks on the door and opened it.

“I didn’t want leave you in the dark.” I said. “Dr. Huey just started his lunch.”

“I know.” She laughed. “I really don’t want to be in the dark, either.”


2 Responses

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  1. RICA said, on May 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I’m really loving these true-to-life stories… They’re simple, detailed moments I would never usually hear in a conversation.

  2. RICA said, on May 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    and the new banner is awesome! in your element.

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