Back On Schedule

The following conversation recently took place in a local health care provider’s office. All names have been deleted in order to protect confidentiality and the sacred bong bond between doctor and patient:

Doctor: “I noticed that your eye pressure is up a lot today. Have you been taking your glaucoma drops?”

Patient: “Yup, sure have Doc–religiously.”

D: “I don’t understand. Your pressure has never been this high before, and as you know, you have very bad tunnel vision from your glaucoma and you can’t afford to have your pressure stay that high for very long. Has anything else changed in your life?”

P: “What do you mean?”

D: “You know, any extra stress, any new medications like steroids, any extra caffeine for instance?”

P: “Well…no…not that I can think of.”

D: “Are you sure? Think harder.”

P: “Uh, well there is one thing I should probably tell you.”

D: (on the alert now for extreme understatement) “Go on.”

P: “Well, you see, I’ve been smoking marijuana for years, and lately, I’ve started having some breathing problems. I told my primary care doctor about it, and she says that I’ve got to stop smoking joints. It’s killing me, but I’m really trying to go cold turkey.”

D: “That’s interesting, and it may explain why your pressure is up. You see, marijuana lowers eye pressure, and in your case, has most likely added to the effect of your eye drops. When you stopped, your pressure went up.”

P: (leaning forward, clearly interested now). “You mean to tell me that grass is actually good for my glaucoma?”

D: “Well, uh, it lowers the pressure, yes, but it may have other harmful effects for your eyes and obviously the rest of your body, such as your lungs. If your primary care doctor told you to stop it, you should. We have other eye drops and if need be, surgery, to treat your glaucoma. Those are safer options than marijuana–and legal ones.”

P: “Yeah, but, if my vision is that bad, and I’m only 48 years old, then don’t you think…”

D: “Listen, let’s add another eye drop to your schedule, and promise me you won’t smoke any marijuana. It’s very important that I be able to measure the effect of the extra drop only without throwing something else in the mix.”

P: (smiling) “Whatever you say Doc…”

3 weeks later…

D: (full of pep and optimism) “Good to see you! Your pressure is back down to a normal level. Quite low, actually. The new eye drop is apparently working!”

P: (smiling in a very mellow way) “Good to see you too Doc! Man, you look mighty fine today. Have you lost some weight? And that beard, that really suits you. Downright GQ!”

D: “Uh, thanks, yes I have in fact. (shifting gears) And how about that eye pressure! Are you getting your eye drops in on time every day?”

P: “I’m back on schedule, Doc.”

D: “Uh, ‘back on schedule’ with the drops I assume, right?”

P: “Uh, yeah, riiiight…”

D: “Well, okay then. Moving right along…”

  1. eyegal

    Boy do I live in a sheltered world. I thought illegal drugs were actually illegal and regular people just didn’t do them.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Being an optometrist all these years has been a real eye opener for me.

    Regular people? Heh. That’s a good one, Eyegal.

  3. JRB

    I had an opponent in court this summer, an unlikable man representing himself.

    Judge: “Mr. M, do you get drunk or use illegal drugs?”

    Mr. M: “No, ma’am. I mean, except I really do love my pot, you know, but that’s all I do.”

    Judge: “Were you using drugs that weekend [when you (allegedly) beat your wife with a bat] that might have made you forget what happened?”

    Mr. M: “No, ma’am. The only thing I do is pot. I do love my pot.”

    Judge: “Do you think you might have gotten a bad batch, laced with something?”

    Mr. M: “Oh, no, ma’am! (quite confident in the quality and purity of his product)”

    My client prevailed, by the way, our opponent’s remarkable candor to the court notwithstanding.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    So much for disarming the judge with remarkable candor.

  5. JRB

    For some reason, she just wasn’t sympathetic to his cause.

  6. double vision

    Conversation sounds very similar to one or two I’ve heard. Seems that it lowers IOP more than the 1-2 mmHg that I’ve always been taught.

    I’ve not ever been for medical marijuana in the past but stories like yours and mine make me at least think about entertaining the notion. Not sure I could ever be for it but it is food for thought. Why mess with success-huh?

  7. double vision

    Hey, that sacred bong stuff between dr and pt.–remember the OD in TN that had the pot plants in a tree house in Murfreesboro. I guess he took that whole sacred bong thing to a new level. I think he just got probation for 2-3 years when convicted.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s more than 1-2mmHg. It makes me wonder how many more “loss of control” cases over the years have involved the cessation of marijuana. I guess I’m going to have to start asking some different questions. A central visual field of less than 5 degrees at age 48 adds a different perspective, doesn’t it?

    I vaguely remember the tree-house incident. Wasn’t he “recommending” it for just about every patient who came through the door? 🙂

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