I had an eye appointment a couple of days ago. About a year ago I noticed a wispy, floaty something or other in my left eye. Luckily it was a fairly common retina/aging thing. Maybe it was caused by some trauma years ago, maybe not. I have taken a soccer ball and a baseball to the face once or twice.

The wispy floaty thing came out of nowhere, and while it was hard to describe, something just felt off. That’s how the past few weeks have been with the same eye. I called UW Medicine. They walked through a series of questions to determine the urgency. They decided that I didn’t need to get in immediately.

Time for the appointment. I was running late, so I sprint walked over to First Hill. The doctor’s assistant and the doctor were great. They patiently (or doctorly) went through a series of tests. My vision overall is pretty good. They could have just said that it was probably age related, take dry eye drops and regular breaks from the computer screen, and let us know how it is in 6 months. But the doctor took some extra time looking around, noticed something, and requested a scan. That scan was incredible – mapped my eye like something out of a sci-fi story.

There’s some scarring in the left eye that’s probably related to the retina damage. Might stay constant or it could get worse. The doctor told me there are surgeries for that sort of thing, but given that my vision is good, the doctor told me that most surgeons would tell me to hold off.

I couldn’t stop thinking about two things. I have access to excellent healthcare. Too many people do not. I know the costs and policy are complex, but it’s a shame that a global superpower hasn’t figured out a better way to ensure everyone has affordable, quality healthcare. I know I know, how are you going to pay for that. That question never gets raised when there’s a foreign military adventure to get involved in or a shiny new aircraft carrier to buy. And if you think the Pentagon tracks its spending accurately, well… Other countries with less means have better healthcare systems in place. Ours often comes down to “don’t be poor”.

The other thing I was thinking about was that my excellent doctors and doctor’s assistants at UW have all been women. This may not be a scientific observation, but in my experience,I have found that women doctors listen better, ask questions and wait for the answers, and seem calmer. Those are all important to me.

I lied, I was also thinking about another thing. I had to wear those ridiculous glasses they hand out for people who’ve had their eyes dilated. One nice thing about getting older is that I didn’t care how they looked. I did go buy a cheap pair of sunglasses, but that’s because the ones provided fit terribly, and I wasn’t going home.

I took some photos during and after the walk. I think I need to clean my sensor.


Cal Anderson Park, Seattle.

Cal Anderson Park, Seattle.


Seattle. Find the helicopter, not my dirty sensor or lens.

Seattle. Find the helicopter, not my dirty sensor or lens.


The Sorrento, First, Hill, Seattle.

The Sorrento, First, Hill, Seattle.