I’m never afraid to go to the dentist or eye doctor

Image courtesy of Patryk Dziejma, StockSnapIO. Creative Commons license.

I never worry about going to the dentist or the eye doctor because we always have such fun! One of the advantages of living in a small town I guess.

My dentist is Dr. David Hanle, who is just excellent. After Chris is finished scraping the nicotine and caffeine off my teeth Dr. Hanle comes in to look for cavities. I have had a number of teeth break over the past few years, thanks to my habit of chewing ice in my youth, and he always rebuilds them. I can honestly say I have never felt pain during any of his procedures.

We talk about all kinds of stuff. They’re great at carrying one-sided conversations, as my mouth is usually stuffed with appliances, tubes, etc. They’re very good at interpreting my grunts. Chris is a championship dog trainer and enters her spaniel in shows all over the South. Dr. Hanle has a passel of kids and is very active in his church and the community. Together they’re two really great people and it’s my honor to know them.

Then there’s Dr. George Edlund at 20/20 Eye Care. I’ve been seeing him now for a decade and I always look forward to my appointments because we spend an obscene amount of time chatting, cracking jokes and otherwise goofing around. Today was no exception.

I was a little concerned about today because I’d been having some vision problems. Nothing serious, or so I hoped. When I’d stare at a computer screen for awhile I’d see dark filaments crossing my vision. I blogged about this once and the comment-leavers said I had high blood pressure or diabetes. Dr. Edlund eased my fears by pointing out the comment-leavers probably got their medical degrees online too.

He said I was probably seeing “floaters,” which occur as the vitreum in the eye begins to fractionate. It can sometimes pick up debris from the eyewall which becomes entrained in the matrix. This debris sometimes crosses your field of vision and manifests as a glowing blob, a tiny dot or a thready filament. In fact, the Latin name for “floaters” translates into “swarming gnats.”

But he did all the tests. He poured everything under the kitchen sink into my eyes.

My worst fear was the dreaded macular degeneration. I have a genetic predisposition to that awful disease. My dad and his sister had it, and my mom’s brother had it. My older sister has just been diagnosed with it. The blood supply from the back of the eye becomes impaired, which causes a person to lose his central vision. He can still see peripherally but not if he looks straight ahead. That would definitely cramp my reading, writing and web-surfing style.

Dr. Edlund pronounced me problem-free of any eye disorders. Even better, my prescription had hardly changed from almost four years ago!

At about 4:15 I was done. My eyes had been dilated so I could barely see to drive, much less read, so instead of going back to work I went home. In a week I’ll have new glasses, and the cost was only half the amount of the previous glasses!

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .


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