i seemed to be the only patient there. a few things had changed since my last visit: every other chair was removed for social distancing, there were social distancing dots on the floor, and they got rid of the keurig coffee/tea machine. the receptionist was a little curt, maybe she resented the fact that she had to work so early. she gave me an orange dayglow sticker to put on my shirt, the kind i get at market basket to let people know this item has been paid for. after a few minutes of waiting, a nurse came come and brought me into one of the examination rooms. she wiped down the seat i was sitting in, as if i had cooties.
the nurse went through the usual routine: asked if i noticed any flashes or floaters, asked if i had any problems with my eyes or sustained any eye injuries, asked about my medication history and whether i was allergic to anything. then she did a basic eye test using the phoropter machine ("which is clearer? 1 or 2?") before giving me some yellow drops to test for glaucoma. the yellow drops also contain a numbing agent so when the nurse touched my eyeballs with the tonometer while i look into a slit lamp, i don't feel a thing. then came the dilation drops. she told me they normally sting, but because i already had the yellow drops, i wouldn't feel anything.
i waited in the second waiting room. there was a sink so i took the opportunity to wash my hands. like outside, the chairs were spaced far apart. there was also no magazines, and i didn't want to be playing with me phone, so i just sat there, waiting for my eyes to lose focus. it was so quiet in the office, like a church or a library, the only sound the hum of the central air system running.
my eye doctor came out to greet me. i almost did recognize him because he normally wears a white lab coat but today he was just sporting a black polo shirt. in his office was his personal assistant whom i remember seeing from past visits. the visit went quick, hardly any time for chitchat, he just took a look at my eyes with one of his machines, said there wasn't much change from last time (in fact, i'd lost astigmatism on one of my eyes), and printed out a new prescription for me. it probably took less than 5 minutes and i was done.
before i left, i asked the receptionist for a sunglasses insert, as i'd be essentially blind once i went outside. they worked, but combined with the glasses and the face mask, they had a tendency to fog up so i still ended up biking home with partially visibility. i got back home a bit before 9am, the time i'd normally be waking up.
i was a vampire for most of the day. i closed the blinds so the brightness outside wouldn't hurt my eyes. i read that dilation drops wear off after 3-6 hours, so i wouldn't be back to normal until the late afternoon. hungry, i had two taiwanese sausages for breakfast. with my pupils dilated i couldn't close focus with my glasses, so had to write an e-mail with my face nearly pressed up to the laptop screen. by lunchtime it was a little better, i could at least see the screen without any problems now (although i did dim the brightness), but i still couldn't handle anything bright. peeking out the living room window, reflections from car surfaces seemed so bright they were blinding. i made a salmon cream cheese bagel sandwich for lunch.
my eyes were well enough now that i could watch shows on my macbook or on tv. after the news, i continued watching my USSR WWII documentaries. i know a lot about american battles, but very little what happened in the soviet union, in the eastern front. i also watched a few episodes of happy endings.
i was surprised to get a call from the census office. a woman with a thick hard-to-understand brazilian accent was asking me to confirm my name. it sounded like a reinterview so i thought they were checking up on one of the few cases were i used myself as a proxy. but she called just to ask me a few questions, a random test of enumerator knowledge. she asked if anyone over 15 years old can answer the census questionnaire. i told her that was true. then she asked if it's okay to use the internet as a proxy. i said that was okay, a proxy always has to be a human, whether it's the tenant, a neighbor, an apartment manager, or a field supervisor. with that i was done.
i called cambridge public works in the late afternoon to ask if my water tank was on the pickup list. cheryl wasn't there but another person took my info and said they'd check for me. if my hot water tank wasn't on there, then i was due for a refund, which might take 5-6 weeks, and it'd be in the form of a check from the city.
close to 4pm my eyes were pretty much back to normal. i still couldn't completely focus at things far away, but otherwise i had regular eyesight back. the weather was so nice, i went out for a short walk. to tag a few pokestops, but also to see if there were any trees (like sugar maples) with fall foliage colors.
back at home i realized today was already thursday. i forgot to check my bank account, where the census pays me every wednesday morning. went i went into my account something seemed off, the total balance wasn't what i remembered. maybe the census gave me a big bonus but the amount from the census was the weekly average. then i looked further down and saw i'd gotten some money from the federal CARES act. i signed up nearly 3 weeks ago after learning i could qualify for massachusetts pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) because i was supposed to start working for the census in april but then coronavirus happened and my job was temporarily on hold. the massachusetts office informed me that i needed to file regular unemployment first (which i knew i didn't qualify for) before the paperwork for PUA would go through. i did that, and it didn't seem to work because i knew i didn't quality for regular unemployment, and it was asking me for documentation that i didn't have, so i ended up cancelling the request. since i cancelled, i figured PUA was still waiting to hear back from the regular unemployment office, and meant to call them to explain my situation. but i guess i didn't need to do that, because the PUA paperwork did go through after all.
even though i woke up early and was tired to the point of sleepiness in the early evening, i forced myself to stay awake. naps are for old people! around 8pm i made dinner, reheated some more leftover chili. i'm starting to reach my chili threshold, i don't think i can at anymore. fortunately i just have one more serving left for tomorrow, then i'm done with chilis.
i checked the news online in the late evening and there was breaking news on cnn.com: trump's personal assistant hope hicks had contracted the coronavirus, and the president and the first lady were getting tested. then later in the evening i got text from maureen, who'd just learned about the news. while we were chatting, we both learned that trump and the first lady both contracted coronavirus as well it was confirmed. i've always toyed with the idea that trump should get covid-19 so he'd take more seriously, but never thought it'd actually happen, even though he's been taking a lot of unnecessary risks, with his no-mask policy and those big crowded political rallies. at this point, who else contracted the coronavirus? he was debating with biden just on tuesday, could he have accidentally given it to biden as well? what about all his family members who attended the debate and flew back with him afterwards? what about his supreme court nominee, whom he invited to the white house last week. basically the entire administration needs to be quarantined for the next 2 weeks, anyone who's come in contact with trump.
2020 is just too much!