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We're all squeamish about one body part or another

I have this theory that everyone has some part of their body about which they are just flat squinchy.

My mom was freaky about her ears. It just creeped her out to have anyone snooping about in her aural cavities. Which, trust me, made things more than a little challenging when it was time for her to get hearing aids.

For me, it's the peepers. I don't like going to the eye doctor. Oh, I like my kindly optometrist just fine. I just don't like all the lights he points in my eyes.

Heck, I don't even like seeing police strobes. Or commercials that flash images too quickly. It makes me feel disoriented and gives me the heebie jeebies. I always look away.

I also dislike being asked a zillion questions about which ant-scrawl is more legible during the vision exam. I feel so stupid when I can't spy the difference between A or B.

"Um ... The first one? No ... Wait. The second one. Wait ... Can you do it again?"

Doc is very patient with my dithering.

He's also the soul of compassion when I freak out at the mere mention of the "D" word. I suspect he's used to it. We've been together for a dozen years. But I've yet to let him dilate my eyeballs. Ever.

I have this horror that my eyes will never un-dilate. Or that the solution will cause all my aqueous humor to leak out and make a mess of my best blouse. Or that something vital to existence as we know it will occur during the dilation period that will require me, and only me, to read fine print in order to save the world.

Not buying it? Fine. Basically, I'm just an eyeball weenie.

Doc and I both know he has to try to get me to submit to the inner-eye exam. It's part of the doctors' code. "Try to help all — even the paranoid idiots."

I hadn't been in for an exam since 2009. But he hadn't forgotten my little quirk. During Tuesday's visit, Doc couched his request in hopeful yet realistic terms.

"I don't suppose you're going to let me dilate your eyes this visit?" His voice rose on the last word, and he offered an engaging smile.

I was ready for the question. And determined to appear nonchalant as I willed my racing heart to a steadier pace.

"Oh gosh," I said, returning the smile. "Sorry. I can't this time. Have to get back to work. Very important story waiting."

I should have smelled a trap. But I walked right into it. In the years since my last visit, Doc had purchased himself a new little machine. One that could plumb the depths of my inner eyeball. All I had to do was step into the next room. (Dum-dum-dummmm.)

"Just look right in here," the technician said, adding I should stick one eye in the peephole and line my vision up with the red dot and the green perimeter. Or maybe it was the other way around?

"Don't blink," she said. "There's going to be a BIG flash of light."


"Oops. You blinked."

A few minutes later, Doc came in the room and peered at a small circular shadow on one of my peeper's images. Most likely a freckle, he said.

In my eyeball?

"Who gets freckles IN their eyeballs?" I asked.

Turns out lots of folks. But first we'd need to return to the exam room. Doc needed to know my circle was flat. He needed to know it wasn't "something else."

"Like a tumor?

He nodded. I gulped. And instantly teared up.

Great. I already have the parrot. Add an eye patch and a wooden peg leg and I can finally realize my dream of becoming a Pirate Queen.

Back in the exam room there were more bright lights. More hmm-ing. More sweaty palms on my part.

Thankfully, the mystery dot is just a freckle. And I continue life as a two-eyed Drama Queen.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.