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The Scratched Cornea Eye Saga Continues in Ottawa

Ouch! At the Civic in Ottawa
Ouch! At the Civic in Ottawa

There is a long list of items I don’t want Mark to play with, including my laptop (banging on it won’t help Window 7 run faster), wires (kid need to be plugged in, he has enough energy already), his drawers full of clothes (because mommy is kind of sick of putting the clothes back in after he empties them) and magazines (because shredded pages are hard to read).

Well, add “eyeballs” to this list.

On Monday morning, after a night’s sleep to recover from the flight back, I drove Feng to the nearest walk-in clinic so that he could have his eye checked.

Two and a half hours later, the doctor put into his right eye the same orange-coloured eye drops the French interns had used and sighed. “Wow! That’s a big scratch!”

It had somehow gotten bigger since France—it had been the shape of Australia, it was now a huge green stain right in the middle of the eye.

She sent us to the nearest hospital.

I drove to the Civic where we took a seat in the Emergency Room. Receptionists and nurse were curt and clearly overworked and there were people waiting everywhere—on wheelchairs, in the hallway, in exam rooms… We just stood there, waiting for our turn.

Eventually, a doctor repeated the “orange eye drop” process and, once again, I saw the big scratch on the eye. She didn’t seem to be overly worried about his eye but did acknowledge it was extremely painful, and referred us to the Eye Institute at the General Hospital to make sure it was healing and wasn’t getting infected.

At 10 a.m. the next day, I drove to the General where Feng was seen by an eye specialist. Once again, we explained what happened, showed the eye drops, painkillers and ointment that were prescribed in France and Feng went through the “magic orange drop” trick. This time, the scratched looked like a map of Africa, it wasn’t as big as the day before.

“I’m going to patch it up,” the doctor say. “Give it a rest for a day, the patch will prevent you from moving your eyelids too much.”

A couple of cotton balls and a few strips of tape later, Feng looked like a WWI Veteran. “You can milk the sympathy factor!” the doctor assured him. “Or just say your wife did it.”

We returned the following day for another check-up and it seems that the eye is healing—this time, the scratch looked like Pangaea, showing only fracture lines.

Experiencing both healthcare systems, the French one and the Canadian one, was interesting. At the ER, waiting times were about the same. Triage nurses were very efficient and clearly prioritize cases very well—elderly and kids first, for instance. Feng was seen fairly quickly because I guess the eye is a pretty tricky body part.

I’m once again grateful for the Canadian healthcare system—all the visits were covered by OHIP, our provincial plan, and we didn’t have to pay for the consultations. We would have had to pay for prescriptions since we don’t have private insurance as freelancers, but we stuck to the French medicine we were prescribed at the ER last Saturday. Drugs are definitely cheaper in France and since we have them, may as well use them.

There was one major cultural difference I noted, though. When putting the eye drops, Feng winced and the three Canadian doctors we saw all said “oh, I’m sorry!”

The Green Stain is the Scratch
The Green Stain is the Scratch
War Hero
War Hero
I Ain't Done It!
I Ain’t Done It!

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