Since it was only the two of us, we left the crew van in Tuolumne and drove Moose’s personal truck down to Yosemite Valley. I didn’t have to wait very long to get into an exam room.
The doc, a younger guy, put some drops in my eyes to dilate the pupils. We had to wait a few minutes for them to dilate. I was wearing my dirty old trail clothes in their nice clean exam chair. My hair was long enough by now that I kept it out of my face with a bandana tied around my head. Yes, I was self-conscious in such a clean place!
The doc finally pulled a chair up close and looked at my eyes through a magnifier with an attached UV light. The drops had also added some luminescence to any irregularities in my eyes. After a while, he said, “Wel-l-l-l, I don’t think it is conjunctivitis. I see a tiny little scratch on one cornea that is infected, but I don’t see anything on the other eye that should be causing problems. Let me get the other doctor to give it a look.”
An older doctor came in and spent a few minutes looking. “Oh-h-h-h, yes-s-s. Ver-r-r-ry hard to see. Take a look at this,” he said as he stepped aside for the younger doctor. The younger doctor looked through the magnifier as the older doctor said, “Take a look at the superior edge of the iris. It almost matches the curve of the iris, so it is camouflaged in there.”
The younger doctor now saw it, too. Both corneas had infected scratches.
“Had you been hit in the eyes by anything in the couple of days before your eyes got weepy enough to crust over?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t remember anything like that.”
“Any unusual irritation to your eyes?”
I thought back. The only thing close to that as far as I could remember was getting a face full of dust from a passing mule string the previous Friday. I remembered rubbing my eyes harder than usual.
“That could well have been it. Well, we’ll get you some antibiotic drops for the infection. Apply them four times a day. We would like to see you back for a follow-up in a couple of days.”
“The clinic is open on Saturday?”
“Oh, yes. Just come back in so we can be sure we’ve solved the problem.”
Come back Saturday. Did that mean that Moose and I were going to have to hike back up to Vogelsang today, only to hike back down and do it all again on Saturday?
Moose, as always, had a plan. As we drove back to Tuolumne in the MOOSEX4, she asked me, “Can you drive a stick?”
“Sure. My first car was a VW Beetle.”
“OK, here’s the plan. We’ll see if the packers can use you to work around the stable tomorrow, and then you can drive my truck down to the Clinic on Saturday. Come back up to Vogelsang when you’re done.”
I was honored that Moose would trust me to drive her truck.