Thursday, April 01, 2010


My first glasses were plastic framed and in hindsight perilously close to the horn-rims of the 50's. They were pinkish and just horrible. Hey, what did I know about fashion? I was 11. I thought twist-beads were the end-all-be-all. At the time I was also rather plump, shopping for all my clothes in the "Pretty Plus" section at Sears. I was the quintessential nerd, lemme tell ya.

Having been in glasses for the past 26 years I have seen my fair share of lenses and frames. I've had the horn-rims, the GIGANTO round frames (think Sally Jessy Raphael), I've had square, I've had oval, I've had plastic, metal, full-frame, half-frame and for the past few years the expensive ones with the magnetic sunglass clip so I don't have to resort to wearing those flip-up sunglasses the oldsters buy at Walmart. Hey, I need my sunglasses because I so rarely leave the house and go out into the sun, well, my eyes don't like sunlight. It burns. And it's

Since I don't have insurance, I pay cash for my glasses. This is why I only get glasses every two to three years and only if I'm having issues. Like debilitating headaches. Or blindness.

I am horribly near-sighted and teetered on the edge of legally blind for years, but starting about five years ago my eyes have actually gotten a little better. The eye doctor I've seen since my tween years said I was a candidate for Lasix. I said, "Only if I find an extra $3000 someone dropped in a parking lot. Or if some long-lost aunt kicks the bucket and decided I was her favorite because she read my blog and decided I'm just that awesome. Now show me the frames, please." I have tried contacts and I am just one of "those" people who can't wear them. I am destined to a life of glasses and really, I'm okay with that. I've worn them longer than I didn't by far and I think I look funny without them on now. They complete me. I am one with the glasses.

About six months ago Kady asked me to untangle a knot in a necklace chain. I started the process of untangling when I realized I couldn't see, so I squinted. It didn't help. I opened my eyes wide. Didn't help. I looked over the top of my glasses and voila! It also became starkly clear that I was mimicking the exact routine I had seen my father do back when I was a kid and needed something untangled. I mentioned it laughingly to Mom one day and she said, "I bet you're going to need bi-focals soon, dear." I glared at her and told her that she was delirious and I was only 36 and that just wasn't going to happen. She gently reminded me that my father was in bi-focals at 16. Great.

And really, aside from an occasional moment where I had to look over the tops of my glasses I've done fine since then. I didn't do any counted cross-stitch this winter and really didn't read much either. I have yet to use that sewing machine out there collecting an impressive amount of dust. I've done my Facebooking and blogging with very little problem and can see great when driving at night and can see distances without a problem. I drove to Yukon over Spring Break - three hours of solid nighttime driving without so much as the twinge of a headache.

The Sunday of the freak Spring Break snow storm I downloaded the book The Lovely Bones to my iPod and started reading it. The print was no smaller than in a book, so I knew I wasn't straining to read something uber small, but an hour into reading it I was suddenly smacked by one of the worst headaches I've had in a long time. So bad I was nauseous and had to lie in the dark with a washcloth over my eyes for a few hours until it subsided. I get about two to three migraines a year, but this one didn't feel like a typical migraine even though it went away after doing my usual migraine relief techniques. Since that fateful headache I've been having more and more, especially after a day on the computer or reading. I can only read in about 15 minute increments and most of the time I take my glasses off to do it.

Paul's been complaining for months that he hates his glasses, he can't see at night and the computer screen he sits in front of for eight hours a day at work just gives him fits. I heaved a heavy sigh and said, "That's it. I'm making us both eye appointments."

Paul went first. The man is 47 and one of those folks who didn't get glasses until about age 35. It's a natural progression of age. So of course, his prescription needs to be strengthened, in his lens and the bi-focal, too. The eye doctor, a guy who played baseball with my high school boyfriend and is partnered up with the optometrist of my youth, suggested a new type of bi-focal for people who work on computers and heavily recommended an anti-glare coating. Paul has great vision insurance so I just nodded to everything the doctor suggested. Then it was my turn. I told him he problems I was having. He asked if it was always hard to see when I read or just sometimes. He nodded and hmmh'd as he asked me more questions - driving, computer work, etc. He said, "Here's what I think. We've got one of two scenarios going on. Either your prescription has changed again are going to go into bi-focals early." I told him to bite his tongue and gave him a very nasty look. He examined my eyes and for the distance stuff I did great. But man, when he put that itty bitty text right up in front of my face and spotlighted it, it was a booger to read. Then he did his magic little "Better 1 or 2.....3 or 4....4 or 5...." schpiel and suddenly I could read that teeny tiny little blurb about the grass on the hillside exploding into green or something like that.

He took the equipment away from my face, put his hands on his knees and said, "Well, dear, here's the thing: Your distance vision hasn't changed a bit. Your prescription doesn't need to be adjusted in the least....." and then he took a deep breath and said, "....but you need bi-focals."

I would've immediately burst into tears had it not been for the fact that my tearful explosion was pre-empted by my husband's exuberant guffaw. He was laughing at me! Laughing at my optical misfortune! For better or worse obviously didn't cover "In single vision or bi-focals".  Then he told the eye doctor WHO IS ONLY A YEAR OLDER THAN ME BY THE WAY that I had been making fun of him for two years since he got bi-focals. LIAR! My husband LIED to our optometrist! I don't know what came over that man. It's not enough that I am ten years his junior and have WAY more gray hair than he does, but now I'm in bi-focals as well. And as if the laughing at my unfortunate optical development wasn't enough he then TOLD the doctor I had more gray hair than him. Then? THEN? He told the OTHER eye doctor the same thing! Oh, he was having a grand ol' time, lemme tell ya.

Dr. Walls was very nice about it really and while yes, he did chuckle at my husband's obvious mirth, he sweetly said, "We'll make sure you get a no-line and then no one but you, me and your husband have to know, okay?" And to that Paul laughed again and said, "Are you kidding? As soon as you walk out of this exam room she's going to put it on Twitter and Facebook! She can't keep a secret! Even one like this!"

And he was right. Even though my eyes were dilated and I couldn't see worth a whit I managed to tweet and Facebook update right then and there. I also sent a text to my mother and sister, knowing they would have words of comfort and wisdom for me because, after all, they are my two best friend. Sister immediately sent a text that said, "Make sure you ask for the package deal - the one where they throw in the walker with the tennis balls on the feet." I text her back immediately as well, but I won't write here what I called her. I'll let you use your imagination.

I picked out some cute purplish, mauve-ish frames which, of course, have the sunglasses clip. My husband and I got the same exact lenses, the Definity and anti-glare lenses. His, with his insurance, cost $280. Mine without insurance cost SIX HUNDRED FIFTEEN DOLLARS. It's fun going directly from the eye doctor to the bank to withdraw from your savings just so you can see. I considered taking out another $100 because a trip to the salon to cover all the gray taking over my head felt in order at that point, but I resisted. 

Paul's boss sent me a text later in the day suggesting I look into AARP's vision discount plan. I told her to shut her mouth or I would beat her with my cane.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just wait until you can't see at night with the headlight glare and the doctor tells you you have "incipient cataracts."

so you have to have cataract surgery.

And you're way too young.

WAY too young.


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