In honor of hitting the big 4-4 this week, I’ve chosen to reveal my most recent age related humiliation. I have several but thankfully they have yet to include false teeth falling out at dinner or adult diapers. I’m old, but I’m not that old.
Way back in Ms. Fox’s 7th grade science class (She was the first Ms. teacher I ever experienced and since feminism hadn’t reached rural Iowa yet I didn’t understand why she didn’t just go with Miss. I get it now Ms. Fox – good on you sister.) Anywhooo, after copying a series of particularly boring notes on cell division from the board, I glanced at my lab partner’s paper only to realize that what I’d interpreted as miscellaneous squiggles (Because isn’t that what any cell diagram really is – squiggles?) were actually words. Troubled by this development, I approached my mother who’d been wearing glasses since about birth, and said, “I think I might need glasses.”
As luck would have it I did and after much deliberation I picked out a pair of horn-rimmed glasses just like Bailey’s from WKRP in Cincinatti. (If you’re under 40, Google her. She was awesome.) Bailey with her nerdy, brainiac look and early 80’s G-rated sarcasm was my idol and I was elated to take my adoration to the emulation level. But I soon realized that glasses suck. In the winter they fog up. In the summer they slide down your nose. You can’t wear trendy sunglasses and when you sit on them and break them, your parents want to set you on fire. (They didn’t actually Joan of Arc me, but the fear was real.)
Fortunately, I learned to survive using my glasses only in class for many, many years. Then somewhere in my 30’s I needed them for the computer and eventually to drive at night but mostly I got by without them for close to 20 years. With both of my pregnancies everything shifted – and though the neck down shifting was less than desirable, the neck up shifting gave me stellar vision. Both times I didn’t need my glasses until three or four months after giving birth when things re-shifted. But this last time around, oh baby did things shift in a bad way.
Since I was old when I had the Nugget, by the time my vision shifted back to what I thought was normal I was almost 42 and when I went in for a new prescription I heard the dreaded B-word – bifocal. How could I have an infant and need bifocals? Mother nature you are a cruel hussy. But faced with the choice between squinting 24/7 like Mama June Booboo or wearing b…b…bifocals, I accepted the latter. The doughboy who fit my new frames assured me that with progressives no one would ever guess I was wearing b…b…bifocals. But what he didn’t explain was that I wouldn’t be able to see out of them either.
After mulitpule refittings they decided to check my prescription. When I said, “I can’t see out of them. I’m 42 and I can’t see 20 feet away. I think that’s the problem.” The rather surly woman replied, “Well, at your age eyes change.”
Of course eyes change you bimbo, isn’t that what glasses are for?
Fast forward a year – In a fit of desperation I decided to go online and MacGyver my own prescription by mixing a few old ones. A few online tutorials, some measuring and $24.99 later I received a pair of glasses in my mailbox that changed my life. I saw clearly for the first time in two years. Sure, I had a giant granny-line in the middle of my lens that said, “Look at me, I’m old!” but with the vision I had, I didn’t care. I realized that if I wore them all the time, I saw even better so I ordered three more pairs and officially shifted my love from shoes to glasses.
But a few months ago, everything shifted again. I wasn’t able to count the feathers on the bird three streets over any more. No matter how many times I nodded my head up and down I couldn’t get anything to sharpen. There was only one answer; I was going blind. I didn’t want worry the Turk that he was doomed to a life of leading me around so I had Number One Son read all tiny print and hoped for the best when driving.
As things got worse I braced myself for my impending fate. Outside I waved farewell to the trees and birds. I stared lovingly at my children’s faces hoping to emblazon them into my memory. I saved countless audio books for when I could no longer survive with even the geriatric large print and then, I sucked it up and made an appointment with a new eye doctor to hear the bad news.
My new eye doctor was 12, but maybe bad news feels better if delivered by Doogie Houser? After a thorough exam and his proclamations of utter amazement at my ability to MacGyver my own prescription, he broke the news. “Sometimes, after a late in life pregnancy and nursing things continue to adjust for quite some time. That’s what you’re experiencing.” I gripped the edges of the chair waiting for him to lower the boom and tell me where to buy my white cane. “I do need to tweak your prescription, but overall, you just need to use eye drops. Your eyes are too dry and that’s what changing your vision.”
Huh? Eye drops? Well how ‘bout that.
He sent me home with a sample and within hours, I was back to counting the dust spots on my neighbor’s chandelier through my MacGyvered prescription. (The man really should put up some blinds.)
My new glasses should arrive Friday but I don’t feel like I really need them. I mean, I did just put an end to degenerative blindness with a couple drops of Visine, I’m good. If only there was a drop of something for an overactive imagination…