I was going blind

It’s five months since my left eye was relieved of its cataract. After the surgery, repeat visits to the optometrist made life exciting and irritating as I waited for my new lens to find a permanent place on my eyeball. During the extended healing process, the lens had wandered about aimlessly, depriving me of new glasses that would finally correct my vision and let me stop bumping into things like a real-life Mr. Magoo.

Three weeks ago my optometrist, Dr. B, finally declared me stable and did the usual, “Is 2 better than 1…is 3 better than 2?” Satisfied with my answers, he wrote up the new prescription and escorted me to the fancy room where I could spend a lot of money on shiny new frames and lenses.

While Jackie looked on, Heidi took me under her wing and paraded a sea of frames that might suit my manly face and sexy brown eyes. With each pair, I turned to Jackie for a sign of approval. No, not sexy enough, try another. Nope, close, but not quite suitable for a man of my stature. “Wait”, Jackie said, “I think these are perfect for you.” Heidi agreed and started to list the add-ons…anti-scratch, UV protection, etc. She totaled my bill; it reminded me of my first new car.

A week later Heidi called. “Your new glasses are here, come on in.” I went back, put them on and stared at Heidi as she evaluated the fit. “Let me adjust them a bit and they will be perfect. You’ll love em.” She did, and I was. Funny thing though, they looked a lot like my old glasses.

I was a happy camper as I stared out the shop window and focused on distant objects. Bright and sharp. After five months I could see again without trying to force things into focus. My time in purgatory served, I drove home scanning the license plates of adjacent cars and marveling on my ability to read them without squinting.

I wear my glasses like I wear my shoes. Constantly adjusting the fit to eliminate any discomfort, I push the frames up the bridge of my nose to loosen them before they take root. I twiddle with the earpieces to eliminate hot spots. Despite this constant attention, new glasses invariably warrant a trip back to the optometrist for professional tweaking. Trusting me with that task would result in the bungling destruction of the fragile and very expensive frames.

Like other professional services coping with the new world of Covid, Dr. B requires an appointment just to tweak frames. So, I obediently made one three days hence for Wednesday afternoon at 3.

Since I was going, I figured I might as well take my old useless glasses and get new lenses. Just in case I needed a spare due to forgetting where I stowed the new ones, or I was stomped by an Asian Elephant on my way to my favorite Thai restaurant.

Armed with both pairs, I arrived at Dr. B’s before 3. Heidi went into her secret room, did some incantations, massaged my new glasses, handed them back to me, smiled and said, “Looks great.” I yanked on the frames; they stayed in place without jamming the earpieces into my skull. My handsome nose wasn’t pinched. It was all good.

We talked about the old glasses and decided they would do nicely as a spare even with the outdated prescription. Happy that I had dodged another financial bullet, I drove home.

It was late November, and the days were getting shorter. When I got home, the sun was nearly down. I donned my evening wear ($12 Amazon sweatpants and a three-year-old T-shirt from Rains Department Store’s 20% off sale). Time to relax and watch episode 134 of Grey’s Anatomy.

We always watch TV with closed captions. I’ve been doing it for so long that I am fixated on them; sometimes I can’t identify the characters because I’m too busy reading the captions. I’ve tried breaking myself of the habit, but the trauma is too much for me; I’m probably an addict in need of Captions Anonymous.

I was surprised and disappointed with the clarity of the captions. I had been able to decipher license plates today that were as far away as the next county, so what was going on now? I moved my glasses up and down my nose looking for a sweet spot. Maybe I was looking through the bottom of my bifocals. I squinted to no avail. Had I been too easy with Heidi? Too willing to accept less than perfection.

Jackie looked at me and said, “Why are fiddling with your new glasses?”

I told her and she sweetly offered a possible explanation, “Maybe you’re just tired and so are your eyes, what with the poking and squeezing you’ve been through today. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll see a whole lot better.”

I was not a happy camper, but I went to bed hoping Jackie was right, like always. If not, Heidi was going to get an earful.

Up at 6 and onto the treadmill. I switched on ABC-7 news. Tired of watching the weather forecast every three minutes (even if Leslie Lopez is a gorgeous weatherwoman), I focused on the crawler at the bottom of the screen. But I couldn’t read it even though it was on a 56-inch TV six feet from my face. Unfortuantely Jackie had, for one of the rare times in our relationship, been wrong.

I spent the morning staring fixedly at everything, hoping the problem would go away. It wouldn’t, so I called Dr. B’s office and said “There’s something wrong with these glasses, or with me. My vision is ca-ca. I need to see someone, soon. I made an appointment for the next day.

With nothing to do but wait, I focused on the problem. Random thoughts flew through my head. I wondered how quickly macular degeneration could become unmanageable. Or maybe my vision problem was related to my recent vertigo episode. Or maybe it really wasn’t vertigo, but was symptomatic of a brain tumor. I reviewed all the possibilities described in Webster’s Medical Dictionary.

The day and the night passed with no improvement. I slept fitfully and awoke the next morning, squinted at my face in the mirror, saw no improvement in it or in my eyes, and prepared myself for any eventuality.

I had my usual Peet’s coffee delivered by Keurig; this time tasteless despite doubling the Splenda dose. Reading emails, I skipped right over the solution to erectile disfunction, pleas for money from unknown politicians who were trying to save the world as I knew it, and a note from someone who claimed I had just inherited the gross national product of Botswana.

Time to go to see Heidi. I went into the garage, opened the driver side door and, despite my sleep-deprived feebleness, deposited myself behind the steering wheel.

Turning my head to the right, I saw a familiar glasses case on the passenger seat. Must be the case for the new glasses I was wearing, I thought. I picked it up and heard a rattle. Hmmm, not empty?

I opened the case and found a pair of glasses that looked like the ones I was already wearing. I examined them more closely. No scratches, no smudged lenses, no bite marks on the earpieces. What the hell? Could I be wearing my old glasses with the outdated prescription? The ones that made reading closed captioning nearly impossible. Had I been wearing the old ones while my new ones were sitting on my carseat for two days, and I was thinking I had a brain tumor?

And then I laughed.

Went to see Heidi anyway. She laughed too.

2 Responses to “I was going blind”


  1. 1 Harry December 2, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Glad there was such an easy solution to your problem

    Like

  2. 2 jackielakshmi December 2, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Another great adventure, eventhough I heard it bit by bit in detail before it hit the paper, I was still anxiously awaiting the next word !
    Amazing as always😍

    Liked by 1 person


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