I Don’t Need Reading Glasses, or Do I?
To my two friends, Holly-In-Denial, and Dawn-Been-there-Already.
So, after our conversation about deteriorating eyesight, I thought much about going to get my eyes checked, just to confirm my worst fear…that I am losing my sight.
I prepared the girls (I didnt prepare George). The girls’ biggest concern was I would get prescription glasses and get the absolutely wrong kind. The kind that old mom’s wear. See, they can’t stand the thought of me being an old mom. They are about to completely take over my wardrobe choices, but thats a story for another day!
Last Thursday, we had an appointment for physical check-ups for our work permit papers in RSA. In the same hall as the doctors’, there’s an an eye clinic. So while we were waiting to be called in, i walked into the eye clinic to make some enquiries. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the truth yet, so I thought I would ask how much they charged, hoping it would be too much and I would say, “Ah, I can’t afford it right now.”
I was determined to skirt around the issue as much as I could. See, I was in denial about the deterioration of my eyesight (aren’t we all?)
I first told them I had heard they do free eye exams for kids and they said, “yes, once every year, but we are booked till October.” My first thought was, “Yes, I can delay this just a couple more months, and book my appointment together with the kids in October.”
Then I asked how much they charged for regular eye exams. It was R495. That was quite affordable, I thought. But just then, we were called in by the doctor and I had to leave. A good excuse for me to postpone making the appointment.
After our medical check-up, George had to go take care of payments and all, so we had more time in the waiting room. I gathered up all the courage I could, and walked into the eye clinic office and told the lady that I wanted to make an appointment for the girls for October and mine for the coming Monday. I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t have an opening that soon. But they did. Monday, 6th August, 2018, 9:30am.
Friday and Saturday flew by and before I knew it, it was Sunday. I started worrying about my appointment. “What if i go in and the eye exam reveals that I am going blind, and they tell me I have only a few months of vision left?”
That night in bed I said to George, “I have an eye appointment tomorrow at 9:30”
“To get an eye exam”
“Because i feel like I am losing my eyesight. I can’t seem to read the fine print clearly”
“When did this all start.” (He sounded like a doctor trying to interrogate me about a serious condition.”
“Mmmmh. I cant really remember when it all started. I think its been gradual.”
Then I turned around and asked him, “Do you feel like your eyesight has deteriorated?”
“I don’t even try to read the fine print any more these days.” He answered quickly. “But I’m going to wait till I can find a free eye exam. I’m not paying for an eye exam!!!”
I burst out laughing. Here I had been thinking i was deteriorating faster than he was!!!
Anyway, we said our good nights and went to sleep.
The next morning after breakfast i hopped into the car and drove to the eye clinic. “I wonder what I will find out. Please God, let me not be legally blind,” I thought.
When I arrived at the clinic, the lady at the reception did all my paper work and told me to have a sit and wait. I gladly did. The longer I could delay this, the better. After about 20 minutes she apologized to me, telling me that the first patient had arrived late for his appointment so I had to wait a bit longer. I was happy to wait! (I didnt tell her that).
About 10 minutes later, the optometrist walked into the waiting room escorting the previous patient. She didnt say anything to me, but the receptionist mumbled something to me. I thought she said I could go in, but wait, don’t they need to clean up the equipment between patients? She couldn’t have asked me to go in right away could she?
I sat in my chair, wondering if I could cancel my appointment this late. About what seemed like 10 minutes later, but really less than a minute later, the optometrist came out again and asked me to go in (She had that face that seemed to ask, “why didnt you come in the first time we asked?”)
I walked into the room, and every gadget looked so ghastly. These gadgets were shortly going to be used to declare me legally blind!!! I hate them so! The walls were littered with letters, numbers and contrasting shapes that seemed to appear and disappear (confirmation that my sight was kaput!!!)
The optometrist was really nice. I just wondered why such a nice lady would doom herself to such a work that necessitated her to break such dire news as she was about to break to me. But oh, well, someone has to do it, don’t they?
After about 30 minutes of rigorous eye exams (reading out disappearing numbers and letters aloud, and announcing which circle seemed sharper, etc etc) the optometrist looked me in the eye and said, “your eyesight is super. You just have the natural deterioration that comes with age.” (Yeah thanks for reminding me that I am about to clock in 5 decades on this earth).
She continued, “you are just having difficulties with the fine print but all you might need really is reading glasses, which you would only wear when reading. You don’t even have to get them right away as you are doing pretty fine.”
She then showed me a small placard which had some ‘disappearing” words and then had me look at the finer print words. I looked at them and was able to read them without any trouble.
She then handed me a pair of reading glass lenses and told me to put them on and try reading the words.
I did, and i perkily announced, “Oh, they just look the same as when I didnt have the lenses on”.
“You really think so?,” she asked, skeptically.
“Positive! I don’t need reading glasses!!!” I replied confidently.
She reached for my face and grabbed the glasses. I looked at the words. It was a bunch of gibberish!
“I DO need reading glasses,” I hung my head and said!
I got a prescription for reading glasses but the price was a bit prohibitive, plus she said i didn’t have to get them right then, plus the kids were not there to help me to pick the coolest frames on the block. So i wasn’t going to buy them right then.
I left the clinic feeling on top of the world. As i walked to the parking lot, I wanted to jump up and down shouting, “I’m not blind! I’m not blind”. However, I may not be blind, but I am not that bold. So I just screamed the words in my head.
I went home and announced to the family that even at 47, I still had 20/20 vision, but just needed reading glasses.
I know you think that’s the end of the story but its not.
Do you believe in coincidences? I am not sure where I stand(as far as coincidences go), but George is pretty clear…He doesn’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.
Today, we went to the Hospice shop to look for books and flower vases.
And right there staring at me in the book section was Virginia Ironside’s “No, I Don’t Need Reading Glasses.” The picture on the book reminded me of Holly trying to read the instructions to make the rice that night at Dawn’s house 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
I bought the book. I will find time to read it. But I’m glad i didnt see it before my eye test. And now, maybe I can find a reason in the book to delay the acquisition of reading glasses. We’ll see.
The truth of the matter is, I can’t be in denial about the evident deterioration that comes with age. So I hope to embrace every change that comes (including the devilish hot flushes that come with menopause!!!) and take them in my stride.