I was sitting in the squeaky-clean office of the Walmart Eye doctor as he finished with my extensive exam. I have had an increasingly lousy vision for some time, and I knew he had nothing good to say. While they are kind and cordial at the start but after looking at your results from all angles, there is that set in their shoulders that says, “How do I break it to this poor soul that glasses will do her no good?”
I instead thought that anyway. I have extensive stuff going on in my body that keeps messing with my eyes, but I just got decent insurance, so I pranced confidently into the office early last week and made an appointment. I watched all the “regular” people waltz in to get their fancy framed glasses while my doctor looked as if he might offer me his sympathies, and he did. He swung his stool around after fixing his demeanor, “I am going to send you to another clinic,” he said, and I wondered where in the Land of Oz I would be going. My dilated eyes saw him as a blur, but I detected the sadness in his voice. I wanted to say, “Cheer up, Bunky, it could be worse,” and we know it could be. He then advised me that I have cataracts in both eyes. My mind went on its usual trip to where that condition should be filed. “Old folks have cataracts,” I reasoned but kept it in my headspace. If I spoke aloud, the doctor might have answered like Dr. Seuss, “But you are old, and I must say, you’re getting older every day, go get this done so that you can see, go get this done and leave me be” I stifled a giggle. I think of the craziest things when I am supposed to be serious. It’s kind of what I DO!
I remember thinking silly thoughts when I was in labor with my first child. Delivery was imminent, my husband was ushered out of the labor room (they did that in the old days), and a group of masked people entered my room. A severe contraction took hold of me, and I giggled as I thought how these masked people resembled The Keystone Kops of silent films—jumping in and out of my view, urging me to push, not to push. Later, when I told my husband, he gave me one of the looks that asked, “What kind of crazy girl did I marry?
SO…. eye doctor number one gave me marching orders, and I found my son sitting in the waiting area. He began asking questions about stuff, not realizing that he too was just a blur, but I bounced up to the receptionist to pay and found that “my kind” of insurance is unacceptable at this clinic. She smiled (I think) as she handed the card back as if it was Monopoly money while I fished around to get cash. So much for my extensive grocery list later!
I went to the Retina King (I call him that), and he recommended that I come back right away to have extensive, painful, and not-so-sure-it-will work surgery under heavy anesthesia. In a panic, I signed all the papers that informed me of the risks and went to pre-op appointments all of last week. You might be wondering why or how I can write this now. Well, on the day before this risky business was to take place, I opted out. I will have regular injections or whatever he wants to do to build up my eye strength for the cataract surgery, but I do not feel good about the surgery. I have my reasons, and I believe I am correct. My son is terrified, but I am not. I will see the doctor this Tuesday and proceed from there.
For a scary moment, I was an aging woman, led around by a team of professionals, without question or protest. I recalled standing in front of senior groups sounding off about remaining proactive to remain relevant. I was not doing much of that, so I changed my thought pattern and denied them the privilege of just “doing” something to me and hoping to emerge breathing. Seniors, we must ask questions and more questions. Do not allow your adult children or a team of experts to think for you. Yes, they are the experts, and they hold the degrees and your kids are probably, like my son, plenty scared. Stay tuned for part two of this thrilling saga, “The Eyes Have It.” Bring popcorn!