Monday, April 30, 2012

Aging--Not Sure How Gracefully

By Belinda

Aging: It is when all those things you secretly laughed at in other people who were stereo-typically "older"--things you adamantly said you would never do; appendages or accessories you thought that you would never wear --aging is when those very things suddenly become part of YOUR identity. 

The last year has been one of recovering my vision. This time last year I was literally half blind. One eye went through a rapid decline in vision and I needed to get my eyes tested. But I put it off (because I am a procrastinator) until I began to worry that something was seriously wrong. While at a doctor's appointment for a physical, I asked him to take a look at my right eye. 

"Oh, yes, you have a cataract," he said, as though confirming something I should know. 

"Me? I'm too young for a cataract," I thought but didn't say. 

I mean I had only just the year before, lost all semblance of mystique in the bedroom by adding a C-PAP machine to my nighttime routine. Obviously the benefits far outweighed the loss of pride, and I learned to put up with the wise cracks that came my way. Yes, the force is with me! 

But now--a cataract?

I went through the lengthy process of tests and preoperative preparations, and to my happy surprise, the result of the surgery was near miraculous. Suddenly and immediately, I could see again, and without any corrective lens in that eye. It was wonderful. The eye surgeon smiles now when he sees me coming for check ups and says I am his happiest patient.

There was only one slight problem. Now both eyes were quite different and drug store reading glasses no longer worked well. I do a lot of computer work and love to read, but reading was so exhausting that I found the urge to sleep creeping up after a few minutes.

Finally last week I got a new lens for the other eye to even them out, and excitedly bought some new drug store reading glasses. 

There are reading glasses all over our house. Like a clear plastic crop, they sprout randomly in the bathroom; the kitchen; the den; my purse; my office. Because heaven forbid I should ever be without a pair--I can't see a thing that is small without them. 

Today I was sitting in a morning meeting alternating between looking at a Powerpoint presentation without glasses, and reaching for them to read the handouts, when the unthinkable crossed my mind. I thought of those cord thingies that "old" people wear around their necks with glasses hanging from them. "That would be so handy," I found myself thinking.

My route back to the office would take me right past a Shoppers Drug Mart store and I could hardly wait to go get one of those cords for myself. The unthinkable had become very thinkable!

While hunting around a rack of glasses for the cords, which were skillfully hidden from view (but I wasn't wearing glasses so who knows?) I noticed magnifying glasses. My brother Rob has one of those and uses it regularly, even to read the paper. I thought of how handy it would be to have one in my purse for those moments in a grocery store when you want to read a label that looks like it was printed for some microscopic species of beings. 

I marched to the check out, cord and magnifying glass in hand and confessed to the man behind the counter that it was a terrible thing to be getting old. He said with a big smile, "Hey you weren't planning to use the cord with the magnifying glass were you?"

Very funny!

I attached my glasses to the cord in the car, and for the rest of the afternoon basked in the convenience of only having to reach to my chest for a pair of glasses. No picking up papers to look underneath for my glasses. I humbly repented of all of my mocking thoughts of the past on the subject.

Later in the afternoon I was at the photocopier, trying to assist a support staff in enlarging the print in order to photocopy something for someone who can't read small print. We were both stymied. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to enlarge the copy and neither could she. Then I remembered what I had in my purse. I retrieved it with triumph and handed it to the person needing the large print--my magnifying glass. He was thrilled!

It was probably overkill for me--for the present at least. :)


Anonymous said...

I laughed reading your post - way too close to home :-). Ha ha ha...

Belinda said...

To bring a smile was my goal. To get laughter made my day! Thanks Anon!

Meg said...

Hi Belinda - I too have a potential archeological dig of dollar store reading glasses all over our house!!! Good to "see" you again...haven't checked in for such a long time!

Belinda said...

Meg, it is so good to hear from you (my hearing is still perfect--I think--Paul disagrees.:))

I laughed at your archeological dig of dollar store reading glasses! Give in, come over to the "over the hill gang" and get one of those cords! I have had one pair comfortably resting on my chest, ready for pick up, all day so far today. It is GREAT. :)

Brave Raven said...

If I catch you sporting a fanny pack filled with coupons, I will intervene. Bingo is also forbidden. A cord for reading glasses? Still very cool.

Belinda said...

My dear Brave Raven, you are the epitome of "cool." Intervene freely if you notice signs of decline...PLEASE!!! :)

Susan said...

Blue hair. And a small yappy dog. That stuff is forbidden too.

Belinda said...

Susan, it's too late--I've already had blue hair. Entirely by accident. And I can't promise anything about a small yappy dog either. I don't like small yappy dogs but I betcha one of those could steal my heart if it was the right small yappy dog. I'm sunk aren't I?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Ah Belinda, nothing is forbidden. Bingo, coupon cutting ... all of it waits for you! I'm at the point where talking about physical ailments is way more appealing that I thought it would ever be!

By the way, I mentioned you, your blog and this post, in my lecture in NYC ... when one of the fellows in my audience had his glasses around his neck ... he protested that as long as the cord was of a cool colour, it was an accessory not a necessity!

Belinda said...

Ha ha! Dave, yes, let's just give in to the dark side and go with the full flow (and "flow" has much more meaning than ever before, too:))

I laughed at the fact that I and my cord are now internationally famous :) Yes! My team informed me of the same thing as that young guy--they told me that I can even get cool necklaces that hold glasses. The hunt is on.