Last night I said possibly the stupidest thing I have ever said. Anticipating this morning’s trip to the eye doctor, and worried about the cause of my increasingly blurry vision, I told my husband that I “really need to be able to see.” he kindly refrained from pointing out to me that everyone pretty much needs to be able to see; outside of Oedipus there are relatively few cases of voluntary blindness.
None So Blind as Those Who Cannot See
This morning, twitching with anxiety about the possibility of a dark and dire diagnosis, I sat in the cushioned chair playing Scrabble on my iPhone until the doctor appeared. We made small talk about the addictive nature of such games, the fact that her young son prefers “Angry Birds,” and the strange weather. She made me follow a light, numbed my eyeballs and puffed them, dyed my tears yellow, and scanned my eyes with a space age machine that allowed her to look for floaters, macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and retinal tears. I passed everything with flying colors, except for plain old seeing.
“Wow,” she said after an unusually long time in the “better one than two” goggles. “It’s amazing you can see at all in your glasses.”
“Thanks?” I answered, uncertain whether this was some odd kind of compliment. “I can’t, really, that’s why I came in.” She found this unaccountably hilarious.
“Hah!” She said, using her feet to propel her round-topped stool back to her computer. “That’s funny! Seriously, though, we’re going to have to replace both your readers and your distance glasses. Have you been having headaches?”
“Terrible headaches,” I answered, “my doctor ordered a CT Scan because they were so bad.”
“Well, your poor eyes have really been working hard for a while, so the headaches may go away after you get the new lenses. Two things: first, it will be a tough adjustment to the new ones, like you never had glasses before. They’ll be much stronger, the floor will look funny when you look down, stairs may be an issue.” I nodded. “Also, until you get the new lenses I am going to recommend that you do only very limited reading, and not spend much time on the computer. I can write a note for your work if you need one.” I shook my head.
“I don’t read a whole lot for my real job…just recipes.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed pointing her index finger at me with a conspiratorial smile. “No more Scrabble games on that tiny phone screen, either.”
“So, until the new lenses come in, like maybe a week to ten days, I am not supposed to read, be on the computer or play Scrabble on my phone” I repeated dutifully, wondering exactly what else there was to do with my time. “Got it.”
Thus begins my brief, enforced period of doing whatever it is people do if they are not reading, writing, checking Facebook, or playing Scrabble on their iPhones. My husband, who recently speculated that the phone Scrabble wing of the Betty Ford Clinic had a bed open, will be delighted. I will watch more TV. I will take long walks, trying to avoid large, blurry objects moving at high speeds. I will have hours available to me to clean my house, organize my eyeliner and take up Suzuki glockenspiel.
This is going to be a long week. I really do need to be able to see.