Thursday, January 3, 2013

"You're falling apart": An uplifting tale of life after age 35...


Yes, as if to add insult to last month's mammogram (everything's fine, I am just apparently old enough now to warrant a baseline mammogram given that I'm "so close to 40!") I had an appointment with my eye doctor yesterday that was nothing short of anxiety-inducing. Let us chronicle.

I always hated hearing about the doom and gloom that awaits us all beginning at age 35, and that experience has only intensified with each passing year. I will grant, I have noticed some changes that have started in the past year or two, coinciding precisely with when I turned 35.


The skin on my hands is a little thinner, I have a few more lines around my eyes when I smile. But I don't mind those things (well, I could live without the thinning skin, but I don't mind the facial lines). I think it's much more attractive to age gracefully than to put yourself through the nightmare of plastic surgery that so many Hollywood actresses feel compelled to do these days. And have you seen some of them? I feel so sorry for them. We're all going to get older, it's just a fact. I know we all wish that we could freeze what we looked like at age 25 and look that way forever, but that ain't happenin'. So the choices are to live with it (and apply Olay liberally each night, ask me how I know this) or to have surgery, and I don't know about you, but the former looks a heck of a lot better. Not to mention cheaper.

But I digress. I made an appointment with the eye doctor because it's been a few years since I've been there, and I know that I need to keep up with my eyes. I was born with a birth defect in my macula, and I had a lot of trouble with my vision as a child. I had a very good opthalmologist back then, and my vision improved a lot by time I was an adult. I now only wear glasses for reading, and my distance vision is quite good. But genetics aren't on my side, plus I work in front of a computer all day, and I otherwise engage in lots of activities (reading, knitting) that strain my eyes. My appointment was yesterday afternoon.

I arrive, Kindle in hand for what I was sure would be a lengthy stay in the waiting room. I read one paragraph.


I actually wished that they had been running behind. But alas.

I'm taken into a preliminary room with a nurse who asks me lots of eye questions. Then she asks if it's ok for them to dilate my eyes.

Ugh, I forgot about that.

Well, I mean, I GUESS, since otherwise they can't really do anything with me. I submit to the drops.

God only knows what she put in there. There was a series of at least 4 different things. My eyes immediately feel watery and crappy. Then she tells me that she's going to measure my eye pressure, or some such thing. She proceeds to stick, I swear it, A ROD, millimeters from my poor eyeball, and she pushes back my my eyelids to make it bulge even more.

"Try to relax."

Oh really? I'll take that under advisement.

I couldn't help it, I was instinctively pushing back *away* from the rod in my eyeball. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous than to RELAX while such a thing is going on?

Then came the the inevitable letter reading quizzes, clicking upon seeing flashes exam, and the ever popular "which is better?" segment.

"A or B?"

"Um, I guess A."

"Ok. A or....C!"


"They look about the same."

"Really? How about A or D?"

"D." I suppose.

"Ok. Now, 1 or...2!"

The verdict?

"Well, you're falling apart."

A real uplifter for the new year, no?

" It happens to all of us after age 35. Our lenses lose flexibility. This decline will continue until you're about 60. Then it will level out. That's the good news."

That's good news?

"Your distance vision has actually improved."

Well see, THAT is good news.

"But your reading vision has reduced. You're going to need a new prescription for your reading glasses, and a light bifocal is a consideration."


"The bad news is that no matter what, your vision will only continue to worsen as you get older. Ten years from now it will be so much worse than it is right now."

Let's just keep the good news pouring in, shall we?

"I think we can skip the bifocials for now, but you'll notice a significant difference in your new glasses. Do you have any questions?"


What's next, being addressed with the word "geezer" or "fogey" being tossed about?

I went out to survey my glasses options and chose a small wire-rimmed pair that are cute. I think they were brown. This process would have been easier had I been able to actually SEE clearly.

"When do the drops wear off?"

"3-5 hours."


I go out and get in my car. I don't know about you, but I do think that *seeing* is an important quality in a driver. I could see things in the distance, but I couldn't read a thing close-up.

I carefully head home. Hark! What is that up there on the right?


Pit stop everybody!

Clearly, after this appointment, and since I won't be able to read for hours, I need a glass of Chardonnay. I go inside.

Instead of trying to really pick anything out (you do need to read in order to do that) I grabbed a bottle of something that appeared to be white wine from a display right next to the register. I hand it to the cashier.

"Can I see your i.d. please?"

Wait. You can hear it, can't you?

*ANGELS SING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

Shazzam!!! I may be a woman rapidly approaching middle age with declining eyesight and apparently ancient lady parts, but damn it, I STILL GOT IT!!


  1. HAAAA! This made me laugh so hard...I've got a "few" years on you, but can totally relate! I think I need to read more things like this to make me feel better about the aging process. I recently watched some old home movies from about 15 years ago and I thought, "That was ME?" The funny thing is that I still FEEL like that younger woman inside, even though the fine lines and gray hairs are starting to appear. I haven't noticed my eyesight change much, but I guess it doesn't matter because I wear contacts and I've had reading glasses since I was in my twenties. However, I must warn you to be prepared for the forgetfulness after 40...always a good time when you can't remember someone's name or why you went upstairs for...what was it? All very normal, I am assured by friends my age. Whew!

  2. OK, now I'm following this blog definitely. That was hysterically funny and I had to share with my friends. I'm not 30 yet (ducks) so I was, shall we say, perturbed when I started finding gray hairs in the shower. This is the best thing I've read all week, seriously. Have a Merry Christmas!


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