Parts of me are excellent, Part II

Getting old ain’t for sissies. Bette Davis said it years ago, and it’s so true. Thursday I walked the dog with my eyes looking like two black marbles. I had just come from the ophthalmologist’s office, where I learned that I have a cataract in my left eye. Now I knew I had the beginnings of one, but I figured I didn’t have to worry about it for another 20 years. Wrong. It’s bad enough to operate on right now.

The proof was in the vision test. The right eye worked fine, but when I tried to see the chart with just the left, I saw two of every blurry image. I couldn’t read any line properly, even the giant E. Instead of giving me a new prescription, the technician said, “We have to see what’s going on with that left eye before we can proceed.” Uh-oh.

I sat in the big chair and prayed until the doctor hurried in, all tweed suit and gray hair. He was unusually quiet during the exam. Double uh-oh.

First he told me all the things I didn’t have. Then he told me about the cataract. I’m not old enough, I protested. He said even babies sometimes have cataracts. Indeed, an Internet search showed it’s not unusual for infants to be born with this milky coating on the lens. It comes more commonly with age—prime time for cataract surgery is late 70s and early 80s—but it can happen at any time with illness, injury, stress, or quirks of nature. I made that last one up. I was too busy panicking to listen to everything the doctor said. A real gearhead, he went on about a new lens coming from Europe that will enable patients to see both far and near. Ooh wow. Give me old reliable, please. We’re talking about my eye.

The doctor advised me to wait six months. I’m getting along all right with it now. Let’s see how it progresses and see if the right eye, which has a “trace” of a cataract, catches up.

Gee, I just wanted some stylish new glasses.

I cried all the way home. Now I’m trying to see the bright side. Eventually, sooner than expected, I won’t need glasses after 42 years of contacts and specs. It was going to happen someday; might as well get it over with.

So, my eyes are older than I am, too. But really, most parts are younger. Look at that picture. How old do you think I am? Then think about this: I remember Bette Davis.

P.S. You can find lots of information at www.cataract.com. I’m not making that up.

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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, and Childless by Marriage. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I teach writing workshops and offer individual editing and mentoring. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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