Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Feeling my 40s for the First Time

In the past few months, I have experienced a strange sensation in my right eye. It's been hard to describe. And to be honest, it's worried me. I just haven't experienced this kind of discomfort before. I have a great imagination and can on occasion leap to grand worst-case scenarios. In this case, I was imagining a tumor. I know. I know. That's ridiculous, but I'm just telling you that that's where my anxious mind was taking me. I don't wear my glasses regularly, so I thought a good option would be to wear them more. When the discomfort eased, my worry about a tumor also eased. I'm pretty sure that glasses aren't part of the protocol for tumor treatment. 

I made eye appointments for my daughter and me. I described my concern to the optician. She put me through the battery of pre-exam tests. My doctor came into the room shortly after. I told him that I was concerned and then suddenly a thought came to me. “This doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I'm forty, does it?”

He smirked and silently nodded his head. He explained how the muscles around the eye continue to do their work, but as we age the lens gets stiffer and doesn't flex like it did when we're twenty. So my eyes have to work harder to see clearly. He said he'd check the health of my eyes when they were dilated, but he was certain there was nothing more than age playing a role.

My prescription didn't change much from the last appointment, but my current lenses are scratched. While my eyes dilated, the optician, Cadence, and I started shopping for frames. It was fascinating how we all three would agree on the frames that didn't flatter or fit well and on the ones that needed to go into the “these look great” pile.

I decided to get dreamy as I shopped for glasses, so I said, “Let's think about what frames would look good on the Today Show when I appear for my book launch.” The optician looked at me, smiled and said, “Okay! Let's do it!” She didn't laugh or suggest my dreams were unattainable.

When we'd narrowed our selections to two frames, we roped the doctor into our Today Show fantasy. He chose the same frame we were all leaning towards. “It's professional and polished, but has personality. And I like the dark line on the bottom of the frame.” He was dreaming with us!

By the time we sat down to place the order for the frames, my vision was completely blurred. I couldn't read the text on my phone and I really couldn't see the fine detail of the frames on my face. The optician went through the coatings they put on my last pair of glasses and recommended the same for this pair. “The anti-glare will be really important for TV appearances, so I'd recommend definitely keeping that on the order.”

I looked at her blurry face and felt such gratitude. She said the bit about the television without one bit of sarcasm and tease in her voice. She was really pulling for me and this writing dream of mine. 

I am relieved that there wasn't anything more serious with my eye health. I can deal with wearing glasses more. Especially if they are cute. I find it interesting that in the nine months of being forty, this is the first time I am really feeling my age. In every other aspect, I feel younger and lighter and happier than I ever have.

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