I like lists. Shopping lists. To-do lists. Lists of places I’d like to go. New Year’s resolution lists. Bucket lists. Lists help keep me focused and, more importantly as I get older, help me remember the things that I need to accomplish.
A few days ago I was writing a list of things that I had been putting off, but needed to be completed. That list looked like this:
1. Call to schedule colonoscopy
2. Make appointment for blood draw to check cholesterol level
3. Call dentist
4. Call ophthalmologist
Happen to notice a theme coming through? Yep, the first four things that sprang to mind were all about making doctor’s appointments. It was like writing Santa Claus a wish list on behalf of hypochondriacs across the globe.
A trip to the ophthalmologist seemed the easiest to accomplish. Ophthalmologists don’t cause pain, just a quick couple drops in the eyes, a few line readings off the eye chart, a new prescription for glasses and I’d be on my way. Besides, lately my eyesight has been rather Mr. Magoo–esque. It’s become rather common to hear me shout out “Road Hog!” while driving to what I eventually realize are inanimate objects.
Yesterday, I had my eye exam. At its completion, I was seated all nice and comfy in my chair, waiting for the good doctor to finish scribbling out the prescription, when he suddenly stops, turns, and asks the question I should have seen coming:
“Have you had bifocals before?”
BIFOCALS?? The word echoed in my head. Apparently I now had the vision of your typical 70 year old. I was tempted to ask for a rocking chair and a warm blanket for my lap.
There are many reactions you can have after being told you now require bifocals. You can remain stoic and accept it. You can demand a second opinion. Or, if you happen to be someone who semi-regularly writes about the pitfalls of midde age, you can simply sit there and laugh, thus convincing the doctor you not only have the eyesight of a senior citizen, but are also exhibiting early signs of dementia. I swear he looked more than a little relieved when I gathered my things and left.
So, today I sit here, squinting at the computer screen while I wait for my new glasses to be ready. I have to say I’m looking forward to being able to see the world around me clearer again, even if it does mean I’ll be wearing bifocals.
In the meantime, I went back to that to-do list of doctor’s appointments, pulled out a pen and crossed the other three things off. I'm putting them all off for a while more. If the ophthalmologist found my eyes had aged to the point where I need bifocals, I don’t even want to think about what they might say after a colonoscopy.