Help! I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up

No, I’m not lying on the floor with the keyboard on my belly in an attempt to call for help. I just feel totally incapacitated. I broke my glasses yesterday. My eyesight has never been great. In fact, I had an operation on my left eye when I was 12 because I was so cross-eyed. I wasn’t born with this affliction – it just happened as I grew older. Sometimes the muscle that holds the eyeball in place doesn’t grow as it should during adolescence, resulting in the eyeball being pulled to one side and “Voila!'” you get crossed eyes. That’s what happened to me.

Struggling through with broken, taped glasses
Struggling through with broken, taped glasses

The eye doctors tried everything: visual exercises, eye drops, they even tried putting a patch on my good eye to make my ‘lazy’ eye correct itself. But the only thing that happened was that I couldn’t see the lines on the writing paper when I was doing my homework. For about six months my vision was a blurry-eyed mess that caused my writing to wander all over the page.

My parents were understandably concerned. Some of the doctors had told them that I would probably never be able to hold a decent job and most certainly I would never be able to drive. So they sought out expert help. They took me to a specialist named Doctor Lieberman. I loved it because he was located in the Jewish neighborhood of Chicago and my Dad took me not only to see the doctor, but he introduced me to Lox and Bagels as well. For me it was an adventure. Only later did I overhear the gossip that this doctor was considered a ‘butcher’ because he ALWAYS wanted to operate. My parents must have been scared out of their wits because the prediction came true. In those days this operation was quite experimental. It was done by hand, the doctor using his best judgment as to how much to cut the muscle to allow it to lengthen. There were no lasers or electronic measuring equipment back then. I awoke from the operation with the dreaded patch over my eye and had to wait two whole days before they took it off. When they finally did, I was cured! No longer did I see two salt shakers on the table or two cars at the curb. No longer would I be called four-eyes by the cruel kids in the neighborhood. I threw my glasses away and vowed never to wear them again.

Of course, as I got older, my eyes got weaker. I became far-sighted, got a bit of astigmatism, and even my crossed-eyes came back just a bit whenever I was especially tired. No doubt much of this can be attributed to the computer but that is SO unavoidable in this day and age. And like everyone else, I hate to admit that I’m getting older. Somehow, getting an eye exam is a sign of weakness – an admission that I AM getting older. So I put it off. I haven’t had an eye exam for three years and I’ve really needed one for at least a year. Every day my vision gets a little less crisp through these glasses, so I am always monkeying around with them. Yesterday I monkeyed around just a bit too much and they cracked in half.

I can’t just get a new pair of glasses made because this prescription is simply no good anymore. I called the eye doctor but can’t get in to see him until NEXT Friday. So I taped my broken glasses together with masking tape and am making do. My father would probably not be proud; he says there is nothing in the world that can’t be fixed with duct tape and he would be ashamed that I’ve resorted to the poor masking tape substitute (in fact, I watched him repair a leak under the kitchen sink with duct tape this past Christmas – amazing!). But it will have to do. Fortunately I’m an adult now and I don’t have to worry about kids calling me horrid nicknames when they see me in my taped-up glasses. Now I just have to worry about whether or not those two teenagers in the produce section of Whole Foods Market are giggling about the way I look. That’ll teach me to procrastinate.

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