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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Way We Are

By Jeanne Waite Follett of Gullible's Travels

One recent Sunday evening I was leaning over the dining room table, my eyes straining through reading glasses to see the subtle color differences between dark navy blue and black jigsaw puzzle pieces aligned in orderly rows before me, while on the television a striking Barbra Streisand wowed the Academy Awards audience with The Way We Were, evoking memories in me of a young and gorgeous Robert Redford.

Two days later, The Way We Were morphed into The Way We Are.

With a “chairside” manner that would do honor to the most compassionate, considerate hospice caregiver, my optometrist wove a tapestry that entwined the results of my eye examination with the inevitable and progressive vision problems that come with advancing age.

It took me a few moments to recognize how smoothly she had segued from the exam to gently letting me know that that’s how things were now. It reminded me of how my husband’s neurologist had told us a sugar-coated truth about his memory problems without actually using the word that brings nightmares.

There would be no laser surgery to correct problems, she said in so many words. Actual invasive surgery would be the only way to remove an aggressive cataract in my right eye and eventually in the left one. Within the year, she said quietly.

She turned back to the desk to complete her paperwork, then asked in a puzzled tone, “How old are you?”

“Seventy-one,” I said.

“Oh, my gosh!” she exclaimed and spun around in her chair to face me. “I was off by a whole decade. I thought you were 61. You’re in great shape!”

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I just had cataract surgery on both eyes (not laser); Medicare paid for all of it. I now see perfectly--with no glasses, even for reading. It was the simplest surgery I've ever had, and I highly recommend it. It is amazing how vivid colors are again, and the night traffic lights don't blind me. I'm 72.

Cataract surgery is wonderful!! And...yes...Medicare paid for it. I'm 70...for me it was like seeing for the first time in my life!!

I can also join the chorus. I had cataract surgery on both eyes last month and was amazed at how well I can see now.

My eyesight has always been quite poor, and the new lenses not only replace my natural lens but also make my vision better that it's ever been. Goodbye to contact lenses.

I just had cataract surgery on my right eye 2 weeks ago (I'm 76) and WOW! I should have done it a year ago. I hadn't realized how difficult it had become to read until I almost stopped doing so--and even worse, started making errors at work. Now I'm waiting for my eye to heal so I can get new, "weaker" glasses. I already see better without any glasses than I did with my old ones!

Except that the surgeon advised against it, I could have gone to work or to my gig as a volunteer adoption counselor for homeless cats on the same day. It's absolutely painless. There's a "nuisance factor" of having to put eyedrops in for a month afterwards, but it's well worth it in my view--and our Medicare Advantage plan covered the entire procedure. I won't wait if the very small cataract on my left eye starts being troublesome in a couple of years.

All of these comments have helped take a fear away of what could happen to my eyes as I get older. Thanks everyone for your input. And at least she thought you were younger. How cool is that?

The funny part was how conciliatory she was -- talking to me like I was some old person.

My beautiful wife recently had cataract surgery for one eye. No problems whatever. We actually had a little fun keeping track of the schedule for those pesky eye drops.

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