Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Blurry flowers taken on a walk today
I went on a walk today and took the above very blurry photo with my phone. The flowers were, in reality, crisp and yellow and white, sprouting up from some dirt on the top of a wall. They came out blurry, though. Yesterday, I went to the eye doctor because my eyes have felt weird of late. I've been near-sighted since the age of six and have worn either glasses or contact lenses every waking moment of every single day since then. My left eye, in particular, has been irritating me for weeks. I've rubbed and blinked, changed my lenses, peered up into the light with my glasses to see whether it's just a smudge or not. I've wondered if I need reading glasses; I've thought, for a moment, that I might have The Diabetes (that's how my old southern friends say it in a thick accent), because isn't blurry vision a symptom? I didn't go there for too long, though, and finally made an appointment to see the eye doctor. She did all those little tests, made me peer into a machine and look down a long farm road at a little red barn that lay at the end. It looked sort of like this but the road was longer, the perspective more precise:

I love that little picture, I said to her. She laughed, and I wondered how much older than her I was and whether she thought I was weird. Then she put some yellow dye in my eyes and peered at them through that giant black machine.

Look straight ahead, she said, and she shone a blinding light into my eyes.

She even flipped my eyelids or made them go inside-out so that she could see better. That reminded me of a kid who rode the bus with us in Atlanta named Milton Friedman. Milton was what we called coo-coo in those days and he would turn his eyelids inside out and run around making everyone scream. He was poor, lived in a house with white, peeling paint, the dirt yard leading up to it blurry with rusty tools and furniture. My sister and I remembered him when we talked on the telephone the other day, so his name was still fresh in my mind. After mentioning how much I loved the little photo in the eye machine, though, I didn't mention Milton Friedman to the eye doctor, and at some point in her examination of my eyelids, she said Your eyes are a bit dry with the emphasis on the word are. Evidently, I learned, one's eyes become a bit dry if one is peri-menopausal. Even though I wanted to say F%$# you! to the nice, young optometrist, I conceded that this might be happening but that it seems to have literally happened overnight, or at least in the same amount of time that my son Henry has turned from a boy to a teenager which is about four minutes, tops. Time goes so fast these days that it's no wonder everything seems a bit blurry. Sophie is doing so much better that it's a bit of a blur and I've refrained from even writing about or speaking of it because as always I'm superstitious and don't want to jinx the turnaround. So don't say anything direct about that all right? I'm more sharp around the edges when things are going badly; there's a clarity to my days, I get through them with a precise force.

It turns out that along with the dry eyed, pre-menopausal business, my prescription has changed subtly so I'm getting new glasses and new contact lenses. Things should be clearer then. Right now, I'm blinking a bit, trying to find a balance, taking stock in the blur.


  1. it's a slippery slope of dry and saggy and thinning and who knows what else.

    I so appreciate you great writing on the web you know. Little mini tastes of brilliance .

  2. Barry went today to have his eyes checked, dilating and the whole mess.
    New prescription and I? I am still wondering if I want to go and be told how miserable my eyesight is and that I need to stop working at what I love as much as cooking. Sigh...and about the unmentionable subject I knew it by looking at a certain photo that hopes have wings.

  3. I know the farm house of which you speak, and it's Tyler's favorite, too. (He's five. Does that make you feel younger?) He thinks if he stares at it hard enough, a cow might emerge. It's never happened, though. Glad your diagnosis had to do with hormones and not The Diabetes. If it were the latter that would, as my word verification points out, "sucketa."

  4. You think time goes fast now, just wait. Now that I am retired, and have more time, the clock seems to have sped up and before I know it, the day is done. Wait, I have so much more that I want to do. How come you couldn't go faster when I was working, you stupid clock. Now is the time to go slow.

  5. You don't have reading glasses yet?Lucky woman.I have a very large eye glass scrip.Been wearing glasses for distance since second grade.Contacts since 10th grade.Not a candidate for Lasik.So I now have joined the ranks of reading glasses.Found some hip ones at a cute little store,well I thought they were hip till my 7 year old said,"Those are kinda crazy glasses."Oh well.Crazy glasses for a kinda crazy lady.

    Sorry about the dry eye stuff and all that comes with that.Right there with you and in closing,not really gonna mention that which should not be mentioned but sending all good things your lovely girls way.

  6. Oh, my goodness. The diabetes, the menopause. I'm going to start calling it "the Menopause" now. Love that. It's started here, and no PERI about it. Magnifiers in use here - get them in three-packs from "the Costco." Cod-liver oil, supposed to help with hot flashes. The fluffy middle...oh, it's such an INTER-ESTING time. As if the body has taken on its own agenda (perhaps it has).
    Anyway, I'm glad that there is a simple fix for this. And glad about "the Sophie" news. But I won't breathe a word.

    Your posts have been so deep that I haven't wanted to comment - I haven't felt up to saying anything as intelligent as your posts, to be honest. They deserve better than I can give. Am writing a proposal and working on storyboards, in Powerpoint, for a presentation to the hospital (shhhh) tomorrow, so am a little bit distracted. I hope to catch up and be a better commenter soon. In the meantime, much love is being sent your way.

  7. Love the way you wove that memory about the kid who rode the bus with you and your present predicament. I wish you luck.

    Greetings from London.

  8. I don't think I'll be going to your same optometrist!:) But I'm glad that things are clearer.

  9. Didn't we all go to school with Milton Friedman? Or some variation thereof?
    I'm on the path ahead of you in this aging thing, girl. Here. I'll turn around and shine my ever-dimming flashlight your way.
    Sophie- yes- love. That's all I'll say.

  10. All I have to say about peri-menopausal is this: it makes you so very appreciative of all that your thyroid used to do for you.

    I had no idea. Really.

  11. I can't even begin to tell you how much I relate on so many levels to this post. The eye doc (although mine has no charming picture of a barn), the dry eyes, (though I'm waaay past peri thanks to the surgeon's handiwork a few years ago), the funny/strange childhood memories, the very tiny print about hopes and dreams and news that is good, the clarity of hard necessity, the taking stock amidst the almost bewildering fog of the unknown duration of better times...

  12. Why doesn't my eye doctor have nice photos like that for an eye test? Hhhmmm. My vision began the change from perfect to the decline of now wearing reading glasses. I have thought thought the loss of clear vision does make everything smooth looking (wrinkles away!). I hate getting caught without my glasses and I hate not being able to find my glasses at home.... quite a journey..that is all I can say. Hold on and talk about how you are feeling is the best thing to do. I am here.

  13. Eat salmon. The fish oil is great for dry eyes. Had them. Am over them. Need decent light to see anything though. Dimness makes me grumpy.

  14. I'm NOT going to say YAY for someone who might happen to be doing so well, or might not. :)



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