March 10, 2012

The Optometry of Knitting

I went to the eye doctor this past Wednesday for my regular yearly checkup.

I sort of dreaded this for two reasons. First, the last time I was there, my doctor told me that I may be looking at bifocals in the future. Second, my eyes and glasses have been really bugging me. Over the last few months, they have become like a bad couple who have stayed together long since realizing that things were not working anymore: they know they should break up, but how?

With these things in mind, I entered Dr. Z's office last week with a little trepidation. Dr. Z is one of those people who looks much younger than she is. She is sweet, kind and conscientous. You trust her the instant you meet her and know she has your best interest at heart. I knew she would be a good relationship counselor for my eyes and lenses--if she couldn't keep them together, at least she could console the glasses in their loss, as I knew I would probably be leaving them behind.

I had to bring Amy Rose along, who just turned three, as it was my day off and she and I always spend that day together. The ladies in the office love her and I knew they would like seeing how she has grown in the past year. After the niceties, "Amy Rose! You are so big!" and "She was just a baby when you started coming in here!" it was time to get down to business.

Dr. Z, Amy and I went down the hall to the dark little cozy room where eyes were judged. I hoped for the best. And no bifocals...

Dr. Z ran some routine tests for glaucoma and macular degeneration  (THAT doesn't make you feel old...), and then set up her equipment to check out the prescription for my lenses.  After learning that I do not have cataracts--yet--we began trying to figure out why my eyes and lenses had been so at odds.

Several slides and "camera 1, camera 2's" later, Dr. Z said "hmmmmm..." and rolled back in her chair. She fixed her own lovely eyes on mine. They were set in flawless skin, radiating goodness and health. I thought she resembled Glinda, the good witch. I looked back at her with my irritated eyes, set in what I imagined to be older looking, make-up-less skin, now furrowed with a little worry after the "hmmmmm...."

Dr. Z gazed for a moment, then said, "Have you not been wearing your glasses lately?" I realized I had forgotten to put them on--because I had indeed not been wearing them. Busted. "No. They have just really been bugging me. And I just love my readers. They are so cute and they come in lots of cute styles and colors."

She tapped her foot. I realized that her arms were crossed. "I think I know why you haven't been wearing them. Your right eye is actually a lot worse."

Rrrrrrrr.....I thought...what now? The bifocals?I am doomed.

"The good news," she continued, "is that your eyes are healthy and that you are right on track for your age."

What does THAT mean? Hey! This was about my eye-lens problems. She was supposed to counsel THEM.

Dr. Z  continued, "I don't think you need bifocals yet..."


"...but your job is pretty hard on your eyes...are you wearing loupes?"

I have a pair, but the frames are broken. Being a hygienist is definitely tough on your eyes--we work really hard to see every little thing, and we work in micro-arenas, as in millimeters. Even one can make all the difference.

I said, "No, they are broken."

Dr. Z looked at my knitting on the floor in my bag. Her good nature came through as she chuckled, "Could you maybe consider another hobby? How about cross country skiing?"  At this, she burst out into a hearty laugh. She knows me. That would be like asking a Baptist to consider atheism.

I am sure there was horror on my face as I irrationally wondered if I would go blind from scraping teeth and knitting tiny yarn into tiny stitches....I do so love socks. I mentally wandered off for a moment, wondering further how I might remember the feel and look of Lorna's Laces on those new Lantern Moon size 1 dpn's I just bought the previous weekend once I was sightless. At least it would be worth it, not like a result of the more unpleasant, yet legendary, "soap poisoning," as seen on A Christmas Story.

While feeling thankful for my relatively clean language most days, I looked at Dr. Z. I had to laugh, too, since she was giving me permission with her own jolliness. I dismissed my momentary daydream. "I am willing to live with pop-bottle glasses in the future if that is what it takes."

She understood my meaning. She laughed again, "Well, I think you should wear your loupes. And you can wear readers if you really want to, but they don't help your astigmatism. I think some stronger lenses will surprise you. You probably won't need the readers."

Was that good or bad?

We went out into the front of the office, where I left my old lenses behind. Even if I was "on track for my age," and may run into more problems in the future, at least I would get cute new frames. And I would not be forbidden from knitting. Maybe not ever.

Small disasters avoided this time, Amy and I headed out to the parking lot on a sunny day. I plopped my bag containing a few eye strain culprits into the passenger seat. My eyes were at peace. And I knew my old glasses were in good hands.

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