The human body is a machine susceptible to the long-term effects of constant use. We are all eventually going to be witness to and subject of an excruciatingly slow sort of wear and tear, physically breaking down, like an apple left in a fruit bowl too long. It’s inevitable.
I realized this up in Ottawa last month, when I spent the night with my cousins before my aunt’s funeral in Montreal. My other aunt, who is still living, made me laugh with her stories of her physical travails. She’s broken pretty much everything you can expect to break (hip, foot, arm), had a complete hysterectomy, mistook hemorrhoids for cervical cancer and she just got hearing aids. Getting into a car is a whole production, involving first a foot, then a leg, then hauling the rest of herself into the vehicle, cane hooked over her right arm, the whole song and dance made even more precarious when the driveway is iced over because getting old in the Great White North is a complete funhouse.
It’s not a feeling one gets in one’s teens or one’s twenties, when the body seems like Teflon and nothing seems to stick, but enter your thirties and things start happening. Suddenly, hair isn’t as thick, waists aren’t as trim, comfort begins to be more of a priority and the slow slide into questioning what you’ve done with your life so far begins. Up next, mid-life crisis!
I spent a good chunk of my Friday on a contact lens appointment. Because my body is as contradictory as I sometimes am, my left eye is far-sighted while the right sees things better from up close. It’s a balance that works out, but sometimes one eye overcompensates and I end up with a massive headache. I’ve been flirting with wearing glasses for the past few years but made the mistake of getting them whenever I was in the Philippines for a visit which means follow-ups couldn’t be done. And anyone worth his salt knows when it comes to glasses, follow-ups are important. It’s like losing your virginity. You never get it right the first time.
Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and go for my first eye exam in North America. I’d already gotten a prescription last week and it made me see things from afar in wonderfully crisp detail, like the world was suddenly in high-def Ultra 4K. But it was messing with my reading, and words were blurring up close.
So I went back after a week for the mandatory follow up and that’s where I stopped being happy and started considering Lasik. If anything, I can see long distances, but I don’t quite care as much about that as I do being able to read. And somehow, after running what seemed like the gamut of lenses, I was back where I started, with busted eyesight and seemingly no answers. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because I chose contact lenses? I have no idea. The one shining spot is I am apparently not ready for bifocals, which I was given to understand are for the olds. But that’s beside the point. The point is when you get older and the mind-body connection starts to fray, sometimes you find yourself standing in an optician’s office contemplating the merits of allowing lasers to sear a layer off your cornea because it’s just too frustrating to have yet another lens held up to your eyes.
But, I understand it’s a process, that sometimes you can’t just throw money at the problem. I know I’m going to have a few more weeks like this, going back and forth and figuring out what fits me the most. I can’t outrun it anymore anyway and really, it’s time. It’s time to accept the inevitable. All the eating of squash in the world isn’t going to be enough to combat the ravages of age.
First bionic ears, now enhanced eyes. I’m ready for my titanium hip, Mr. de Mille.