I'm ready. No-nonsense Monica is ready. The space age contacts are ready.
Here we go.
I sit in the chair as Monica lovingly unwraps them. I am not exaggerating about this. No-nonsense Monica is being weird. She is...smiling. She is smiling at me. No, wait. She's smiling at the contacts. She holds up the left contact and admires it. I think she is in love with it. She asks if I want to put it on my eye or if she should. I know for a fact she is only asking me this to be nice. Last time we had a few small, shall we say, mishaps, when I tried to put contacts in myself. Don't look at me. I have no idea how the contacts kept ending up splattered on her face.
Monica reaches over and in two seconds has the contact in my eye. I don't have time to react before she whips the right contact in. I hear her sigh with happiness. Ever so slowly I open my eyes. I blink once, twice. I know Monica is waiting for me to say something. To rejoice in my new space age vision. To thank the NASA scientists for being such brainiacs and creating this amazing, awesome pair of contacts just for me.
There's just one teeny tiny little problem.
I can't see.
"Um, does it take a minute for the contacts to work?" I ask.
"NOOO," Monica replies sharply, " it most certainly does not." She does not sound happy. I bet she doesn't look happy either, I just can't see her.
"Read the top line of the chart," she barks.
I jump and turn my head in the direction of the chart. I take a deep breath. I look ahead. And look. And look. Finally, I turn to where I hear Monica huffing. "I trust that there is still an eye chart on that wall because you are telling me there is one," I say, "but I cannot see a thing."
I have never felt so blind with my eyes so wide open before in my entire life. I reach up to feel my eyes to make sure they are open. Yup. Just poked myself in the eye.
"I'm sorry," I say, "I just can't see anything at all with these contacts." "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??" Monica bellows. "THAT CANNOT BE POSSIBLE!! Those contacts were made specifically for YOUR eyes! What are you saying??" She is hyperventilating. I think. But, again, I can't see her. I seriously can't see anything. I open my eyes as wide as possible and concentrate, really concentrate, on..... seeing. Ok, it's ok. I can make out Monica's outline. I can see she is sitting right over there. I can't see her face but I'm pretty sure that's a good thing at this point. I take a deep breath. I sit still for a minute. A few minutes. I tell her I think things are getting better. I say I think my eyes just needed to adjust to having contacts on them but now they are feeling better. Maybe I can't see well because the room is so dim. Maybe if the lights are on I can see better. I ask her to turn the lights on. I hear her flip the switch.
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! OOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!! OUCHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! omgomgomgomg. The pain. The stabbing, burning pain in both eyes. I close my eyes immediately. There is no way I can tell Monica what is happening. She already doesn't like me. I sit with my eyes closed for a minute and wait for the shooting pain to subside. I ask Monica to please, please dim the lights again.
Slowly, slowly I open my eyes. Better. Much better with the lights out. I tell Monica maybe I just need a little more time to adjust. That I'm not used to contacts and perhaps it's just taking me a minute. She seems to buy it and relaxes a bit. Well, at least her breathing relaxes. I still can't see her.
Monica comes over and puts some eye/contact measuring machine in front of my face. She looks in my left eye. She grunts. She looks in my right eye. Another grunt. She looks in both eyes again. Grunt. Grunt.
"These are the right contacts," she announces, "You shouldn't be having any trouble with them whatsoever."
I have become accustomed to the dark room. And, by accustomed, I mean I can't see. I'm just getting used to being blind.
A few minutes pass. I am doing ok. I feel ok. My eyes feel ok. I have convinced myself I just needed to get used to the contacts. Monica is convinced I just needed to get used to the contacts. Because as far as she is concerned, these are the perfect contacts for me and she is just waiting for me to admit it.
I am starting to feel better. In fact, I am starting to feel good. Whew. Finally. That was a little rough patch there. But all is good now. My eyes are adjusting. Monica is happy. I am happy. Yay!! We are friends again!! Monica reaches over and hits the light switch and....... OOOWWWWW!!!!! OMG!! OWWWWWW. THE PAIN!! OW OW OW OW OW OW. I can't see I can't see I can't see. Never mind not seeing, I cannot open my eyes!! I have knives in my eyes. My eyes have never hurt so much in my entire life. I didn't know it was even possible for eyes to hurt so much.
"GET-THEM-OUT-GET-THEM-OUT-GET-THEM-OUT GET THEM THE H*** OUT OF MY EYES!!" I scream. Monica jumps up in fright, partly because I just scared the living daylights out of her and partly because I look like a lunatic all of a sudden, bouncing up and down on my seat, screaming in pain and rubbing maniacally at my eyes. She rushes to my side and tries to get the contacts out, mumbling about measurements and polymers and angles and I have no idea what else because MY EYES ARE KILLING ME but I'm moving around so much she can't get the contacts out. Monica is getting louder and louder ...."have to be correct"...."made to order"..."exact measurements"....."NASA's never wrong"....."NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE"...."I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 25 YEARS!" I am getting getting louder and louder.... "HELP ME!!"...."GET THESE OUT!!"....."STUPID FREAKIN CONTACTS!!".... I am getting more and more frantic with tears and mascara and snot streaming down my face. Monica is getting more and more frantic yelling about space age technology and perfect base curves and light waves while trying to get the contacts out. I am crying, Monica is crying. I am yelling. Monica is yelling. We both are thrashing and yelling and crying and........
The contacts are out.
Monica is sitting in her chair.
I am sitting in my chair.
We are staring at each other.
Monica obviously wants to say something but realizes that it would be inappropriate to articulate what she actually thinks of me. After an uncomfortably long silence, she finally says, "you are quite..... challenging."
At this point I'm not sure how any of this is my fault. I mean, I'm not the one who who made the perfect-fit-exactly-for-me contact lenses. Why doesn't she get NASA on the line and give them a piece of her mind? Why is she glaring at me? I'm the one who had to go through the trauma of being blind and having knife contacts. What the heck is she mad at me for??
After another extremely long, extremely uncomfortable silence, Monica reaches up on the shelf and takes down two different boxes. More contacts. But regular contacts, not space age contacts. She says she just wants to try them. She puts the left one in. I keep my eye closed. She puts the right one in. Both eyes are closed. "Open your eyes," she says. "I don't want to," I say. I know. I can't help it. I am seriously pushing it here. I slowly, slowly open my eyes. Once again I blink. And blink again.
And then it happens. The most unexpected, unbelievable thing.
The room comes into focus.
I can see.
I can see! I can see!! I have contacts in and I can see!! "Monica!!!! Monica!! I can see!!" I absolutely, positively cannot believe it. The contacts fit. They are not knives. They are not killing my eyes. I look all around the room. I look up. I look down. I look at the chart. E D F C Z P. It is a miracle. It is AWESOME!! (I am not going to dwell on the fact that the right contacts were there all along. Let me just say that now I know how Dorothy felt).
I look over at Monica who has been very quiet this whole time. She is now sitting in her chair. I can see her face perfectly with my new contacts. And that's how I could see it when it happened. It was fleeting, but I caught it.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Monica gives me the spoon to hold over my left eye, dims the lights and tells me to read the first line.
I am in my optometrist's office for my first contact lens fitting. As much as I like my cute black with sparkle glasses, I have decided it may be time for contacts. And so here I sit, across from Monica, about to read the chart, when it happens.
My heart starts racing. My palms get sweaty. The room closes in.
I start to have a freak-out.
A vision test. This happens to me every time I have a vision test. I hate vision tests. There is a right answer, a letter, right up there on that chart a mere twenty feet away. All I have to do is read the letter. So simple. What could be easier? I just have to tell her the letter.
Except I can't. I can't tell her the letter because I am in full panic mode and not only can I not see out of my left eye because of the spoon, for some reason I can't see out of my right eye either. I am now blind. It's totally black. (Sidebar: I am fully aware that I bring this weird freak-out factor on myself. It's happened before. Once when a church in my town organized a blood drive I decided to donate blood. Everything was going great. No problems at all. Donated the blood easy peasey. Oh, yay! We get cookies and juice. Walk over to the food table. Sit down next to the nice little volunteer gentleman. Start sipping my juice. More people come and sit at the table. The nice little old man is saying if anyone at the table feels faint to let him know and he will ring his little bell. I look around. Does anyone look like they feel faint? No. Do I feel faint? No, I'm fine. I don't feel faint. I'm fine. I was fine. I was fine until this nice little old man said faint and now I think I feel faint. Wait. Do I feel faint? No. And then...it happens...racing heart, sweaty palms. Please don't ring the bell, please don't ring the bell. Oh, @#$%, I said that out loud. He's ringing the bell. People come flying from every direction and swarm me. I am surrounded by people in white coats who think I am about to faint when, in actuality, I am perfectly fine, never did feel faint, just had a little freak out. All those faces, all those concerned eyes looking at me. I look up sheepishly......and shove a cookie in my mouth).
And so it is with my vision test. I have gotten myself so worked up that I now can't see. I will fail this test. I will never get violet colored contacts. Ok, I was never actually going to get violet colored contacts but I liked thinking that I could have the Elizabeth Taylor option. I will fail and be forever stuck with glasses as my only eye accessory (cute as they may be).
Ok, breathe. Take a nice big breath. It's ok. It's all ok. You are not blind. You are fine. You are in a room with a nice woman who wants to help you see. And you are going to try these fun little things called contacts.
I fail my vision test. At least, I think I failed. I have no idea. E? F? T? I don't know. I say E then hear a sigh and know it's wrong. Or maybe Monica just breathes heavy. I try again. F? Another sigh. T? What?? Is it wrong or are you just asthmatic??
Monica hates me. I am convinced of this.
We are talking about my contact options. They are very limited. I can have contacts that let me see near. I can have contacts that let me see far. But because of the weird things going on with my eyes I can't have contacts that let me see both near AND far. Huh?? Isn't the point of having contacts the ability to, oh, I don't know, SEE??
This is not going well. Monica cannot find one pair of contacts that works for me. I am getting frustrated. Monica is getting frustrated. Monica sits quietly for a few minutes. I start to fidget. Monica makes me nervous. She's one of those people who doesn't smile. Ever. She is all business. No small talk. Not one of those gushing "oh-my-gosh-i-just-love-your-shoes-where-did-you-ever-find-them?" kind of gals. Nope. Not Monica. And now no-nonsense Monica is sitting there staring at me with her arms crossed. My fidgeting goes into overdrive.
"All right," she says at last, "You are a challenge. But I have one last thing we can try."
Whew. Maybe Monica doesn't hate me after all.
Monica tells me about these new, space-agey contacts made out of this oxygen breathing super conductible polymer isotope that was developed by NASA engineers. Ok, she didn't really say any of that but that's how I heard it. She did say that the contacts were made specifically for my eyes. She had to take exact measurements of each eye a thousand different ways. She went over the cost (a million dollars) and how I could try them for a while and if I didn't like them I could return them. She reassured me that I would love them, though, because they would be made to order for my very own eyes. She would send my measurements to NASA and my contacts would be ready in two weeks.
To be continued.....