Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Genius

It's always traumatic to get glasses. I started wearing them maybe 20 years ago, though my sight wasn't all that bad. But I couldn't recognize people all the way down the hall, so I went and got checked. But then when I actually wore the glasses I found I couldn't read. Supervisors, even then, took a dim view of English teachers who couldn't read.

I stopped wearing glasses most of the time. But then I started seeing the ophthalmologist my daughter went to, and she insisted I get progressive lenses so I could see and read. This doctor had this very old office, and it was full of old wind-up toys and things. She was very kind, and very smart. I looked forward to seeing her every couple of years. This year, she retired. According to some thing I read on line, she was 87 years old. I couldn't really argue with that. She sent a card to go to some new doctor, but when I showed up for an appointment they demanded an extra 50 bucks for "refraction," or checking for glasses. As my former doctor didn't charge that, and as they didn't warn me in advance, I walked.

When I called new doctors, they all wanted the extra 50. I  finally called one near my house, who only wanted 30. It seemed like a bargain, given that I didn't know any of them beyond their GHI listings anyway. The doctor did the whole refraction thing for maybe two minutes, like it was boring for him. Then, when I left, they charged me 80 bucks. I'd expect to pay 60, but evidently they did another very important 20 dollar test. For the price, I may as well have stayed with the folks my previous doctor had recommended.

I buy glasses at Costco, because my former ophthalmologist said they were the best, because  it's good to those who work there, and because a lot of eyeglass joints charge four times as much as I pay there. They don't take UFT insurance for the eye exam, unfortunately, it's $65 out of pocket, and you have to send in the form rather than get an immediate discount. When I put on the new glasses the doctor had prescribed, my eyes hurt. Then I got kind of a headache. I went back to the optician and asked if the prescription had changed. He said it had. That was odd because the doctor told me it hadn't changed my old prescription. But the optician said he had.

I was afraid to drive home with them and I didn't. But I put them on in the morning. The top of my laptop didn't look level anymore. It seemed to slope to one side. But when I took the glasses off, everything was fine. I walked my dog in my backyard. It turned out the yard, which had appeared level to me these last few decades, was also on a slant. But when I took the glasses off everything was level again. Was the world on an angle, and had I just failed to notice it because of my awful eyesight and/ or terrible glasses?

I went back on Monday morning to see the doctor. "Costco?" he said. "What do they know? They aren't MDs. Are those your old glasses? Look at them! They are crooked!" He was pretty angry. He screamed at me to put down my phone. I was actually spending all the down time in his office reading a mystery on my phone. It helped me to not show him the same anger that he was showing to me. But I politely placed the phone in my pocket, so as to focus more keenly on his torrent of outrage.

Then he gave me the eye test again, and spent at least double the time. Eventually he said Costco was right and he was wrong. "It happens," he explained. He wrote me a new prescription citing physician error. He said they wouldn't charge, but if they did he would cover it. (They didn't.)

Then he asked if I'd made an appointment to come back next year. I hadn't, but his office will be calling me. My former doctor had me come back every two years, just like the Welfare Fund benefit. That's enough for me. Also, I'm pretty sure I will look more carefully for a new doctor this time.  
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