The Older Myopes
It had been a tumultuous period in my life. Finally I had enough time in for retirement, and I was now able to collect my pension. But, my wife and I couldn’t agree on anything. We had 2 homes, one in the south, and one in the north, because it got too darned hot in the south in the summer, and too darned cold in the north in the winter. But, we didn’t have enough money to support ourselves the way we wanted to with the expenses of two homes. So, my wife wanted us to live in the house up north. I was just as adamant that we should live in the house in the south. Finally it came to a head. I told her I was going to sell the southern house, and move to an extended care facility in a nicer southern climate. She was welcome to either keep the northern home, or sell it, and join me. She chose to keep the northern home.
While the southern home was up for sale, I decided to do something I had always wanted to do. I found an eye doctor who would implant lenses in my eyes, and when I left his office I now really needed the –25D glasses I had previously required high plus contacts under to wear.
After I found the retirement complex that I wanted to live in, I entered into an arrangement with the management company that owned it. This was a new complex, and they were anxious to fill the home, so I offered them $500,000.00 for the use of the unit I was interested in for the rest of my life. I was now 66 years old, and although I was in fairly good health, I likely only had around 15 more years to go. So, since the rent was $2,200.00 per month for the next 15 years they were going to get $500,000.00 that was non refundable. This would be more than 19 years of rent to them. And, they would have the money in hand now, to pay down their mortgage. They accepted my offer, and I moved my meager belongings into my small room.
Once I had moved in, I was young enough that I felt a little out of place. Most of the other inhabitants were in much worse shape physically than I was. I still had my car, and my drivers license, so I was often enlisted to drive people around. I didn’t mind, as this gave me something to do. The only times it bothered me was when the person I was driving around had something negative to say about my strong glasses. This happened once in a while, and I would usually just reply that I had 20/20 vision with my glasses.
I fell into a routine living there. I always dressed for breakfast, even though others came down to the dining hall wearing their bathrobes. In the first year I had gone through 5 people who had formerly sat at my table of four with me. One lady moved to another table, and 3 of the other 4 had passed on. It was depressing in a way, since I realized that almost everyone here, myself included, was waiting for death to come silently in the night. The 4th lady, Margaret, had been the worst off. She had gone from a fairly advanced stage of Alzheimer’s to the point where she had been moved to a bed care facility where she was hanging on, just waiting to die, but not knowing anything or anybody. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
There was one vacant seat at my table the afternoon that Gord and Linda moved in, so Harold moved to another table and Gord and Linda joined Mary and I. Mary was quite a bit older than myself, and she was quite overweight, so there was nothing there between us. Gord appeared to be a lot older than Linda. Linda appeared to be my age. She was petite, and very attractive.
Over the next few months I really enjoyed Gord’s company. He had been an English Literature professor at the same university that my younger brother had attended, and I remember that my brother had really liked his courses. He was 91 years old, quite a bit older than Linda, who was now 67 to my 68. Linda had been one of his students, and Gord had married her after she had graduated. But what interested me so much was a statement Gord made one day.
"She was like a vision to me. Once I laid eyes on Linda in my class I couldn’t stop looking at her. She was by far the prettiest thing I had ever seen, and I loved to look at the light reflections bouncing off the front of her glasses, showing off those funny little circles in the center of the lenses." Gord said.
Little circles in the center of the lenses? To me that meant myodiscs. Was it possible that Linda was very nearsighted? I resolved to find out.
"I had glasses like that years ago. Are you nearsighted Linda?" I asked.
"Yes, I am very nearsighted. I wore glasses until I was about 25, and then I got contact lenses, which I have worn ever since." Linda replied.
"She still wears glasses when I chase her around the room at night." Gord cackled.
Well, now I was interested. I was drawn to ladies who wore strong glasses like a magnet to a pile of steel. Of course she was married, but over the last month I knew that Gord’s health had been going downhill rapidly. I didn’t think he had that much longer to live, and I resolved to be ready to pick up where he left off. There was still the little fact that I was married myself, but we had gotten a legal separation, and I had not initiated any contact, nor had I received anything other than a birthday and Christmas card from her for over 2 years. And I had also sent her cards at these times as well.
My next task was to get a look at Linda’s glasses. Linda and Gord had their little double room on the same floor as I was, and in the evenings we often sat in the communal area watching television. One night I heard Gord tell Linda that if her contacts were bothering her she should put her glasses on. I heard her object, and I heard Gord tell her that since I wore strong glasses, maybe stronger than hers, I wouldn’t mind. Linda went off, and I expected her to come back wearing glasses, but apparently she decided to go to bed, and before long Gord left as well. I finished the show I was watching, and I went to bed as well, wishing that Linda had worn her glasses so I could get a good look at them.
The following morning Gord appeared at breakfast alone.
"Where is your wife Gord?" I asked.
"She is having a problem with her contact lenses. I think she has pink eye, and she isn’t going to be able to wear contacts until it clears up. But, she will have to go to the doctor to get some of that special antibiotic cream, and she won’t go out of the room without her contact lenses on." Gord told me.
"Well, I will be happy to drive her to the doctor." I replied.
"You drive with your eyes? You must have better eyesight than Linda, because she has always felt she couldn’t see well enough to drive." Gord said.
Now I was excited. Actually, I would rather have had Linda have a lower powered prescription than the one in my glasses. I get a bit of a kick out of having the worst eyes on the block so as to speak. But, I also get excited if anyone has a prescription that is worse than mine, so it was a catch 22 situation for me.
Linda joined us for lunch. She was wearing only one contact lens, and I could see that the uncorrected eye was very red, and I could also tell that it was unfocused, as it drifted all around her eye socket. She must be having lots of trouble with her depth perception. Of course Gord kept telling her she was a fool for not wearing her glasses.
That afternoon Linda called my room to see if I could take her to her eye doctor the following morning, and of course I agreed. Again at supper she wore her single contact lens, and again I marveled at how she could possibly focus this way. After supper we went up together in the elevator, and as we got off, Gord suggested I come to their room for a visit. I followed them, a slow process, as Gord had recently started using a walker, and he wasn’t used to it.
They had a queen bed, and a few chairs around the room for sitting in. Gord motioned for me to sit down, and Linda went to the washroom.
"Here, try my glasses on before I take out my one contact and put them on for the evening. Gord bet me that yours are stronger than mine, but I don’t think so." Linda said as she came out of the bathroom carrying a pair of thick plastic myodiscs.
I took my glasses off carefully, and put them in my shirt pocket. I carefully took the plastic frames, and without forcing them I slid them onto my nose. I pressed them up to the bridge of my nose. Things were still a bit blurry, although I could see. I picked up a magazine from the table beside me, and I tried to read. I had to bring the magazine up pretty close to the glasses to do so. I knew that mine were stronger, so I told Linda and Gord that.
"See, I told you that honey. He has that new hi index stuff your doctor was telling you about." Gord said.
"Her glasses are over 10 years old. She tried that polycarbonate type lenses in the 80’s and she just couldn’t see very well through it, so for this last pair she just got regular myodisc plastic again." Gord added.
"Well, my lenses are a very high index glass Gord. I ordered these on the internet from a supplier in Hong Kong. My vision thorough these lenses are great, far better than the old biconcave regular plastic lenses like Linda’s that I used to wear." I replied.
"Could I get a pair like that?" Linda asked.
"I see no reason why not. They were way cheap compared to a pair of US made ones." I replied.
"How much?" Gord asked.
"Under $200.00." I replied.
"That is a whole lot cheaper than Linda’s old glasses were. Get a new prescription from your doctor tomorrow and we will order you a pair." Gord told Linda.
So, the next day I drove Linda to her eye doctor appointment. She did get a new prescription, with no change from her old one. Her doctor also advised her to cut down on her contact lens wear, so I was glad that she had decided to order new glasses on her own.
For the next 3 weeks, until her new glasses came in from Hong Kong, Linda was forced to wear her old biconcave lenticular-lensed myodiscs. She was not happy, and she felt that everyone was staring at her. It had been 46 years since she had worn glasses out in public. Of course I told her that she had been very fortunate that she had been able to wear contacts for that long, but she still wasn’t happy about wearing her glasses. The day that little box arrived from Hong Kong she rushed upstairs, and came back down wearing a lovely pair of wire framed hi index glasses. She was ecstatic. And, because her new glasses looked so thin and more like normal glasses, Linda was a lot more willing to wear them than she had been the myodiscs.
Gord had six more months of being able to see his lovely wife Linda wearing her new glasses. It was a bit of a shock for us when Gord passed on in his sleep one night, but Linda and I both knew that this had been the best way for Gord to go.
Because Gord had been a popular teacher, his funeral was very well attended. And I got to meet Gord and Linda’s 2 children at the funeral. Mike and Shelly seemed to be great kids, and I knew that they both lived some distance away, so I realized that they felt very badly that they had not been able to spend any time with Gord before he passed away. Linda told me that Shelly had very poor eyesight like her’s, and Shelly was extremely interested in finding out where we had ordered our glasses from. Mike was nearsighted as well, but only in the neighborhood of –10D.
Gord and Linda had entered into a similar arrangement with the extended care facility that I had, and it looked as though Linda and I would be lifetime members here. After a number of months had passed since Gord died, Linda and I went to the management company, and we managed to trade my normal room, and Linda’s large room for 2 normal adjoining rooms. We made one room a bedroom, and the other room a sitting room. We are quite comfortable with our living arrangements. And I love looking at Linda with her –24D glasses perched daintily on her nose, through the –25D lenses in my own glasses.