Jen Jeffrey: Four Eyes! Four Eyes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - by Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey
Jen Jeffrey

With everything that we put off (for whatever reason) comes a time when something will happen that forces us to make the procrastinated change we were avoiding. I have made enough excuses to not go to the eye doctor… I did something that was beyond seeing ‘an imaginary cat in a puddle’.

I know that life is a journey and we learn as we go. We are going to make mistakes and the beauty is that something positive comes from our mistakes and that is, ‘We learn from them’.

I am fine with learning things I didn’t know that will make me better, but what makes me take my fist and hit it against my forehead saying, “Doh!” is when I do something really stupid that could have been avoided had I not been… well, stupid.

I can blame many things for the mistake I made last week, but I had to admit that I just couldn’t see my datebook very well.

I had my datebook with the addresses of my appointments and I had my notebook with questions prepared for an interview for a story. I looked down at the datebook to key the address in my GPS. It should be so simple.

I had looked at the next day’s appointment when keying in the address! I drove up to what I thought was Lynn’s office, but it was a house. Maybe I remembered her description of her office wrong. A woman appeared out of the door to greet me, but she was on the phone and she had motioned for me to come in.

When she hung up, I extended my hand to introduce myself, “Hi Lynne, I am Jen Jeffrey.” Now ‘Lynne’ didn’t hear me mispronounce her name because she was apologizing for being on the phone.

Being over 40, we women are dealing with hormonal changes plus we are trying to keep up with careers and juggling everything else, so it was quite comical that the person I planned to interview the next day thought she was the one who had gotten the day wrong and …she was just ‘going with it’.

I turned my recorder on and began taking notes as ‘Lynne’  answered the questions. When she mentioned her father’s name, I thought it was odd that I had an interview with someone the next day, with the same last name as her father.

“By any chance,” I interrupted, “are you related to Deborah Levine?” DEBORAH looked at me as stunned as an animal getting shot with a dart. “I AM Deborah…” It was now my turn to look stunned and, for a split second, ready to argue with her about her identity. Then the light flickered …but it flickered a bright red and shone all over my face as the sirens went off in my head! I was also horrified that I was now 20 minutes late for my interview with Lynne!

I looked at my calendar again and the address I had looked at to key into my GPS was Deborah’s. Luckily, Deborah was a great sport and the timing seemed to work for her to be available for an impromptu interview. But I had to call Lynne and explain what happened. 

After getting things straightened out and just swapping the interviews, I got my bearings and had to wing it with questions.

‘All’s well that ends well’ but I do not like when I make a careless mistake like that. It made me feel ditzy. I may be simple as far as understanding the great big world that I haven’t seen much of, but I am not ditzy, absent-minded or stupid. I sure felt like it that day though!

My eyes had failed me and I could not put them off anymore. No, I didn’t have the “extra money” that I was waiting for before getting my eyes checked out, but it is almost the same thing that young couples do in waiting to have a baby …‘when they can afford it’. Sometimes that ideal setting they are waiting for never happens and you just have to make it happen with what you’ve got.

I juggled things around financially and went to see Dr. McDonald at Eyeglass World.

I have never been able to express myself to a doctor of any sort in describing what is wrong. By the time I make myself go, I have already gotten used to the ailment or problem (for years) and it has become ‘normal’. But telling him which lens I saw better with was not too difficult.

The plan was to try contacts first and then resort to eyeglasses if needed. I already knew in my mind that I was going to be a star pupil when I was taught how to apply contacts to my virgin eyeballs. After I was shown, I missed the eye when I blinked, but the second time, it went in fine.

After putting both lenses in, I noticed that I could see some things clear and other things not so clear. I was told the contacts were ‘monovision’  and, though they didn’t bother or irritate my eyes, I became frustrated when I was at home and needed to see my computer and couldn’t. My vision was worse, as far as looking at the computer, than without them. But it helped to see the television.

I knew the doc knew what he was doing so I wasn’t second guessing him, but I never had eyeglasses or contacts ever and had no idea how I was supposed to ‘use my brain’ to view objects around me. Cost was also a factor. Did I want to take on an ongoing expense or a one-time thing?

The situation was I needed some assistance for reading and my main problem was distance. I felt wearing eyeglasses could be at my discretion in when to put them on or take them off; where with contacts I had to have solution, a mirror, etc.

The next morning when I woke and headed toward the coffee pot to pour my coffee and watch the news, I realized if I wanted to see the clear picture on the television I would have to go ‘put my eyes in’  before truly waking up. I didn’t like that.

I went back to the eyeglass store after my interview (with the real Lynne this time) and picked out a pair of eyeglasses. I was wearing an outfit that made these bold eyeglasses pop and look pretty awesome. They were great for fashion, but this would be an attachment now.

I felt so old. As I looked in the mirror at the prospective specs and I saw the lines across my forehead; I saw gray hairs sprouting one by one growing rapidly in an instant. I saw the middle aged-spread and the extra chin and I no longer was the woman who was told, “You look too young to be a grandmother,” now… I looked like my grandchildren’s grandmother.

After choosing progressive lenses (no-line bifocals), I would have to pick up my glasses the next day. On the way home I began wondering about my new attachment.

Will I start talking nasal like Erkle? Will I push my glasses up with my finger and be nerdy? Will anyone notice my eyes anymore? That was the one thing I would get a compliment on …now I had nothing, my youth was gone.

I was a fat, gray-haired, nerdy great-grandmother.

When I picked up my eyeglasses, I held my head up high with confidence. As I sat to have them fitted I saw out the window very far away! I heard Tim Conway’s voice in my head where he did a skit and was hit on the head causing his ‘crossed eyes’ to un-cross, “I can see! I can see!”

Then it happened. I walked out of the store with my new eyes and got into my Jeep. I glanced at the rear view mirror and saw this person staring back at me and I heard schoolyard bullies yelling “Four eyes! Four eyes!”

Driving home was a tiny challenge. I could see straight in front of me, but if my eyes darted to the left or right without turning my head, it went blurry. It was the same thing with the contacts I tried. Because both of my eyes were no longer seeing symmetrical as Walter Gienapp spoke of in his story a couple of weeks ago, I had to deal with one eye being able to see distance and the other eye was on its own.

Well, the other eye that could see things closer had a tiny bit of correction in the lenses, but I had to look down or lift my head. What? Now, I have to be obvious when I look at something and actually turn my head or cock it in such a way to find a clear vision?

It wasn’t the doctor’s fault or the eyeglasses. Every person over 40 who had my type of vision problems spoke of how I ‘would get used to it’ – it’s just the way it is. Welcome to middle age. It will be a learned behavior to turn my head with what I want to see through the lenses.

Yesterday, Mama and I were having lunch at Subway. I was wearing my glasses because I had driven. When a couple came in the door, Mama commented on an outfit the girl had on and she wanted me to discretely look at her.

When I tried to look at the girl, I lost my clear view and it went blurry. If I wanted to see the girl’s outfit I had to turn my head! Gone are my secret spy days with my grandson! If something isn’t straight before me, I have to move my head around like a joystick until I focus clearly.

Do you know how stupid I look bobbing my head around while my eyes are not focused? Tim Conway comes to mind again.

I most likely won’t wear the eyeglasses all the time, but it will take getting used to when I do wear them. When I look out and see clearly and then pull up the glasses to see without them, I really see a difference and have no idea how I have been seeing the world so fuzzy for the past few years.

I posted a photo with the new eyewear on Facebook. I saw my Daddy. I looked like him a lot. Oh how I made fun of him when I was a kid, for wearing the dark framed glasses hiding his gorgeous eyes. Now I have the dark frames.

Even though I see the world a bit clearer now (except when I veer my eyes to the side), I don’t think eyeglasses will change how I really see the world. I still have my child-like vision where everything is new everyday …waiting for me to explore and find the good in it. And now… I have four eyes in which to see it with.

jen@jenjeffrey.com

 

 


First Exhibition Of Latin American Traditional Costumes And Objects

The Coalition of Latino Leaders, with the support of The Bandy Heritage Center will host an Opening Reception to launch the First Exhibition of Latin American Traditional Costumes and Objects, as part of the Latino Culture Festival.  The Exhibition will be open to the public from Oct. 27 through Nov 12 at The Bandy Heritage Center at Dalton State College, located at Dalton ... (click for more)

Young Marines Third Division Wins Department of Defense Award For Anti-Drug Program

Division Three of the Young Marines youth organization’s Drug Demand Reduction Program , which includes the South East Tennessee Area Unit in Chattanooga, is the winner of the 2014 Annual Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Education from the Department of Defense.  Defense Department personnel presented the award to Division Three Commander, Sergeant ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)