A New Chapter
The day had finally arrived. Raindrops intermittently plopped onto my windshield, descending from gray clouds above. Reaching behind the driver’s seat of my 2003 Honda Element, I pulled a manila folder from my bag. Inside this folder was the “New Patient” form I had been asked to complete before arriving. Oddly, part of me remained in denial, even as I pulled the glass door open and entered Dr. David Sobel’s office. Looking around, I forced myself to remain calm as I cast my gaze upon the multitude of eyeglasses adorning the walls, backlit in high-tech displays. Beautiful people wearing glasses stared back at me from strategically placed posters. Yes, this dreaded day had come.
“Can I help you?” came the voice. It was then I knew for certain a new chapter of my life had started. Previous chapters included a protagonist with vibrant eyesight, able to read easily, even the smallest print from miles away. However, that protagonist – me – had noticed in recent months that…well, things had changed. Suddenly, reading a simple email on an iPhone, or a book with perhaps 10-point New Times Roman font, had become much more difficult, a far more laborious task than in previous decades. “You’re going to run out of arm!” a colleague joked at work one day, as she watched me holding my phone away from my face and squinting.
“Um, yes, I have a 4:30 appointment?” I replied to the woman standing behind the mahogany-colored table in Dr. Sobel’s foyer. After the obligatory exchange of pleasantries and insurance information, the woman led me to the back of the office and directed me to have a seat. The eye doctor would be right with me. He was.
Dr. Sobel invited me into his office. “Have a seat here in this red chair,” he said. Behind the red chair, I noticed a small Picasso painting positioned next to a colorful collage of John Lennon’s visage. Hidden speakers piped in smooth jazz- I recognized Spyro Gyra’s 1970’s hit “Morning Dance.” “Do you like this music?” I queried. “Oh yes, I’ve been a jazz fan my whole life,” the doctor replied. Wow, a jazz fan. I’m a jazz musician. Maybe this would be okay, I thought.
From this point forward, Dr. Sobel and I connected. He taught me amazing details about my eyes. He showed me what it will look like to be able to see again. He took incredibly detailed digital pictures of my eyeballs. And suddenly, I felt part of an adventure, instead of a victimized character enduring a dreaded ordeal. We exchanged stories of parents deceased too early. We talked of favorite musicians. We discussed our children. And, as it turns out, I still have incredible eyes – 20/10 vision! I just need some reading glasses.
Okay, not so bad.
Exiting the office that day, I felt struck by the turnaround. This was supposed to be terrible, this whole eye appointment thing. And yet, it had been anything but. In thinking about the new lenses I would soon be wearing to read print, I suddenly considered the perceptive lenses I brought with me as I arrived at the office. Those are lenses I can change anytime. Gotta remember that.