A Vision of the Future?
After nearly two months since cataract surgery my vision is finally stabilized. I’m wearing glasses again, with new prescription lenses, so I can quit juggling one pair for driving, several pairs for reading and, much of the time, wearing none. The new prescription, like my old one, is a progressive bifocal, with distance correction at the top (for one eye), reading at the bottom (for both), and mid-range in the middle, which is where I am looking right now to see the computer screen. I canmanage the computer without them, but I’m trying to get into the habit of wearing them all the time so my eyes don’t constantly have to re-adjust every time I put them on. (I will retain my old habit of waiting until I go outside to get the paper in the morning so that I stay in my wake-up fog while making coffee and doing my morning stretches before focusing on the world.)
Unpleasant, stressful and difficult as these past weeks have been, I was pretty sure there would be a resolution and all would be well. What has really given me pause is wondering if this was a glimpse of a possible future. It made my very sympathetic to the ways aging reduces one’s ability to get along in the world, from vision and hearing loss to joint pain and other physical disabilities.
I have pretty good longevity genes. My maternal grandmother lived to 95, and both her daughters lived well into their 90s—and my mother smoked for 50 years. My father, also a long-time smoker, lived to 84. (I smoked on and off for a couple of periods in my life and quit for good in the early 90s.) My father suffered with emphysema in his later years, and my mother was very frail with osteoporosis and digestive ailments. They both soldiered on, but if I live that long I hope it will be a healthier, more vigorous life.
As hard as I work to maintain excellent health through exercise, careful eating, a community of support and a positive attitude, this minor vision crisis has given me some anxiety. What, I wonder, would it be like for my vision to be compromised and know it could not be corrected? What about hearing, or any of the many debilities aging brings? I have always been pretty energetic, but yesterday I took a walk that should take less than an hour. I didn’t get out before the sun and humidity took hold. It took me an hour and a half, with a couple of stops to rest, and I was drained when I got home. I had plenty of water and a cool kerchief around my neck. I used t be able to stay in the pool with my granddaughter for several hours at a time, but now I’m adding rest breaks every 30 minutes. Yes, I’m the only granny who plays in the pool at all—others sit, fully clothed, on the side—but I hate fading after half an hour. Is it the Texas heat? I watched some roofers at work today and wondered how they can work in this heat–and this week is relatively mild.
There are people in their 80s and older who dance, climb mountains and compete in triathlons. What am I not doing right? I get plenty of sleep, eat well and take supplements. I don’t use caffeine—had to give it up because of headaches and can’t go back. Anti-aging or energy boosting ideas are welcome!