A Variation of Normal


Here’s the thing, my glasses broke the other day and I cannot afford to get them replaced. My prescription is complicated. So until I can afford to get new ones I am walking around with nerd tape on my frames. That’s right, a grown woman with nerd tape. But oh well, what can I do. Sometimes life calls for such measures. But here’s the thing, at least I can still see. I remember when I got my first pair of glasses many, many, many years ago. I walked out of the doctor’s office and I could see leaves on the trees. I was astounded. Those were cows in the meadow not blobs of goo that I was too freaked out about to question. I had no idea that trees had leaves from a distance. I guess I thought everyone saw the way I did. But as I got older my eyes grew progressively worse and I continued to need more and more complicated lenses. One year I went for an exam and the doc gave me the drops and told me to relax as  my pupils dilated. I really hate that part. But anyhoo, he looks in my eyes and gets all alarmed. He says, “You have cupping of the disk.”
In my blurred state I looked at him and said, “What?”
“Cupping of the disk.”
Apparently this is not normal and is symptomatic of glaucoma. So he suggested very strongly that I make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for further evaluation. Now this was freaking me out. All I could think was that I would be blind in a matter of hours. Cupping of the disk?
So off I went to the ophthalmologist who performed an exam on my eyeballs that rivaled any known terrorist interrogation tactics. Seriously, the doc put so many chemicals in my eyes that when I left my eyes were green. GREEN! Not the irises but the whites of my eyes had turned green. And not a pleasant hunter green or grass green. Nope. I’m talking toxic waste green. The doc assured me this was temporary and should go away in a few hours. SHOULD?
Anyway, the upshot of the whole ordeal is this. After a through examination of my eyeballs and my optic nerves the doctor came to this startling conclusion.
“It’s a variation of normal.”
I laughed. “What?”
She repeated her diagnosis. “A variation of normal. For you. Cupping of the optic disk is normal and nothing to worry about. Come back next year.”
Variation of normal.
I left. Still laughing because that seemed to sum up my whole life, and my personality. A variation of normal. So now when I say or do something stoopid or some crapful life thing happens I can look myself in the eye and say, “It’s okay. It’s variation of normal.”
But aren’t we all? Variations of normal? The trick I suppose is knowing what normal is.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Oh, Joyce, I know exactly how you felt. I went in for a regular checkup and was told my retina was detaching. It was 3 days before Christmas and thank goodness my son had come with me, because after a couple hours more than it should have been (including making an emergency Christmas Eve appointment for surgery!) I was sent home. I'd been unable to choose new frames because I was crying too much to calm down. I need my eyes. I can't work without them. (P.S. I'm fine now.) It is very, very unsettling when you get initial news like that!