November 18, 2008

“Jeepers, Creepers…”

“...I'm sorry for absolutely ruining your life by passing along to you a genetic predisposition for myopia and astigmah-tizzzzz-um..."

Yeah, doesn’t quite trip off the tongue, does it?

But, it was bound to happen, and the warning signs have been present for a while now—squinting, confusing one letter for another on the chalkboard, difficulty reading. Tiny Terror has now joined the rest of her family in the need for ocular assistance.

And it wasn’t pleasant.

Of course.

Because when you’re a kid, you tend to say stuff like, “I want glasses like you and Mom and Rebecca and Jonathan and Ashley,” without really considering what you’re saying. And you complain about the aforementioned inability to see the board and stuff, and wonder why your parents won’t take you and get a cool set of glasses right THEN! And then you show up at the Walmart vision center and the doctor tells you you need glasses, and all of that theoretical ‘wouldn’t it be cool to have glasses’ make-believe stuff is suddenly very real, and you start trying on frames, and you think that your friends are going to make fun of you, and you’re a young girl at that age when any criticism of your appearance sends you into fits of despair, and you can’t find anything that you like, and everything you do kinda-sorta like your dad won’t buy because it costs too much, and then everyone’s trying to tell you to hurry up because the store is going to close, and you HATE EVERYONE and HATE YOUR EYES and finally decide you shouldn’t have been saying you wanted glasses, and you wish you could go back in time and say that you want perfect eyes FOREVER, and you close your eyes and wish hard and all you get are tears.

So, you know, lots of fun at the Walmart vision center last night.

She finally settled on a pair that was reasonably-priced and fit her face and looked very cute to me (but less so to her, of course). This angst was on top of the fact that we almost had to reschedule again, after having been called last Tuesday (when our appointment was) and being told the doctor was ill, so we’d have to pick another day. Couldn’t do it Wednesday (church), couldn’t do it Thursday (the other doc doesn’t take Blue Cross), couldn’t do it Friday (football game), or Saturday (youth trip to Atlanta), not Sunday (church), so yesterday was pretty much it.

And so then when Reba got there, they said none of us were on the schedule.

Seems whoever called us didn’t actually write it down on the calendar. I heard all this second hand through the cell phone:

REBA: “They say we’re not on the schedule, and we’ll have to come back another day.”

ME: “No, they’re going to see you, because they already called us and changed it once, and I don’t care how many other people they’ve got to see, they’ll have to see you, too.”

R: “But they’ve got other people already scheduled.”

M: “Not our problem—tell them to make the other people wait.”

R: “Terry.”

M: [thinking angry thoughts]

R: “They’re asking who called you.”

M: “How should I know!? They called, we rescheduled because they called, and you’re not leaving until they see you! It was some woman, and I don’t know who it was. I didn’t ask for her name, she said she was with the Walmart vision center!”

R: [relaying information] “Okay, well, they said they don’t know who it was…”

M: “It. Does. Not. MATTER. WHO. CALLED. US. Look, ask them if the doctor was sick last week on Tuesday.”

R: [asking] “Yeah, they said he was out sick.”

M: “Okay, ask if they had someone calling to reschedule people.”

R: [asking] “Yes, they said someone called to reschedule people…”


R: “WAIT! Hold on and calm down--she’s talking to the manager—they said something about giving us a gift card to make up for it—”

M: “It danged well better cover the whole cost of whatever the insurance doesn’t cover, because we’re not going to go through this again.”

R: [asking] “Oh, okay—the manager just came out and said she was sorry and they’d stay here later and make sure we all got seen. Now calm down.”

In my snit, I failed to figure it probably would have been worth waiting another day or two, but once I get my dander up and think I know what’s acceptable and what’s not, there’s little to talk me down off that limb that I’m sawing so hard on.

But, it still rankles, you know?

I mean, do they have a problem with their staff prank-calling patients to tell them to come another day, and then not write it down? Is their staff so huge (with its five or six people) that they can’t figure out who screwed up? Is it really good policy to interrogate customers and expect them to anticipate being screwed over by whoever it was that called, enough to know it would be good to get the person’s name so when it came time to come to the store it would be readily available? Is it good to poke people with sticks and inconvenience them instead of the silly cow who messed up in the first place? And why is it they said they had four other customers scheduled at the same times as us, yet only one of which actually showed up? And why is my Blue Cross eye coverage so awful—it only pays for a portion of the exams, and nothing for glasses.

Anyway, I got off work and drove on over there (having a fine time all the way, venting and raging and Walter Mittying as I heard the staccato pocketa-pocketa sound as I crushed every single lens in the store under my feet), and everyone was nice and solicitous, aside from Miss Prickly Pants and her quandary about choosing a set of frames.

She was made to feel better with the purchase of a pink plaid patterned case that will hold her new glasses.

I wish I were so easily unburdened.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at November 18, 2008 09:51 AM

My sympathy goes out to TT (Cat), though I can't remember when I first got my glasses (5th grade? 2nd grade??). As fate would have it, I went to my eye surgeon today and got my second laser treatment for glaucoma. Once she gets over her "horror" of having to wear glasses let her know that there are folks who lose their vision over time and would dearly love to get it back (so take care of those eyeballs young lady!). Of course, at that age you think you're indestructible, and you are for the most part.

Posted by: Marc V at November 18, 2008 10:27 PM

Thanks, Marc. She was in a better mood last night, and I asked her if she'd told anyone she was getting glasses. She said she had, which means she's at least working herself up to it. I was in the fifth grade when I got glasses, and I remember thinking I could just wear them part time.

Didn't work.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 19, 2008 10:02 AM

I was in second grade, and I do use mine part-time, which is why I won't consider Lasik surgery. Trade one part-time for another, I won't. Mine were little gray cat's eye glasses, which I could probably sell for $200 on e-bay.

Gov. Palin should be an icon to female eyeglass wearers everywhere. She wears glasses with panache.

Posted by: Janis Gore at November 19, 2008 09:43 PM

I'm at the age now where if I got laser surgery they'd have to do one eye for close vision and one eye for regular. Too danged confusing even to think about.

My first pair was a pair of thick plastic black and gray pseudo-hornrim-looking things that I actually picked out myself. Wore them for two years and have yet to figure out why I thought I wanted them.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 19, 2008 10:12 PM

At our age we should wait for cataract surgery. Then we can make choices.

Posted by: Janis Gore at November 19, 2008 10:25 PM

I'm praying that doesn't happen until I'm well past retirement. Sorta hard to be a blind architect. And based on my calculations, it looks like I should be able to retire around age 136.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 20, 2008 08:09 AM

I'm so nearsighted - and I always end up picking out frames after my exam, without my contacts in, with my eyes dilated to major drug-user size, that I'm never really happy with the glasses.

I started wearing glasses in third grade. The first pair were pale pink, but the next were a snazzy blue/pink/purple mix. I must have liked them a lot - I picked the same frame several years in a row.

Posted by: Diane at November 20, 2008 11:04 AM

I remember when Reba and I first started dating, when she didn't have her contact lenses in, she had a big pair of swirly-framed glasses--the kind that the hinge was on the bottom of the lens and swooped up around the ear. She was quite fetching with those and big hair.

Her hair's smaller now, and so are her glasses.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 20, 2008 02:11 PM

Being a Navy brat, I could get my glasses on base (I think $17 40 years ago). In high school I wore the standard black frame Navy issue glasses. I didn't find out until later that they're known as "birth control glasses" in the service.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at November 20, 2008 02:47 PM

They can usually be overridden by beer goggles.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 20, 2008 02:56 PM

Takes an awful lot of that 3.2% stuff.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at November 20, 2008 04:44 PM