My vision started to go when I was about 43. There were a few things I noticed that sent me to the optometrist. One: I was standing in church singing a hymn when I noticed that the letters seemed to be weaving around on the hymnal page like teeny tiny synchronized polliwogs. Two: I was driving on the freeway at night and noticed that all the tail lights of the cars in front of me were blurry, and had little star rays radiating. Three: I looked up at the stars in the sky, and they, like the tail lights, were blurry and had rays.
So I went to see Grant Lindskog, the local eye guy, who gave me an exam and informed me that I had presbyopia – my eyes were getting old. He cheerfully told me that it was people like me who sent his children to college, and he wrote a prescription for low magnitude reading glasses.
Rest in peace, Grant. We miss you.
After that I discovered cheap reading glasses, and started buying those. I got them in different styles, and gradually got stronger ones as my near vision deteriorated. They broke, and lenses fell out of them, so I bought more. I lost them frequently so I bought more and left them all over the house so that at any given time I could find a pair easily.
After about 15 years I started wearing prescription glasses all the time and stopped buying reading glasses, so I don’t have them stashed all over the house anymore.
I noticed the other day that now I’m starting to leave canes around the house.
I got my first cane about the time I got my first glasses, come to think about it – I had a bone spur in my left heel, and walked with a cane until the spur was surgically removed. Then I didn’t need a cane until my car wreck in 2000. After that I wore a back brace for six months, and used a cane for some of the time. I was in bed a lot the first few months, and used that time to tied string around a cane I picked up at the local thrift store. It was an adjustable metal cane, until I did the whole thing in sailor’s knots and varnished it.
Then my knees started to go, and periodically I needed to use a cane again, and I went to the thrift store and bought a few more canes over time. I think I had this idea that I was going to sand them down and paint them in colorful styles, but I don’t know why I thought that. I am not a craftsperson or an artist. Just another one of those darned bright ideas I tend to get, and forget.
Last week I took a fall that did something to my left knee that feels bad. Today I realized that I was leaving canes planted in various spots around the house so I’m close to one when I need it. I’m hoping my knees don’t go the way of the eyes, getting worse and worse. I have an appointment with an orthopedist in early December, and I think there may be some surgery in the near future for my knees. I will go quietly. I miss being able to walk. Maybe while I’m recovering from surgery I’ll have time to put sailor’s knots on some of my other canes. It’s a nice look.