That recent morning started out like any other.
Coffee on the back porch.
Quiet time with the Lord.
And then putting in my contacts before donning my exercise garb.
The right contact went in just fine.
But when I blinked to settle the left one into place, my vision was still blurry, which meant it was somewhere other than where it was supposed to be.
Since a contact will sometimes drift up under the eyelid, I did my usual maneuvers to move it back into place—but to no avail.
The other thing that’s common is for it to drop onto a surface somewhere—which is why I remained perfectly still while I searched with one eye closed.
After I scoured the areas I could see, I got down on my knees and examined the floor.
The only thing I discovered there was that I needed to work some cleaning into my schedule.
Since I couldn’t find the contact anywhere, I figured it had floated into the Netherlands of my eye—so I did what I often do in such situations: I headed for my phone to find out what it is a person should do when confronted with a situation they haven’t before faced.
Based on the advice there from a few credible ophthalmology sites, I started irrigating my eye with the lubricating solution I had on hand to try to get it to float out of whatever illusive crevice in which it had become stuck.
After my cheek was thoroughly drenched with no results, I moved on to the final guidance that every site had provided: “Call your eye doctor right away if you can’t get it out.”
By this time, it was 8:15 and I thought I’d better try to get an appointment before their schedule filled up for the day.
The gal I talked to on the phone was really helpful and said they could see me at 10:00.
This wasn’t at all what I’d been planning for a day chock full of client work, but I had visions of it being stuck in there all day so I had to adapt.
By the time I got off the phone, Dave and Blue were getting back from their walk.
I told Dave about my little crisis and he said he’d drive me to the doctor’s office to get things addressed.
Somewhere during that time, I realized I’d been keeping my bad eye shut so I could see out of the one in which the contact actually worked—which wouldn’t be necessary if I just took it out and put on my glasses.
Relieved to be able to see again with my glasses on and kicking myself for the time and money I was about to waste making the 16-mile trip to the heart of Ocala, I started to pray in earnest that the Lord would help the elusive contact to find its way out.
At the doctor’s office, I had my temperature checked at the door and answered all the could-you-have-Covid questions. Then I settled into my seat in a large area marked off to ensure an acceptable distance from all of my masked and mostly-elderly companions-in-wait.
When the tech took me back and listened to my tale of woe, she seemed to understand my plight. “This happens more often with age as the eyes get more dry,” she said.
“I knew it,” I thought.
The whole ordeal was making me feel clunky and old and this opinion from a woman who was younger than me confirmed my suspicions.
Since I’d been squeezed into the day’s schedule, it took a while to see the doctor, but I really didn’t mind since I was grateful to get to be seen at all.
While I waited in the long dark hallway outside the examination rooms, I listened to three seniors talk about their experiences with aging.
One man was in a wheelchair and concerned about helping his wife who couldn’t hear very well—and the other was someone they’d apparently just met with whom they were loudly discussing their decline in health over the years and the loss of a loved one who had recently died.
“He went to bed and just never woke up,” the woman said.
“That’s the best way to go,” responded their new friend.
“Yeah, other than that we can just look forward to dying in a lot of pain,” said the woman’s husband.
At that point, I had the urge to pipe up and say that wasn’t actually true, but since we all had masks on, were trying to stay away from each other, and I had a contact stuck in my eye, I decided to keep quiet and wait for my name to be called.
The doctor and his assistant were so kind to me, which is something for which I was grateful since I was feeling like a bit of a mess.
I gave them a quick description of my morning and smiled behind my mask. “I’m going to feel really dumb if there’s nothing in there,” I said.
“Sometimes they fold back on themselves,” the doctor said as leaned in and started examining my eye.
“And typically lodge in the upper outer corner,” he murmured as he did other things to my eye that caused me to wince and hold my breath.
“I don’t seeing anything,” he pronounced as he sat back onto his stool.
“You don’t?” My spirits both soared and sank.
I was grateful that everything was likely okay.
But chagrined that I was sitting there at all—since I’d just endured a bunch of unnecessary stuff so I could confirm that what was supposedly in my eye may have been a figment of my imagination.
That fact only added to my sense of feeling not as young as I used to be.
The doctor ended the visit with the disclaimer that he could’ve possibly missed something and to return to the office the next day if anything flared up in the hours ahead.
I walked out of the office to my patiently-waiting Dave and proclaimed the good news that things seemed to be okay and it hadn’t cost as much as I’d thought it would.
Still, I was wondering just a bit if the doctor may have overlooked the little pest during his exam and prepared myself for an increasingly irritated eye and the need to return.
When we got home, my uncertainty about whether something may still be in my eye took me back to that bathroom floor to search one more time.
And when I did, I found something that made me laugh and shake my head: A hard, shriveled contact lying in the same spot from which it had apparently fluttered from my finger at the start of the Great Contact Adventure.
Right then and there I said to myself, “Wait ‘till my readers hear about this.”
But I felt so silly that it’s taken me until now to share my crazy escapade.
However, the state of the world is a little intense these days, so I thought maybe you’d enjoy smiling along with me and shaking your head, too.
Plus, a sticker in a car window I saw recently reminded me of how important it is to embrace aging with a sense of humor and a grain of salt.
Of course, I could’ve just blamed the whole thing on Noodly Noop, who is the imaginary rascal Mom used to blame everything on that she didn’t want to fess up to and continues to serve in that role in our home today.
So that’s the end of my story and also my gift to you.
The next time you do something silly or that makes you feel old, you can say to yourself or whoever is within earshot, “If you think that’s bad, wait ’till I tell you what Sue did…”
This post is adapted from Sue’s Perspectives column in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.