Embracing the Unknown
I mosied into the optometrist’s office like I have for the past nineteen years. Although I’ve moved in and out of a few states since my first appointment, I’m always greeted with the same warm Southern smiles of women sporting designer frames.
Grey, padded chairs with black, metal armrests lined the wall to my left. A grey, wooden coffee table sat perfectly juxtapose one of the gently used chairs. All the while, a ginger-haired toddler with green eyes sat on the floor, pretending to read her tattered Bible story book.
I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly through my nostrils. This was home. I was a proud member of the Corrected Vision Club.
Just as I was about to pull out a copy of my latest book obsession, I heard a woman call out, “Gilbert?”
“That’s me,” I quickly responded while raising my hand. I clutched my vegan leather tote and headed to the screening room.
Just like every year before, I rested my chin and forehead on that plastic, grey contraption, anticipating the puff of air that would surely catch me off guard.
“Well, you don’t appear to have any major issues, Mrs. Gilbert,” reported the assistant as she documented her findings on my chart. Her loose, chestnut curls fell past her shoulders. “Let’s head on back,” she replied.
I stare at posters of couples and children wearing various styles of glasses as we head to the examination room. The models always have those cheesy, staged smiles.
I enter the examination room with ease. Everything was as expected. The leather chair, the pamphlets on the countertops, and the chair I’d sit in while waiting for the optometrist. Ten minutes or so later, a blue-eyed, stocky man with maple brown locks appears. He motions for me to sit in the leather chair and we engage in the usual small talk.
“Have you ever considered Lasik surgery?” inquired the optometrist as he adjusted the lenses once again.
“I get asked that all the time,” I sighed, hoping he couldn’t detect the slight frustration in my voice. “I’m okay, though.”
“Are you sure? Your prescription’s pretty bad. I think you’d be a good candidate,” he replied.
“Why do they keep pushing Lasik on me every year?” I think to myself. I hate feeling as if I have to give in to the expectations of others. Why can’t I just enjoy my usual, safe contacts and glasses prescriptions? Why can’t I continue to avoid any potential moments of pain and discomfort?
“Well, the truth is, I’m kinda terrified of surgery of any kind,” I confessed. “So, I think I’m good with contacts and glasses for the rest of my life.”
“Well, you know, Lasik has come a long way over the years,” asserted the optometrist. “It’s not as scary and invasive as it used to be.”
“I’m sure you’re right but I’m used to not being able to see. I’ve lived for years without corrected vision and now that I have it, I feel pretty good with what I have,” I assured the optometrist.
He paused briefly to look at me.
“That’s interesting,” he replied. “I thought most patients would jump at the opportunity to wake up with perfect vision.”
Then, it hits me.
He’s right. Most patients probably would get surgery if given the opportunity, but it’s hard for me to leave behind comfort and familiarity. I guess I don’t want to see that bad after all.
As I retrieve my purse and head for the door, I wonder how many blessings and opportunities I’ve missed out on simply because I didn’t want to embrace the unknown.