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The Mast-Head: Slipping and Sliding

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:42

Plenty of sources tell you about the risk of falls for the elderly. What they don’t tell you about are the dangers of the middle years — when the body isn’t what it used to be but the mind thinks everything is still A-Okay. Consider reading glasses.

From about the minute I turned 50, as I often say, my eyes fell right out of my head. One day I could read in bed, the next, I had to have extra-direct lighting and to hold a book at arm’s length. Alarmed, I ran to the eye doctor, who, in effect, said, “Get reading glasses, bro.”

The way I figure it, one needs a good decade to get used to dealing with “readers”; the inexpensive glass­es at the big-box pharmacies break all too often. Better glasses might not break, but instead go missing. Worse, I forget they are on and bump into things, miscalculating distance.

Case in point: I was mending the chicken coop roof a few Sundays ago, and going down a stepladder, with my reading glasses on, fell back­ward, thinking I was on the last step. I was not. One foot hit the ground while the other was still a few steps up. I felt a “pop,” and then the pain.

“Did you call an ambulance?” an ambulance captain of my acquaintance asked. I did not. “Did anyone look at it?” Nope.

Now, more than two weeks on, still limping around like a jerk, I finally made an appointment to see a knee specialist.

Reading glasses should come with warnings, as with tobacco products and booze, I think: “You’re not as young as you think anymore, dummy. Mind the last step!”


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