02 February 2011

Natural Selection

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my annual eye doctor appointment and came face to face with my own mortality. Allow me to explain.

I have been a patient of Dr. Gottlieb's for 15 years. Since becoming Mrs. Ty-man and making Georgia my permanent home, Dr. G is the guy who has poked around my eyeballs for over a decade. And we're pretty comfortable with one another. Not Oy, mate, take a look at this goiter. comfortable, but we talk about our kids, latest book reads, and scuba diving. He's also honest with me about what's going on with my eyes.

I've always known my prescription is strong. I'm extremely near-sighted and wear -5.75 prescription contact lenses in both eyes. But, I wanted to know my vision. You know, like I have 20/20 vision! or I'm a fighter pilot and can see 20/10! When I asked Dr. G what my vision is, he laughed. Yes, he laughed. It was more of a controlled snort followed by some spittle, but a laugh nonetheless. And what he said was close to the following.

If you were anyone else, I wouldn't tell you. But it's you. So, you're somewhere between 20/400 and 20/500, which means whatever the normal person sees at 500 feet you see at 20. And you don't see much. If this were prehistoric times, you wouldn't have lived past childhood. If this were Medieval Europe, you'd probably be home bound or the local seamstress. Something like that. Your life would have been very limited and you would have been considered by the populace as blind.

Wow. Just... wow. I mean, I know I'm all batty blind when my glasses are off or my contacts out, but I never think about it because I have the capability of 20/20, or close to it, vision during my waking days. I'm a chick with a cane at night when there's a child crying and I'm banking off the walls trying to get down the hall without toppling down the stairs. But... natural selection? I'd never thought of my poor vision as such. My vision, or lack thereof, would have meant my early demise in any time before now. Wow.

Just two days later, I was out for my usual neighborhood run, the only thing on my mind was a rewarding cup of coffee after three long miles. Quite a distance up the road, I saw what looked like a dog running across and jumping toward the woods behind my neighborhood. Because I didn't know said dog or if it was friendly, I switched to the opposite sidewalk and kept an eye on the woods until I had passed. I didn't think anything more of it until I returned home 30 minutes later and neighbor Jodi proceeded to tell me about the coyote which hung out in our cul-de-sac while I was gone. It showed up shortly after I saw it cross the road.

And all I could think was if I left the house a few minutes earlier and if time had been a few thousand years ago, I would have been naturally selected on my morning run.

Are you there, Bausch + Lomb? It's me, Heather.

15 comments:

Liz said...

Wow, I never thought about that either and I wear -7.0 in both eyes. The computer in front of me is a blurry white glowing thing without my contacts or glasses. Prehistoric times, I'd have run smack into the cave wall or been stepped on by a woolly mammoth I never saw. In medieval times they'd have stuck me in a chair to rock babies or something and not get too close to the fireplace. I do love Acuvue.

HEATHER said...

OH my dear hell!!!! So glad you didn't get eaten!
For what it's worth, this is yet another thing we have in common, my vision is just as bad. Seriously without glasses, I can not see past my nose. It's very bad.

my WF-sewsh

Avitable said...

Glasses are cute, though, so maybe modern technology is making up for natural selection by making the bespectacled more attractive to the average man.

MrsRobbieD said...

My husband has terrible eye sight. He has lasik done & still needs glasses/contacts. But before then he said that his glasses were the thickness of an old timey coke bottle bottom.

I drive us every where now that He hasme what he 'sees' or doesn't see!!

Megan said...

If it was a few thousand years ago you wouldn't have been on your morning run. Or in a cul de sac. So there's that. :)

Grant said...

Tales like this are why I keep calling for government regulation that makes it okay to mace everything that moves when you can't identify it by sight, even if you did invite it into your home.

Not to worry you, but I'm hoping it's just near-sightedness and not retinopathy. Trust me - that's suck on a whole new level.

And my word verification was just the second 'e' shy of being 'execution', but word verification isn't they greatest means of fortune telling so you should just put that out of your mind.

sybil law said...

My vision is still okay, but night vision for driving SUCKS. Always has. I'm like a deer in the headlights. I've always wanted glasses, though.

So glad you weren't eaten by the coyotes, though!!

Patois said...

Your reaction to finding out the specifics is much like my reaction to finding out I would have never actually given birth to the huge baby I was carrying were it not for modern medicine. Yup, should have died on the prairie. Or in the cave.

Annie said...

A coyote? Wow.

Always good to know that someone else "checks the walls" at night. I thought it was just me since hubs goes without the glasses as much as he wears them.

But, hey, we're not as bad as my dad when he comes to visit. It's glasses on and a flashlight when he's up in the night!

LceeL said...

Obviously, being a flasher in YOUR neck of the woods is a waste of time.

Kim - Mommycosm said...

Yep. I would have been naturally selected a LONG time ago. -6.25 here. In both eyes. Oooo. Plus, I have cataracts.

From the comments, I'm thinking most of the cool kids wouldn't have made it this far back in the day, lol.

MrsRobbieD said...

In talking to the hubby his eyes were -11 pre-Lasik surgery. Now he has an astigmatism too.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Liz - OH! I never thought about getting too close to the fireplace. I would have fallen down the stairs or something.

Other Heather - It's amazing to me how many of us have really bad eyesight. Not just slightly poor, but really shitty!

Avitable - They are cute but they're such a pain in the ears. Seriously!

MrsRobbieD - The only time I shouldn't be trusted driving is on rainy nights. My night vision when the lights are reflecting off the wet pavement SUCKS!

Megan - Very true. So very true.

Grant - So far, my retinas are OK. Got checked for that. I'm also a glaucoma risk and get checked for that every year. So far, it's just nearsightedness.

Sybil Law - Me, too!

Patois - Thank GOD for C-sections!

Annie - I know! The coyotes are all over the place down here.

LceeL - Yeah. I would see nothing but a big blur. Or little depending upon one's size. ;)

MommyCosm - OH! Cataracts? Yep, you'd definitely be something's lunch.

MrsRobbieD - -11?!?!?! Holy crap.

LibraryGirl62 said...

Just found you through Avitable: We have stuff in common! I am the granddaughter of a Kentucky born banjo/fiddle playing coal-miner and I have the exact same vision (practically non-existent)...but I am (in 2 weeks) 10 years older than you...AND Patois, the nurse told me "If you were in a wagon train headed West, you both would have died" as I was being wheeled into my first c-section! This place feels like home :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

LibraryGirl62 - You've just gotta love Patois! :) Glad to meet you, hon and thanks for reading!