The hermitess hits the wall

One’s senior years are not the best time be a hermitess. Nor are they the best time to have finally established that you’d really rather be left alone.

Nope, it’s not the best time to have finally become the independent, introverted loner you’ve always wanted to indulge. Because of course your senior years are when, inevitably, you are going to need help from others. You are going to run into things you cannot manage by yourself …

Like, for example, eye surgery. I don’t know the details yet, and a date has not been set, but I’m due for a combination of cataract and glaucoma surgery in the next month or two. Most people probably wouldn’t worry about it until they knew the details. But me, I’ve been all over the Internet reading about all the different procedures, their advantages and disadvantages, and their recovery periods. I know, I know. It’s probably not the smartest thing to do; my mom would have said I’m “borrowing trouble.” But I’m curious and I want to be as informed as possible and know what questions I want to ask. After all, eyes only come two to a customer. This has got to be done right the first time.

Cataract surgery, apparently, is a piece of cake. By all indications, my life would be mostly back to normal in a few days. But the glaucoma procedures are a whole different story, assuming everything I read is reasonably current. It seems at best there will be several days with no bending, straining, or lifting allowed. Virtually no activity of any kind. And the kicker — no TV, no computers, no reading. What on earth am I going to do? Lie there and stare at the ceiling for several days? I’ll go nuts. Follow that with maybe six weeks before healing is complete, during which I may still need someone to drive me whenever I need to go somewhere. And that’s just the first eye. Then there’s the second one to be done. Until both eyes are healed, there will be no new glasses with a proper new prescription. So the blurred vision that is currently making me a nervous wreck will be, at best, in flux.

The recommendation seems to be to have someone stay with me for several days to do the stuff I’m not supposed to do — everything but eat, breathe, and sleep, it sounds like. I’d rather die (figure of speech!) than ask anyone to do that for me, and I’d rather die than have anyone hanging around with me for a couple of days. I’ll have to talk to them, for Pete’s sake! I’ll have to be polite. And they’ll feel obliged to talk to me. And be polite. And do things for me. Yuck!

Who am I going to ask to do that? Who’s going to have time to kill this month, if it’s this month? I’ve already asked my son to drive me to the doctor, which means round trips several days in a row for each procedure. But stay with me for two days? It’s not that he wouldn’t. It’s that I don’t want to ask. He has a wife and two kids and a job. The daughter-in-law is just as busy. Ditto my two sisters — who live 700 miles away. And people like me don’t have friends; you don’t make friends if you don’t have a job, never go out, don’t have outside activities, don’t meet the neighbors, and never join any organizations.

I knew my hermitish lifestyle would catch up with me sooner or later. But I was counting on later. Much, much later.

14 thoughts on “The hermitess hits the wall

  1. I feel your pain. I know that my own “urban hermit” lifestyle is entirely self-imposed (unless you consider mental illness an outside force), but it comes with the same heavy baggage just the same. And, in addition, my mom was “legally blind” from glaucoma for as far back as can remember, so a fear that there could be a genetic component at play has always been in the back of my mind.

    So yes, I do feel your pain, and you have all the best wishes that I can offer as well. Good luck my friend! 😐

    1. Thanks for that, Mak. I’m extremely grateful that medical science can do something to preserve my sight, and I’m excited about having clear vision again after I get past all the interim unpleasantness. I know I need to concentrate on that, but sometimes I kind of lose my grip …

      1. You’ve fought and won many battles on your way to becoming “the independent, introverted loner you’ve always wanted to indulge,” and I’m sure that you’ve had to make a few “distasteful compromises” along the way. This is just one more battle in the never-ending war to be who you want to be. I have every confidence that you’ll be victorious here as well! 😀

  2. My wife, Mollie, had the cataract procedures, one eye at a time of course, a couple of years ago. Scared stiff, both of us. First eye, piece of cake. Second eye took an extra day to heal. Worry, but piece of pie. I don’t know about the glaucoma part, but I wish you the very best.

    I admire your pluck at going it alone as a hermitess. My greatest fear in life is being alone, but you know, it’s interesting, blogging online has proved to me that there are like minds out there. When the chips are down, we are all one tribe. And that reminds me of why I want our society to take care of one another, as in the health care discussion. Ultimately, we are all mortal and dependent on others. The bigger the tribe, the better our chances of decent treatment.


    1. Yep, the idea of anyone messing with my eyes is freaking me out (you couldn’t tell, could you?), but so is the idea of my vision getting any worse. It’s gotten so bad I can hardly play my video games anymore!! Those who also play will realize the problems posed when you can’t read your quest details, your weapons specs, or any other type on the screen. This is serious stuff, Jim! 😉

      As for living alone, it’s is as much happenstance as choice. And it’s not really pluck. It would take more pluck to get out and try to meet people.

      1. Just so you know, Pied, Mollie had worn thick glasses since she was a little girl. After the surgery she could read large print books without glasses at all! She still wears normal thickness glasses, but the difference is amazing. She wishes she had done it sooner. You are going to feel the same, Pied. I can feel it.

        1. Thanks for the encouraging words. Mollie’s experience, and my older brother’s, make me eager to get this done. I’m nervous about the procedure, of course, but excited about getting rid of the blurring that glasses can’t correct.

    1. Thx. That’s one idea more than I’ve had. Seems that was the worst case scenario, however. The procedure they told me about this morning is much less invasive with fewer restrictions during recovery. So maybe it won’t be too bad. We could probably have had some great chats though!

... and that's my two cents

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