Signs of Aging

The universe has sent me a two-pronged message this week: 1) I am getting old, and 2) aging is taking its toll.

On Monday I visited the ophthalmologist for my annual checkup. The result: my first prescription for progressive lenses. I am nearsighted and I have an astigmatism. But I also need reading glasses (welcome to the mid-forties); right now I use four pairs of glasses on a daily basis—a distance and reading pair at work and a distance and reading pair at home.

I’m nervous about making the switch to the progressive lenses—afraid I’ll be driving down the road, dip my head to change the radio station, look up again and my eyes won’t be able to recover in time to spot the semi truck several yards in front of me. Will the road become a blurry mess?

But the eye doctor assured me that my eyes would adjust depending on my activities. He explained the top part of the lens is for distance and the bottom portion is for reading. He said, “Do you use a cell phone?” “Yes,” I said. “OK then, you’ll have no problem.”

I didn’t see the correlation, but I didn’t press him on the matter. Still, even after I fill the prescription at America’s Best, I intend to keep my four separated pairs as backup.

On Tuesday I went to a dental specialist for a consultation on two cracked molars, one on the upper right and one on the bottom right (#2, #31). After taking X-rays and running a series of pain sensitivity tests, the dentist offered me two options: 1) root canals on both teeth with follow-up crowns or 2) extraction. He said I still have “chewing surface” on the right, and the two teeth in question are in bad shape, meaning I could still have problems with them in the future.

I decided to go with extraction and the work is scheduled for next week. The woman at the reception desk processed the paperwork for the follow-up visit. I studied the estimate for the extraction, and the cost is no doubt cheaper than two root canals.

However, the wording next to the medical code on the bill failed to reassure me about the choice I had made. It read: “surgical removal of erupted tooth.” Erupted tooth? Yikes.

I am happy to say I do not have any other medical appointments scheduled this week. So, fingers crossed, I hope to avoid recording a hat trick of bad health news.

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