Tuesday, June 5, 2012
glasses - part 2
Mom's been in her room since Saturday, she won't come out, because she doesn't have her glasses. She's been crying (on and off for three days) because she has no glasses. The staff has told my Mother "your daughter is taking care of it", again and again, over and over. (What can I do on a Saturday night or Sunday? The optometrist isn't open till Monday.)
Her frames were two year and two months old and they broke.
It's been 26 months since her last eye exam, and her prescription has expired.
The staff at the optometrist's office told me it's "against the law" to make a new pair of glasses with an old prescription. A prescription that expired two months ago. No, they can't be soldered. No, they don't repair broken frames.
This is the same office where, three years ago, they "sat by and laughed" while Mom tried to understand why her contacts had all disappeared; where they told her she had put two contacts in one eye, and the wrong one in her other eye.
This is the same office where, two years and two months ago, the office staff came out into the waiting room to ask me in a loud voice, in front of my mother and all the other waiting patients, "It says here she is taking Aricept, does she have Alzheimer's?"
~ - ~ - ~ - ~
"I don't want to go the eye doctors, there is nothing wrong with my eyes, don't make me go there."
"You can't get new glasses unless you go to the eye doctors."
"I just want my glasses, give me back my glasses, you took my glasses."
"Mom, you broke your glasses, you have to wait and get new ones made."
"I don't want new ones, give me back my glasses, don't play games with me."
She doesn't understand.
No, I don't want to bring my mother into your office for an eye exam. She won't be able to answer your questions with any clarity or truth or rationality or reason.
"Mrs. Abcde can you see the letters?"
"What? That's not my name"
"Can you read the letters?"
"Which one is clearer A or B"
"Yes, they're both fine"
"Which one looks better A or B"
"A or B"
~ - ~ - ~ - ~
I asked the optometrist's staff. "What do the other elders do? Those that can't answer questions? What about those who can't get to your office?"
"We have 95 year old patients that come in here."
"Yes, many 95 year old people are quite able to get around, that's not my question. What about people who can't get in for an exam? How do they get new glasses?"
"They come in."
"What about people who can't respond correctly to questions? What about someone with dementia?"
"The doctor is very good with old people and children."
"My mother is not a child."
I'm frustrated, why can't you just make a new pair of glasses with this 26 month old prescription? You have 20 years of data of her face measurements, you have 20 years of data on the lenses she has bought before, as well as the shape and style of her frames. My Mother has been crying and unable to see for three days. She doesn't understand.
I am frustrated.
I stopped at the hardware store to buy some super-duper-glue. They all say "not to be used on polyethylene or polypropylene plastics" What are glasses made of? I try to glue the frame together. I try not to glue my fingers to the frame. Hold, wait, count, sing to myself. It doesn't work. What are frames made of? I try again, no luck. I glue the bottom frame to the lens. Hold, wait, count, sing. It's sticking. Hold, wait. It's still sticking. I glue the top of the frame to the lens. Hold, wait, count. One drop of glue that has left a track down the side of the lens. Oh hell - oh well. They are together, not properly, not pretty, but they are together.
I bring them to Mom. The first words out of her mouth, a very loud "Where are my glasses?" I hand them over very gently. I give her stern warnings about how they might break again.
She's not listening to me. She has her glasses. It's all my fault that she hasn't had her glasses. It's all my fault that she can't see. It's my fault she's been crying for three days. In her mind I should have been there IMMEDIATELY with new/repaired glasses, because the aides kept telling her that "your daughter is taking care of it."
Maybe the dementiademons will look the other way for a few weeks and let the super-duper-glue do it's job; as I try to get a new exam and a new pair of glasses for Mom.