I Can See Clearly Now

Kage Baker had good eyesight. She was very glad about it, and never entirely reconciled to the necessity of reading glasses in her later years. Her fashion sense was much engaged with the jewelry aspect of  her glasses frames, and she was very picky about them.

One of the last things her mother advised Kage, at the literal end of her own life 25 years ago, was to make sure Kage’s soon-to-be first pair had red frames. “That will look best on you,” Mrs. Baker ordered, from her hospital bed. It was pretty much a comment out of nowhere, but Kage obeyed; and was comforted –  especially when her mother died very soon after that – to find that her mom had been correct. Red glasses were cool. Kage wore them for the rest of her life.

Me, I’ve always gone for what are now called John Lennon glasses. They used to be called National Health specs, as they were what the UK government gave you when you got spectacles through the National health benefits. They are round wire-rims, gold or silver (coloured, anyway) and I’ve worn them whenever possible. Due to my own mother, my  first glasses were blue sequinned kitty-cat frames (oh, shame and horror!) but I soon got my way, via a couple of excursions into modest horn-rims. I need glass 24/7, Dear Readers, and my own vanity told me not to spend that much time in frames I hate.

Yestreday, I got new glasses. These are the first pair post-cataracts, and the new lenses are a wonder! My eyesight sans glasses has improved markedly – by anyone else’s standards, I am still staggering blind, but compared to my past experience – man, I can see like Legolas on a hilltop! Over the last two weeks, though, my old glasses wouldn’t work and my eyes hadn’t healed enough for new ones. I have been, of necessity, totally without corrective lenses, except for the prosthetic intraocular lenses I now sport in both eyes: enough to keep me from walking into walls,  even enough to allow me limited use of my Kindle.

But watching television, reading for very long, being on the computer for more than a half hour: all these left me with ghastly eyestrain headaches. I could not drive. I went to the movies last week (saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2) and really enjoyed the film. I could see adequately, and the film is great: but I also walked out feeling like I was wearing a barbed wire head band.  My nearsightedness was vastly improved, but there was nothing that could be done for my astigmatism: in my natural state, I live in a world of fuzz, Dear Readers, rainbows and fuzz.

But now! Now I can see EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME!

I remember getting my first glasses, and the almost inexpressible bliss my new vision gave me. Hated blue kitty-frames notwithstanding, at least I didn’t have to look at them; and I could see so much! There were leaves on trees – I’d known that, because I got up close and personal with trees a lot (I had an arboreal childhood) but only via my non-sight senses. To my eyes, all trees were low clouds on sticks. Textures! Colours! Actual facial features on all other life forms! I saw the pupils in someone else’s eyes for the first time – it was our boxer, whose beautiful eyes turned out to be dark purple.

I walked around drunk for months – glasses did nothing toward my day-dreaming lack of attention in class, because I was always staring at something I had never, ever seen before and gently freaking out.

It’s the same now. The cataracts had diminished light and colour horribly, and now those are back, and better than ever. My eyes have been so improved by the new lenses, that my glasses are now both lower-power AND bring my eyesight up to 20/20: a personal best in my entire life. And the migraines have cleared out, which is an enormous pleasure.

I can drive again. I shall be able to make it to BayCon in a week with no difficulty at all; despite which, my stalwart nephew Michael will be accompanying me in case of road disasters. And the lovely Neassa will be joining us at the Con, to make sure I don’t run into the walls with just my ordinary klutziness.

And I can write again. The computer screen is no longer overlain with little silver and ebony roses, expanding into razor-wire spirals as my frontal lobes short out. My head doesn’t hurt. My eyes don’t hurt. I can see!

And there, Dear Readers, am I happy!



About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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8 Responses to I Can See Clearly Now

  1. Neassa says:

    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!


  2. Luisa Puig says:

    Wonderful news, so glad for you!

    LOL – I can also relate to the ‘first time in glasses’ experience, having gone from birth up to the Third Grade in Elementary school, before having my first eye exam ever (thanks to manditory school testing, which I guess started that same year … 1960-ish …?).

    Incredible, wonderful, euphoric (even) thing, corrected vision.

    May you see only wonderful things from now on, and may the entire world please improve, if not for all our sakes, but also in celebration of your new-found vision. Huzzah!


    • Kate says:

      The joy of sudden sight is unparalleled by any other discovery in my life – it really is. The entire world expanded when I got my first glasses, and now it has been returned to its normal infinite depth, height and width.


  3. Shannon says:

    Congratulations! I remember getting glasses for the first time and being amazed that the trees had outlines. It was wild. Anyway, welcome back to the land of the seeing.


    • Kate says:

      It is such a joy. I can even read the crawls on news shows! Not that those are ever good news, but it keeps from driving my family nuts by demanding to be read to when they come on.


  4. Lynn says:

    Wonderful news! Congratulations on seeing leaves and grass stalks with clarity again, color and the return of you driving ability. Even better, congratulations on the loss of the eye-strain migraines and being able to read your computer again.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Lynn! Not only is it good to have defeated the cataracts, the migraines and part of my astigmatism – it’s wonderful to relive the delirious joy of being 10 years old again. One always needs some of that.


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