From Labour Day to the Great Beyond

Another Labour Day Weekend has come and gone and here we are, suddenly plunked solidly into September.  If we haven’t had frost yet, it’s in the air and on its way.  Evenings and early mornings are crisp and cool.  I like this time of year even though it’s winters prelude.  (If we’re very lucky we won’t get snow that stays until November.)

I’m so glad my working days are numbered, although I don’t know exactly how many are left.  What I do know is that no one who loves their work should be this deliriously happy to have a day off.  Maybe when W comes home I’ll take a six month leave of absence, just to see how that feels.  It certainly gives him a different outlook on life in general.

English: Ayala carefully prepares to put a con...

English: Ayala carefully prepares to put a contact lens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I had an unsuccessful contact lens training session with a 13-year-old boy.  I’m not the one who gave up but I admit I accepted his sudden decision with no argument.  I’m thinking of printing up a check list for kids who profess to really want something but aren’t willing to do what it takes to get it.  If you answer no to any of these questions, we’re off to a rocky start.

1.  Do you accept that I am a trained professional who can insert a contact lens into your eye without gouging out your eyeball with my fingernails?  Or whatever you think it is I might be doing when I ask you to stop squinching up your eyes and moaning and shaking like some monster is about to kill you.  Seriously.  Get out of the chair now if this is how things are going to go. (With a bit of coaxing and reassuring and telling him to relax, both contacts were inserted and no one passed out. There was a semi head lock involved but neither of us wants to talk about that.)

2.  Are you willing to look at me while I demonstrate removal and insertion, listen to what I tell you, and follow my instructions?  I’ve done this before and you haven’t. I know what works and right now, you don’t.  Once you’ve mastered my method, you are free to develop your own on your own time.

3. Are you able to place your fingertips over your upper eyelashes (not your eyebrow, your eye LASHES) and hold your eye open so that you are unable to blink?  If this simple procedure causes you discomfort (which you feel you need to describe to me as extreme pain) come back and see me when you’re sixteen.  Or never.  Never would be good.

English: Putting on contact lenses

English: Putting on contact lenses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4.  Can you touch your eyeball?  If you cannot take the flat fleshy soft part of your finger tip and touch your eye with enough pressure to slide a contact lens, guess what.  That sucker is going to stay in there forever.  (No, I’m kidding, I’ll take it out for you, but you’re not leaving until you can do it yourself.  Or until you have a whining melt down about it, whichever comes first.)

5.  Are you absolutely sure you want to do this?  What is your motivation for wanting to wear contact lenses?  If it’s because your mother thinks you look dorky in glasses and you’re doing it for her, that’s not good enough.  A certain amount of maturity, responsibility, enthusiasm and determination is required on your part.  If you have it, you will succeed.  If you don’t, it’s no big deal.  We can try again when you’re ready.

I did feel sorry for the kid, because he was a little embarrassed, said thank you to me for trying to help him and apologized for wasting my time.  I told him it was not time wasted at all.  Now he knows what to expect and can go home and think about it and call us for another training appointment if he wants to give it another go.

Maybe another few months of school and encouragement from his contact lens wearing peers will make a difference.  Maybe I’ve scarred him for life and he’ll never touch his own eyelashes again.  Maybe I’m too old and tired and indifferent to care enough about any of it and thirteen year old boys should book their appointments with someone else.

I’ve done trainings that were a breeze.  Insertion, removal, re-insertion, pep talk, go home, no problems.  I suppose there has to be the odd dismal failure to make me appreciate the big wins.  And it no doubt was not the last little flop in my illustrious career, but at least I can see an end to them in sight.  A couple more labor day weekends in my life, and I’ll be on the home stretch to endless days off forever.

What Makes Me Nervous

Night driving. Big dogs running free. Large bodies of water, especially the kind with large waves crashing against large rocks. The doorbell ringing when I’m not expecting anyone. Being a passenger combined with excessive speed. Little kids in shopping carts. Well, not the kids themselves, but the potentially dangerous situation they’re in, especially if their parents have wandered off and another child is pushing the cart or climbing onto it.

Talking to crazy people I guess is the worst. Because at first it’s hard to determine the degree of insanity involved and by the time I get it, the conversation is well underway and sometimes difficult to stop. A good example would be the guy who walked into the Vision Centre yesterday while I was minding my own business getting some paperwork done. He said he thought he had gotten something in his eye (I assume that would be the one he kept pointing at and blinking madly) and that this happens often in his particular work environment because there are foreign objects hurling themselves around in there. It could be dust or metal or dirt or who knows what. Did he not wear safety glasses I wanted to know. He pooh poohed the whole idea of eye protection. Not necessary when you can just wash it out. So could I do that for him. Wash it out. Where was my eye washer? I know about eye-wash stations, and we don’t have one. So I suggested he go to a medi-centre and get an actual doctor to look at it and flush out whatever might be in there.

Nope, he wanted an eyeball wash and he wanted me to be the one to do it. He had a really hard time being convinced that there was no equipment and no person, doctor or otherwise, on the premises that washed eyeballs at the moment. Then he wanted to know what I did personally to wash my own eyeballs. This is the point where I started to get nervous. Because eyeball washing is not something I’ve ever incorporated into my daily routine. So I didn’t know what to say except that I’ve never done that.

“What do you mean, you don’t wash the eyeballs? Why do you not wash the eyeballs? I only want the eyeballs washed, and you say you cannot do it!”

I think that’s the point where I just stopped talking altogether because what could I say that wouldn’t get me into even deeper eyeball hygiene hot water.

We stared at each other for a while and then he stomped off saying he would just have to go somewhere else to get it done and what kind of place was this with no eyeball washing. Phew.

And I guess that’s how I cope. Sit still, be silent, keep breathing, and wait for whatever it is to go away.

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