My husband woke me up at 4:00 a.m. this morning; I suspect he was a bit anxious about his eye surgery this morning. Right now, it is 6:35 a.m. I’m in the waiting room as Claude gets prepped to have a cataract removed and have a Lifestyle lens implanted.
I’m a bit cranky because I got up about three hours earlier than normal. After the receptionist checked my husband in for his surgery, she turned to me and asked, “What is your name honey?” After I gave her my name, she continued to call me “honey” a couple more times. I mentioned my name again but might have sounded a little irritable. After she returned from escorting my husband into the surgery area, I apologized for possibly snapping at her.
The receptionist was gracious. I explained that I was a bit sensitive about what some of us think of as “elderspeak” or language that could be interpreted as condescending when referring to older people. Not surprisingly, the receptionist acknowledged that most of their clientele were older people. I suggested that many of their clients may not be bothered at all by the language. However, some might be offended. She thanked me and used my name. I asked her name and used it as well. The interaction was positive.
The Lifestyle Choice
When Claude got his first Lifestyle lens, I was still working full-time. We had a bit more discretionary income, which helped since a single lens implant costs about $3500 and is not covered by insurance. He asked if he could get both eyes done at the same time, but the cataract on his right eye wasn’t ready to be removed. (Cataract removal is covered by insurance.)
After his first Lifestyle lens, Claude’s vision in his left eye is now almost perfect. With one very good eye, he thought he’d just have the cataract removed in the right eye since it would be covered through Medicare and our supplemental insurance. But no—the surgeon told him that since he had a Lifestyle lens in the left eye, he’d need one in the right eye so that both eyes would coordinate. He gulped a couple of times when he thought about having to pay another $3500 for the second surgery, but he didn’t feel like he had much of a choice.
We do wish we’d known before he had the first Lifestyle surgery that my husband would eventually need the same procedure done in his other eye. We could have at least anticipated the cost. However, we are still glad he will have two very good eyes. He won’t even need to use his glasses anymore; for him, that will be helpful since he has a habit of misplacing both pairs that he owns.
In the end, some experiences can provide new learning opportunities—especially if we seek them. For me, I am learning that I can be a bit cranky at times (not just this morning), and need to be a bit more self-aware. I was also reminded that when people (like the receptionist) are treated respectfully, they are more likely to respond positively when expressing personal preferences (e.g., I don’t like to be called ‘honey’). Finally, while we do wish we’d known that having a single Lifestyle lens wasn’t an option, the very fact that we are living in a time when our aging eyes can be almost completely restored is almost miraculous. How can you put a price on a modern miracle?