I am writing this in the midst of jet lag. In the last week, we have flown from Honolulu to Providence and have come home to London. It’s a lot of flying and frankly, airports are pretty much the same everywhere so we tend to identify them by what we ate there. It was a 5 week holiday and the theme was family.
For many years now, we have made the trip to Honolulu every summer. My sister and her family live there and my parents come in from Tokyo so it’s a family vacation for my side of the family. This means that while I am in a gorgeous setting with people I love, there is always drama. As my parents have grown older and less independent, the amount of arranging and negotiating that happens every year has increased. This year, with my dad still recuperating from heart surgery coupled with my mom’s fear of doing anything on her own meant that they needed constant attention. I tried to be philosophical about it but I must admit, there were times when I regretted going. My sister works full time and they aren’t on vacation while we are there so the burden fell on me to keep my parents entertained. Add to that two young adult children who are used to living their own lives thrust into a situation where they had to be with each other for long periods – more drama. I know I could have been far more gracious about it, but you can only do what you can do. I hope my parents went home thinking they had a nice holiday.
I also realized that in addition to a generation gap, my mom and I also have a major culture gap. I was raised mostly in the States and haven’t lived in Japan all that much. So while I consider myself Japanese, apparently my thinking is not typical. This led me to being frustrated with my mom’s inability to just come out and say what she wants whereas she thought she was being totally forthright. As far as I was concerned, she was being forthright at all the wrong times and not where it mattered. We were able to have some chats about this which is a first in our relationship. Maybe I’m finally growing up.
But I do realize that every year we get together we come away with shared experiences and memories. The joys and frustrations of being with family are what keep me connected. When you move as much as we have, home is not a location, it is wherever your family happens to be. Mine is messy, crazy and wonderful. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
image from www.Eyedoctorguide.com
I failed the vision test for my driver’s license renewal. This was not as great a shock as you may think since I have been saying for the last couple of years that I couldn’t see. My vision has never been great. I’ve been wearing glasses since the third grade after enduring a mortifying patch for lazy eye which didn’t work. Anyway, I have always envied people who could see clearly and could buy cheap sunglasses that didn’t need prescription lenses. Over the years, the cost of my glasses went up as my lenses became more complicated.
So failing the vision test, while not a surprise, was also a major inconvenience. I only drive once a year when I’m in the States. The thought of having to rely on someone else to get me places made me feel prematurely old. How many people do we know in their 80′s who still drive? And yet I couldn’t? So off I went to get a professional’s opinion on my eyes to see if I could still drive.
The kids have been going to a really nice eye doctor in a shop in Honolulu. Hubby stumbled on them by chance and the entire office is great. I’d never seen the doctor since my lenses are so fiddly I prefer to have them made where I live. But I went to him to fix my failed vision test. He examined my eyes and asked me several times if anyone had ever told me I had a problem in my left eye. After dilating my pupils, he confirmed that I have cataracts in both eyes, pretty bad in my left eye. So at the ripe old age of 52, I am having cataract surgery. I also have a bit of retinal damage and asked if that would prevent me from having lasik later. That’s when he told me the amazing news. When they do the cataract surgery, they can just replace my lens with a corrective one so that I don’t need lasik. I won’t even need glasses!!! Now this was the most unbelievable news I’d ever heard. Not only was I going to see much better, but I may not even need glasses to do it.
I am planning on getting it done when I go home but I didn’t even know where to start looking for a doctor. Then I remembered my good friend G was an eye surgeon in a prior life so I asked her. She asked her friend who came up with three names, one of whom had done the surgery for my ingrown eyelashes. What a coincidence. I was happy with the outcome of that surgery so I hope he can do this round too.
Oh and the vision test? After examining me, the doctor in Honolulu certified me fit to drive so my license is successfully renewed. Of course when I come back next summer, fingers crossed I’ll have bionic eyes. Watch this space.