Vision Therapy

by Brian on August 15, 2005

in Just For Fun

As regular readers of this column know, I am quite meticulous about
exercise. Rarely a day goes by without me hitting the pavement, IPod
strapped to my arm.
Now, apparently, I have to give my eyes a work out too.
A few months ago, I got a new prescription for my glasses that was
supposed to make everything clear. Instead, my vision got blurrier
still. My optician checked my eyesight again, double checked the lenses
and then informed me that I need “vision therapy.”
“You have lazy eyes,” the optician said. “They don’t like to stay in focus.”

Well gee, thanks a lot, doc.

I was sent to see an English-speaking vision therapist named Nadia who
works at the large optical center in the Jerusalem Mall where everyone
wears color coordinated purple uniforms and is overly friendly in a not
particularly genuine way.
Nadia escorted me into a back room, turned down the lights and started
her exam. She was fast. She was good. Within minutes she knew exactly
where the problem lay. I walked out with a plastic bag full of eye
exercises that involved wearing patches over one eye and staring at
colored beads on a string.
We made a plan to meet every week for the next two months.
When you spend time with someone on a regular basis you get to know
them fairly well. Nadia was mostly business but I was able to extract a
few tidbits early on, the main one being that she made aliyah (or immigrated) 19 years
Now, in Israel, it’s pretty easy to size people up based on how they
look or where they came from. In Nadia’s case, I figured she moved to
Israel when she was in her early 20s; that would put her now late 30s,
maybe early 40s. She always wore a skirt but no hat, so that lumped her
into the left-leaning modern orthodox crowd. I did a quick mental
calculation, let’s see, that would give her four, maybe five kids.
We continued with our weekly visits until at one point while making
conversation it came up that she had recently moved from the Har Nof
neighborhood to my part of town in southern Jerusalem.
Something didn’t fit. Har Nof is a mainly (though not exclusively)
ultra-orthodox enclave of Jerusalem. Married women there certainly
wouldn’t go around without a head covering.
I looked at her hands. Hmm…no wedding ring either.
“Um, when did you say you made aliyah?” I asked.
“19 years ago,” she repeated.
OK, so I heard that right.
“When I was 11.”
“That would make you…”
“30,” she responded.
“Are we talking about politics now…or what?”
What had become abundantly apparent was that, for the last month and a
half, I had been sitting in a dark enclosed space while a single woman
looked deeply into my eyes.
This isn’t going to look good, I thought, already rehearsing in my mind
what I would tell my wife Jody when I got home from “so-called” vision
therapy this week.
Sure, I knew nothing was going on and she knew nothing was going on.
After all, she was my doctor. A professional. Still, I needed to stage
a hasty disengagement from this whole situation, or this week’s drama
in Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip might look tame by comparison.
I decided to downplay the whole thing and not say anything. I mean,
what were the chances that we’d ever meet outside the confines of the
optometrist’s office?
That evening, Jody and I decided to go out to the local pizza place for
dinner with our seven-year-old Aviv. We were walking back home past
Café Hillel when who should we see sitting there on a blind date with
an old friend of ours but…my optometrist, Nadia.
We did some quick and awkward introductions, then I focused my
attention on our friend who was visiting from New York. We caught up
for awhile then continued on our way. I can’t remember if I even said
goodbye to the happy couple.
When we’d walked about two blocks from the cafe, Jody turned to me with
a sly grin and said, “You got kind of a crush on her, don’t you?”
I turned to Jody and in my very best Ross Geller impersonation,
channeled the Friends co-star with his trademark multi-syllabic
Jody took my hand and we laughed quietly to each other, in that way
that only a happily married couple of 17 years can do (our wedding
anniversary, by the way, was last week: click here to send your mazel
Trotting out the oldest optometry cliché in the book, I added “I only have eyes for you.”
“I know,” Jody said, and we both knew this was no optical illusion.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous August 15, 2005 at 11:07 pm

Rahel writes:

I had six months of eye therapy when I was sixteen years old, and never once did I have cause even to imagine that the doctor was behaving improperly toward me. He couldn't, anyway. My face was inside all kinds of weird machines, so he couldn't have reached me even if he'd wanted to. And he didn't want to; he was a good, decent, trustworthy man who spotted the problem with my eyes that had gone misdiagnosed for years, and saved my vision.
On the other hand, I have married male friends and we talk sometimes, but the boundaries are clear. If any married man ever started to hit on me, I'd automatically lump him in with one-celled organisms. The smelly, slimy, gross kind.
2 Anonymous August 18, 2005 at 5:17 am

Lost Budgie writes:

My friend – you are a very wise man…. with an even wiser wife.
Best wishes from Toronto, Canada
Lost Budgie
By the way, I've been linked to you on my blog for some time. Hope that's ok.
3 Anonymous August 20, 2005 at 10:05 pm

Very nice post. I am impressed. I wanted to let you know about my blog:

4 Anonymous August 22, 2005 at 8:38 pm

Ommi fazel writes:

shalom dear , u really have a sense of humour , and I am happy i found ur blog. I love Israel and this will help me find out more about Israel and Jerusalem in a cute context, mazal tov on ur anniversary, Jody u have a good hubby
5 Anonymous August 3, 2006 at 4:29 pm

Eye is one of the most sensitive organ of our body, any deficiency or problem observed should have to be consult with doctor immediately.
thank you

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