Woman of a Certain Age
One morning in January, I was looking in the mirror and noticed something strange. There was this definite bag underneath my left eye. That's weird, I thought. However, I'd gone to bed late the night before so I dismissed it as a lack of sleep thing. Several days went by, then a month, and I realized the bag was still there. I finally figured I'd better get it checked by an ophthalmologist. Of course, by this time my imagination had gone wild. What if I had some rare form of eye cancer? What if there was a tumor growing under there?!
My hubby attempted to comfort me the day of the appointment, telling me they'd probably just prescribe some eye drops and I'd be good as new. I nodded glumly, not believing him for a second as he hugged me and sent me off to the appointment. I was dreading the diagnosis. I had just secured an awesome new writing gig and I envisioned being forced to turn the project down now since I wouldn't be able to see as I underwent eye cancer treatment.
I dragged myself into the office, feeling incredibly depressed while they did all that torturous eye drop stuff they always do. The yellow numbing drops, eye pressure check, then the dreaded pupil dilation. (I hate that! Not only did I maybe have eye cancer, but I wouldn't be able to read for the rest of the day!)
Finally the doc came in. He asked me a bunch of questions, thoroughly examined each eye, then pulled up a stool and sat beside me. He looked as if he'd known me better he may have taken my hand to give it a comforting pat. I waited with trepidation, already thinking the worst. But nothing, nothing could have prepared me for what he was about to say.
"Well, Holly," he began, looking me directly in the eyes. "There are, er…certain things that happen to the human body over time. Now, it's not uncommon for men and women of a certain age to develop things like, well, like bags under their---"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" I held up my hand and stared at him, mouth gaping. "Are you telling me that this…this bag that just suddenly appeared under my eye is an 'old person' thing?
He looked uncomfortable. "You're not old," he clarified. "It's just that as people age, it's not uncommon for them to develop bags like this under their eyes. Now, I definitely don't think you're at the point where you'd want to consider Botox or plastic surgery of any kind…"
Oh. My. Gosh!
He kept talking, but I'd stopped listening. Here I was thinking I might have some rare disease and it turns out my stupid bag is because I'm a "woman of a certain age" and these things just happen?! I couldn't believe I'd made a doctor appointment for a normal sign of aging. Ugh!
At dinner that evening, my family politely asked about the results of my appointment. I cleared my throat, raised my chin and shared the diagnosis. I have to give my husband some credit; he at least had the grace to suppress his smile, but not my kids. They laughed uproariously. And kept laughing. (All right, enough already.)
Periodically throughout the meal, while I was talking or sharing a funny story, my son would surreptitiously place his index finger beneath his left eye and look at me with a smirk, the new universal sign for "No more goofy stuff now, mom. Remember, you're old." I finally dove across the table at him but he just darted away, laughing. Little brat!
Well, I don't care. I've always said I refuse to call myself old until I hit 90. Maybe not even then. I'll just continue on my merry way, acting like a kid if I feel like it, under-eye baggage and all.
Image by Orangeacid