Thursday, March 29, 2007

Role-Playing Rewards

February might be a short month, but this year it was way too long for me. Putting drops in my eyes every day and staring with irritating boredom at the bookshelf across the room when I wanted to be on the computer or watching TV, but able to only do short stints of that because of my eye surgery.

But then, oh glory, finally yesterday I was off to the Optometrist’s to get a prescription for new glasses. I was well pleased but not for long. The bad news, the other eye needs surgery as well. I swear I will jump off a bridge if I have to deal with another six long weeks of putting drops in my eyes and staring at the bookshelf. I begged for a period of remission. The Optometrist was sympathetic to that and said he would book me for later, perhaps in the fall.

Now I fully know this particular Optometrist is the priciest one this side of the 85th parallel. So knowing this I concentrated on being exceptionally personable. Complemented him on the sophistication of his equipment compared to the last optometrist I had seen. Directed conversation into paths that would allow me to stroke him for his smarts and wise techniques. I even wore bright colors that might please his ambient sense of art and ethos. Apologized for taking up so much of his time but aware that I could count on him to answer the questions I had written down. Working hard at casual cheerful conversation that would not seem contrived and would stroke his ego.

Then I moved to the counter to select my new glasses. Still working to get a reasonable price in an unreasonably priced environment, I asked the girl to show me base-priced frames. “I would gladly pay more for better ones,” I said, “but on a fixed income, I do need to be practical.” She nodded pleasantly and showed me the cheaper frames. But guess what? Now that we have the cost tabulated without anti-glare and with standard scratch resistance we are talking over $400 for blended bi-focals.

And for cheaper reading glasses with two lens but only half a frame -- $199. I was shocked. Totally shocked. Too shocked to even think. Price vertigo left me staggering half upright against a shelf. And when you’re that involved in role playing – knowing what you know about the place – and striving to find a diplomatic way to circumvent being blatantly ripped off, you can’t think. I told her I needed to go to my car for a moment and I would be right back. Surprisingly she was not concerned about me leaving even though I had not yet coughed up the fee for digital 3-D pictures of my eyeballs and the just completed eye exam.

I went to the car where Hub was waiting. “Don’t talk,” I said. “I am going to talk so that I can explore my next move.” I sat there and talked out loud about shocking prices, more cataract surgery, loyalty or non-loyalty to the Optometrist that was backing up my surgeon, the inconvenience of going to the city and searching for a deal…on and on. Long verbose soliloquy. And the result of it all was I made a decision to get only reading glasses since sometime very soon I would need surgery on the other eye and then I’d have to buy yet another pair of glasses.

I went back in the eye clinic and amazingly the total cost tallied for the reading glasses prior to my brief departure had now decreased by $45 dollars. I didn’t ask ‘why?’ I just felt that querying this change might bring another change that would increase the price by twice that amount. So I paid the lady and left.

So that was that. My half a pair of glasses will be here in about a week.

Now what I want to tell you is the four questions I asked the Optometrist.

1. Did they do surgery on the appropriate eye? (Immediately prior to surgery they asked me which eye and no one had clearly communicated to me which eye and that question caused me such stress I wasn’t even sure at that point). Sigh of relief. Yes, they did operate on the right eye.
2. What is the high pressure in my other eye indicative of? Answer: Possibly glaucoma.
3. Do I need to continue to wear sunglasses to protect my new eye? Answer: No.
4. Why was I given a card after surgery that I must carry at all times that says I have an artificial lens in one eye? Answer. I don’t know.

Maybe because he didn’t know, I got a $45 dollar discount. So, my question to you is, do you know why it is necessary for me to carry a card in my wallet that says I have an artificial lens in one eye?


susan said...

Don't know about the $45, but I do know that I ended up paying even more for transition bifocals that ended up being plastic lenses and frames. Luckily, I have a company discount that took a small portion off the price, but it was still outrageous. That's why I still have my old glasses for driving and TV (nearsightedness) and usually do better without any glasses at all on the computer or reading.

It's just that I get lost in large stores; the bifocals are best at that so that I can see both the aisle and the individual lettuce heads.

susan @ spinning

Roberta S said...

susan, thanks for the interesting comment. I guess I should have mentioned that my distant vision is pretty good. Optometrist says it is good enough for me to drive without driving glasses. But close up, I can't see a thing.

So end result, I can see the lettuce heads walking around in the parking lot, but I can't see the ones in the vegetable aisle.

Matty said...

I think you have to carry a card because if you die,,,,,,nobody would want to steal that eye? Graverobbers indeed. I went through the exact same thing last month.
Anti-glare,anti scratch and we were up to $300. I asked the girl at the counter,,,'I noticed that you have a small sign in the door stating 2 for one?' Then she told me for $350 I could have 2 pairs, which I got, one for at home and one for my purse. But nobody mentionned 2 for 1 till I brought it up. I lose my glasses so often that it makes sense to get 2 pairs, but nobody was about to tell me.
My mother had both eyes done, and I asked the optometrist at the time if that means I will need surgery as well, and she said probably. People with smaller eyes are prone to getting cataracts.
Golden years, allright!

Roberta S said...

matty, I thought about what you said. Thinking that with an artificial lens, that my eyes will never have any transplant value. The Opt suggested perhaps there is a law that all with artificial devices need to carry such a card for medical emergency purposes. I wanted to ask, but didn't, if he thought that would include silicone breasts and lip implants.

I appreciate your comment. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this down and drag out fight to get reasonably priced glasses.