I have had eye problems from ever since I can remember. In fact they began way before my battle with eczema. My eyes would get so itchy and I would rub them till they were sore. Dad would then rush me to Uncle Charlie’s clinic (his eldest brother) and he would tell me to try resisting the urge to rub my eyes. Uncle Daktari, as we usually call him would then prescribe eye drops and let me be honest with you, his prescription not matter the ailment, always worked magic. The next day you would be back to your feet like nothing ever happened. I even remember feeling well immediately after walking into his clinic which used to be at corner house at that time.
He probably had a pact with dad because every time he was attending to me he would tell me a horror story of a young girl he treated and upon diagnosis, he found out that the young girl was feigning sickness to avoid going to school. His prescription for this rascal was ten injections on each eye. That story kept me in school, I swear. The thought of getting an eye injection was too much for my young mind. Uncle and dad, that story worked exceedingly well! I am not so sure if he ever told Nyawanda that story, because my sister was ailing from a different disease every school day morning. I remember one morning when I was in class one I woke up unable to open my eyes because the ololo (I don’t know how they are called in English) had clogged my eyes. My dad was the one dressing me for school that day because my mum was at the hospital. I later came to understand that she had gone to give birth to my small sister. So dad took a face towel dipped in warm water and cleaned my eyes until I was able to open them. My sweet papa was so worried that he promised to take me hospital if the situation got worse.
My sisters and I owe Uncle daktari a lot. That guy treated all of us without charging my parents a dime for consultation fee. On top of that he made every visit to his clinic so pleasant with his funny stories…..well, apart for the eye injection saga. I don’t remember him prescribing an injection how cool can doctor be? For a longtime I wanted to be a doctor like him so that I would prescribe strong medicine for my patients, until logarithms, matrices and all those atrocious maths equations happened. I would brag to my friends that my uncle was the best doctor in the world and that his clinic had a humongous teddy bear at the waiting area You know how kids brag over the most mundane of things. Because of him, I still think that doctors are really cool people. Uncle Daktari tibim!
I remember when I started complaining to my parents about having difficulty in seeing the blackboard in school, dad took me to an optician who suggested that I should wear glasses. My eyes welled up in tears because I could not fathom being a macho inne. There was a boy in primary school class who was constantly bullied for wearing glasses and I was not going to join him. Hell No! I told my dad that we should just go back to Uncle Daktari so that he can fix my shortsightedness, but no my uncle was a pediatrician. So my mum suggested that we talk to the class teacher and have her put me at front seat of the class in the meantime. In my entire primary and secondary school life I was always on the front row seat. The issue of glasses was very sensitive and every time my parents brought it up I would frown because I imagined that my myopia would go away the same way it came.
During my end of first year in campus long holiday, dad called me one evening and said,
Agie tomorrow wake up early we are going to Lions Eye Hospital to have your eyes checked.
But dad my eyes are OK.
Tell me what is the worst that could happen?
The optician might see my beautiful eyes which I inherited from you, get jealous then condemn them to a life of being behind lenses forever. Dad what if that optician does that?
Then you will wear the glasses.
Tomorrow let me not wake you up.
My old man was serious, the following morning he made me have my breakfast in his car on the way to the hospital and yes that wicked optician did prescribe glasses.
I hated them. In fact I only wore them in class. My friends would introduce me as the shy, blind girl. My mum hated their frames, she always felt like they were too small for my big eyes. But with time I realized that even though I hated them, they had made my life easier and that being a macho inne wasn’t so bad after all.
Last Saturday but one, after a lot of soul searching, I decided to visits Optica and change my frames once and for all. When I got in their CBD branch, I met a petite lady with killer frames who led me to a consultation table and asked me what I wanted. I told her that I needed to change my frames. She asked for my current glasses and was surprised to see them. “This frame size is too small! It ran out of fashion a long time ago!” She exclaimed. Aaah aaah! My frames my choice! I thought to myself. “Yeah that’s why am here to change them.” I managed to respond now feeling rather embarrassed of my ‘outdated’ frames.
She then led me to a room downstairs and asked me to put my chin on some machine from where she observed both eyes from the other end. Then gave me some thingamajig that looked like one of those glasses that Will I Am wears in his music videos and changed lenses while I was reading letters of different sizes on the white board in front of me. After careful analysis she told me that my left eye was weaker than my right one. I never even knew that! When all this was done, she wrote some notes on her dainty notepad and led me back to the consultation table.
It was now time to choose the frames. She led me to the frames display and when she asked me what frame I wanted, I told her I wanted something simple, with minimal or no print and embellishments. I tried different frames to which she gave her opinion on each frame. I finally settled on the black ones you see on the cover photo. We went back to the consultation desk and started discussing the lens particulars, “do you want the lens to have sun protection? She asked. “You mean tint? I asked, I have a bad habit of replying questions with questions. “Yes.” She responded. “Toa tint……I want my glasses to be clear because I have no intention to hide my beautiful eyes plus I really strain when under poor lighting.” She chuckled as she left to write me a receipt.
Once the payment was sorted, she told me that they would call me once the glasses were ready for collection. So last Saturday I walked into Optica to pick my glasses a bit scared. This is because the previous night I had a nightmare that I went to pick the glasses and when they were handed to me, the lens was tampered with. I couldn’t see as the glasses were broken. I woke up panting and yelling, “Not the lens! Not the lens!” The gentleman at the reception smiled at me and handed me the new glasses. I tried them and I will be honest, I loooooove these new frames. They are dope, aren’t they?
I think I will even need to have my eyebrows tweezed. Did you see what the new frames did to my forehead? They made it look sexier! I will also need to get a new bag, dress, ear rings and even shoes to go with the frames. Since I can’t afford to have any trace of eczema on my neck which were triggered after trying that new choker that decided to choke the health of the skin on my neck, I will need a new tube of Mediven S cream. Don’t you think it will be important to also get a new phone maybe, you know…..something to match up to the standards of my new frames? I will also need to change how I receive phone calls to something like, “I have new gorgeous frames! Hello?”
When I walked out of Optica with my new glasses, I felt like a new being. It felt like nothing could bring me down, not even that dude who I sat next to in the Rembo Shuttle to Kitengela. Dude had converted the mat into a rehearsal studio and kept singing out loud in a foreign language from which the only phrase I could get was, ”Na menyeko!” So the next time you spot me at a date or taking a selfie, I will be rocking this gorgeous pair because am no longer ashamed being a macho inne.