01 October 2006

New Mattress - New Glasses

Waking up with an aching back for the past year prompted me to look into purchasing a new mattress. The one I had was only a year old, but total crap. I once tried to flip it over, only to find it was one-sided, and that the reverse side was something you might find on the bottom of a box. My theory is that Vietnamese just aren’t accustomed to sleeping in beds, so may not know what a proper mattress is. The majority sleep on the floor on straw mats, or on wooden platform beds with no padding. They say they are comfortable.

Several friends recommended this special, Vietnamese invented/made, foam rubber mattress. They all swore by it. When I went to one of their stores, I was shocked to find that the price was equivalent to one months rent. I’d rather use the money on a trip. I could live with a sore lower back. Or at least I thought I could. Then I thought I might at least check out the prices of other mattresses.

I called my realtor, who also delves in decorating apartments. She said that she would ask my landlord to buy a new one for me, since I was about to renew my rental contract. It was something I would never even have thought of doing, but my realtor assured it was proper. And two days later, I got a new mattress.

I couldn’t sleep on it for three days. One; because it still stunk from the plastic wrapping material, and two; it has been raining so much that I could maybe wash my sheets but they would never dry. Finally, I did wash them and with the helpful hint of a friend, strung them in the living room and turned the fan on them.

Last night was my first night on the new mattress. It sort of felt lumpy, but I woke up without a backache, so am very happy.

My other acquisition for the week was new glasses. By now, I think the whole world must know about my super-sensitive eyes and their adverse reaction to fluorescent lighting. Basically, with first contact in such lighting I immediately start to get light headed, which then turns to dizziness, which is soon followed by a migraine headache, and that is the end of any happiness to my day. Through years of experimentation, I have found that rose tinted, glass lenses, with anti-reflective coating, seem to at least enable me to get through a maximum of five hours under florescent lights. I by no means feel “normal”, but usually don’t feel like passing out or throwing up if I wear the glasses.

Do note that I said “glass” glasses, since these eyes of mine can detect any irregularities in even top grade plastic lenses. Cut to the chase: I went in to an optical store last week to order glasses. I needed the florescent protectors as well as reading glasses. The reading glasses I have are something like eight years old, and they work, but are all lopsided and chipped because the lenses keep falling out and hitting the floor.

It took awhile to explain what I needed, and I repeated everything 400 times, just to make sure. The optometrist told me that tinted glass lenses were no longer available anywhere in the country, but he would check just to make sure. I really didn’t think plain glass with only anti-reflective coating would work, but decided to give it a try.

When I picked up my glasses, I went home, then went to the corner mini-mart to try them out. Big mistake – it was like going under the lights with nothing for protection. I came home, popped a handful of ibuprofen, then tried to relax for an hour before my Vietnamese lesson. When my teacher arrived, I proudly showed off the new reading glasses and proceeded to use them during our class. By the time she left, the headache was even worse.

It wasn’t until the next day, while wearing the reading glasses, that I noticed the world was warped. Oh damn! The optics on the reading glasses had imperfections and everything was wavy. No wonder my head had continued to degrade the day before.

Two days later I went back to the optician and explained matters. We are now going to try gradient, grey lenses; the ones that get darker in the sun. Hopefully they will work. I then tried to explain the reading glass problem, while every person in the store tried them on and said they saw no problem. They were all very kind, and the owner assured me that he would have the lenses re-made. I know he thought I was crazy. I will go back on Wednesday. If anyone has any ideas on how to deal with ‘the lights that are slowly and painfully killing me’, please let me know.

Off to my new bed.