by Melinda Gallo

A visit to the oculista

It wasn't until Alessandro and I were on vacanza (vacation) that we both realized that we might need glasses. He was having difficulty reading the fine print and I couldn't see as clearly as I used to any print that was far away. But I might also have been under the influence of my brother, who is an oculista (ophthalmologist) in the States. When he came in August for a visit, he messo una pulce nell'orecchio (put a seed of doubt in my mind) because he told me that I'll eventually need glasses. After talking with Alessandro's parents right after returning from vacanza, his mamma (mom) made an appointment for us with their oculista, and we went there yesterday together.

When we sat down in the doctor's studio (office), I was quite surprised because it was so contrasting to the sala d'attesa (waiting room) that we sat in before getting called by the oculista. His studio was dimly lit, modern, and quite chic while the sala d'attesa was stark and had dingy couches for us to sit on.

The oculista came out and called Alessandro's name. At first I wasn't sure if we were going in separately, but Alessandro said we can go in together.

The doctor asked me to go first, so I explained that I couldn't see things a distanza (far away) as clearly as I used to. He escorted me to a chair where I sat down to be examined. He placed a machine in front of me and asked me to place my chin on the chin rest and lean my forehead against the pad in front. After he was done, he told me to sit back so he could put a second machine in front of me.

"Non avete mica questa cosa in America. Questa qui si fa a Scandicci. You don't have this thing in America. This one is made in Scandicci." he said to me with much pride. I have never seen an oculista in the States before, but I told him that I personally never saw such a modern invention before. The table had three arms and on each one was a different machine. The doctor twirled the table around while we both remained seated.

After my exams, the oculista turned around and said to Alessandro, "Hai scelto molto bene. Tua moglie una donna molto sana. Si vede tutto negli occhi. You chose very well. Your wife is a very healthy woman. You can see everything in the eyes." I was happy that the oculista said that I was healthy, but I was surprised that he told my marito (husband) and not me directly.

He told me that I didn't really need glasses because I could still read the letters on the wall in front of me, but if I really wanted to see them a little clearer, he'd write up a ricetta (prescription) anyway. It's true that the difference was minimal, but it did make a difference to me. I asked him if my eye sight was worse because I work on a computer or because I'm getting older, and he told me that neither one was the reason.

The oculista asked Alessandro what brought him to get tested today, and after finding out Alessandro's age, he said, "Benvenuto fra di noi uomini. Welcome among us men." The doctor said that his issues are common for all men over 40.

He then put Alessandro in the chair to test him. I watched as the oculista tested him on one machine and then the next. The table was really an interesting invention.

After writing a ricetta for Alessandro, the doctor walked us to the door where we said our goodbyes.

Alessandro went immediately to the ottico (optician) to get glasses while I tried some on, but am undecided as to the montatura (frames) I want. It is odd to see my marito with glasses, but I've always thought the man I married would wear them. Although if the oculista said that most men after 40 need them, it would just be inevitable anyway.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!