Yesterday I had an appointment with my eye doctor, a long overdue affair made even more necessary by the destruction of my glasses a week ago (I still have an old pair, so I've still been legal for driving and so forth!). As part of the examination, I had my eyes dilated. For those of you who have not experienced this before, basically the doctor puts a couple of eyedrops in your eyes that cause the iris to "open up" so that the doctor can see more clearly into your eyes to examine them. This has the effect of letting more light into your eye than is normally the case, and so if you go outside without sunglasses, you'll find that it's a lot brighter out than your friends do. It also messes with your focusing ability, making it harder to see things clearly. For these reasons, the doctors ask you not to work with a computer or drive for about four hours after getting the eyedrops.
Although I had not expected it beforehand (indeed, was not sure that getting my eyes dilated would be a part of this particular visit), I was fortunate that my wife happened to be in town (we live in a town about a half-hour away from where I work, which is across the street from the eye doctor) and she was able to come by as my doctor's visit was coming to an end. This enabled me to get an opinion on new eyeglass frames from someone who didn't have medicationally-altered vision, but more importantly, meant that I had someone available to drive me around for a couple of hours while my eyes readjusted.
As soon as we stepped out of the doctor's office, I regretted not having any sunglasses available, and so closed my eyes for most of the trip back to my wife's car (she was happy to have the excuse to have me hold her hand while she guided me!), and kept them closed throughout most of the trip to Starbucks, where we spent the better part of an hour. A little later, I was able to stop by my office again, where I happened to have a pair of non-prescription sunglasses I almost never use (since I don't wear contacts, and they don't exactly fit OVER my regular glasses) which were extremely welcome as I finished out my temporary visual readjustment.
As a reasonably independent person, it's always a bit jarring to have to depend on someone else to get around, even if that person is someone you care about. But if my wife hadn't been available yesterday, at the very least I would have had to navigate my way across the street from the doctor's office to my workplace fighting painful brightness, at which point I could have locked myself in my darkened office to wait out the remaining few hours. As it was, I was able to enjoy myself a lot more by taking advantage of help that was offered. I'm extremely grateful.