The call came at 2.00 on Wednesday. I’d discovered that the 1B bus really did stop outside Tesco as long as you stayed on it long enough. My Dobbie’s card which had been gathering cobwebs in the purse purchased a pot of tea. I’d come home late and slung a potato in the oven. I’d retrieved the baked potato and was smothering it in cheese. There’d been a cancellation, the hospital said, if I could get down to the hospital for 3.30 I could step into the slot and have my cataract operation. I ate the potato swiftly and headed off.
I needed the operation to get my driving licence back – yes that sad tale of the police ambush out on the distributor road and the challenge to read a number plate at twenty metres.
My mother’s experience weighed heavy. Her operation had been in the early days of laser eye surgery. Hers was the one in a thousand operations that went wrong. She lost the sight in her left eye. She didn’t want them to touch her other eye.
I had less than an hour. The promised morning of preparation was not going to happen. There was less worrying time than I thought I had. Maybe it was just intensified. The husband at work was unreachable. I was on my own.
Eye drops to widen the pupil, a final look at the eye to see that there had been no sudden changes to deal with, I was strapped down on the gurney and wheeled through. Strapped down? Maybe not, although I really had to supress the urge to run. Maybe the cataract and I could live in peace. Driving wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and I had the bus pass.
Plastic was put over my face, not it an attempt to stop me breathing. A small eye-sized hole was cut out. I stared at the light as told to and the surgeon got on with the business. My right eye, not involved in all of this, tired its best to see what was going on. It was all very interesting. A nurse volunteered to hold my hand, not realising it might involve a few broken bones.
I could have done with music playing or the sound of calming waves. The whine of the laser was almost melodious but not quite. The cataract removed, the surgeon slipped the new lens in and tweaked it into place.
The light shining down as it was, the new lens reflected a rainbow of colours dancing a twirl of a waltz. It was beautiful. Disney and Pixar would have been hard pressed to produce something as stunning. If only I could capture it in paints.
With two bottles of eye drops, a letter for my optician and a A4 sheet of instructions I was thrown back into the world. A quick glimpse in the bathroom mirror revealed a me I had never seen – a face, complete with bags under the eyes – without glasses. Never a pretty face, it surprised me just how um-pretty. I shall adapt.
It’s a brave new world out there.