So, six weeks after leaving my little house for my fourth lot of eye surgery, expecting I’d be back after just a couple of weeks, I finally made it back and unlocked the door to find an envelope from my opticians on the door mat declaring in bold green print, ‘Your eye health check is due.’ I think that’s what is generally descibed as irony. I tossed it on the side, making a mental note to write a strongly-worded letter to my opticians, to let them know that if they’d been a little more vigilant about informing me of the fact that a change in floaters can be a symptom of a retinal detachment, I might well be happily popping along for my usual eye health check, rather than writing to inform them that I would no longer be requiring their services as well as actively advising friends and colleagues to get their eyes tested elsewhere. After muttering a few choice expletives along the lines of ‘useless ruddy opticians’, I got on with the business of wandering around the house in a somewhat dazed manner, trying to get used to the different quality of light from that in my mum’s house and working out my visual field markers again by standing or sitting in various set points and comparing what I could see to what I was able to see before the last two lots of surgery. I then spent a good while staring at my floaters on a blank-ish wall in the living room before going into the bathroom and backing straight out again because of the unfamiliar brightness of the overhead light bouncing off the white tiles.
‘How does it feel being back at home?’, my sister asked, when I’d finally paused in my routine of wandering around and staring at various walls and objects for long enough to sit down. ‘Aaaaaaaagh, I don’t like it!’, I cried, in a manner which would do little to assure a casual observer of my sanity. ‘Well don’t worry for now’, advised my ever-practical sister. ‘Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then look up places to live in Surrey so that you can move and be near me and mum.’ She wasn’t joking either. A few days earlier I’d caught her looking up flats in the vicinity of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. She said she was just curious but added that it would make the travelling considerably easier in an emergency. She did have a point, however I noted that the cost of renting a flat in London certainly wouldn’t offset that of all the money spent on rail tickets getting there and back for appointments and surgeries, even at peak times. My sister marched off to put the kettle on, whilst I trailed behind her like a petulant child, wailing, ‘But I don’t want to live in Surrey… I want new eyes!’ Of course, in the customary British tradition, a strong cup of tea made everything seem better (despite the shocking lack of chocolate biscuits to go with it), or at least it helped us to crack on with the business of pretending it was.
Note: The business of getting on with pretending everything was okay included a trip out to the local supermarket to stock up on chocolate biscuits.