The allotted day and the allotted hour had arrived. I stood in the queue awaiting to be checked in. A lost looking ambulance driver was wandering round and round the eye clinic, trying to find his stricken patient. A nurse finally escorted him to one of the clinics. I didn’t see him again.
I reached the head of the queue and readied myself for the pre-flight checks. Apart from stating your date of birth and the first line of your address, the eye clinic also throws in your GP’s name and the last four digits of your contact number. This can throw people sometimes, but I was prepared.
I was called in for an eye test. This is the eye clinic equivalent to weighing you, which happens at other clinics. It’s done. It’s noted and never referred to again. The nurse sat me down and began reading a letter. It was a very long letter. It looked like it had been written by Mr Q. I had done some dyslexia training at work where the tutor gave us something to read, and then spoke instructions at the same time. It was impossible to read and listen and the same time, which was the point they were trying to prove. Aware of this I sat silently… for five whole long minutes.
She looked concerned. I was not what she was used to. We did the eye test and I did quite well. She took me to a set of chairs where I sat and waited. I was called through quite quickly and Mr Q was sat there, looking chirpy as ever. I wondered how he managed to get into the clinic without any detection. Maybe he tunnelled in or transported his way in as on Star Trek. Mrs P, the eye consultant, was also there and looked a bit flustered.
I gave my history and got the impression that Mr Q was taking a back seat in things. It wasn’t his clinic after all. After listening we went through the options. It involved two operations. The first one involved tightening the lower eyelid. I won’t describe the gruesome details but it would be done in day surgery and involve heavy sedation. The second op would involve gold implants being inserted in my upper eyelid. Once that had been done, Mr Q would rush in and sort my mouth out. I would be knocked out for that one. Phew.
So that was it sorted. Mr Q rushed off saying that he would confirm dates with Mrs P and that was that. As she started completing the consent form, Mrs P stopped.
“You know, I think the damage is so severe, we may be wasting our time with the eye op…”
What? There was a pause. It was like she was prompting me to decide about it. I stayed quiet. She looked at my notes.
“You are seeing Mrs T… what does she feel about it?”
I said that she hadn’t really given an opinion on any kind about it.
“She’s in clinic today. Do you mind if I discuss this with her?”
I nodded and five minutes later a smiley Mrs T appeared. She seemed the happiest I’ve seen her. I guess she prefers being around other doctors rather than awkward patients. They started speaking medical gobblegook to one another. Then a decision was made that could be explained to me in English.
They would do the first op on my lower lid but not the one on the upper lid. Mrs P seemed quite happy with that. Mrs T left the room and the drafting of the consent form recommenced. The op would take place in November or early December. I would get a letter confirming it all. She would let Mr Q know of the change of plan. How he would take it? Lord knows. Thankfully I had booked another appointment to see him in September just in case he hadn’t been able to make the appointment today. We could discuss it all then.
I left, consent form signed to have before photos taken to be scrutinised by eager medical students. It’s the pics after that I felt slightly apprehensive about…