Every time I go to bed at night, or lie down to insert drops (of which more, hopefully not too boringly, later) I find myself trying to remove non-existing specs from my nose. This perfect distance sight is going to take
some getting used to.
I have been wearing glasses for 61 years, ever since I finally discovered that I should be able to see what Miss Boyle had written on the
blackboard even from the very back row where I was unfortunate enough to sit next to one Malcolm Stovell. I'm quite sure I didn't choose to sit next to Master Stovell, I must have been told to. All I remember (apart from being unable to read the writing on
the blackboard), was that Malcolm took great exception to the fact that I could write faster than he could and used to pin my arm down painfully on the desk until he caught up. It never occurred to me to complain to anyone or report this casually cruel form
of bullying. I simply took it as one of the few disadvantages alongside the many, many advantages to being in the Divine Miss Boyle’s class.
When I returned
home from the initial appointment with the optician, I was full of excitement at being prescribed specs which I somehow imagined would bestow upon me a fascinating air of intelligence. My brother was scathing: I was a “little fool” he told me,
curtly, and would soon come to regret my Bespectacled Status.
He was perfectly right, of course, at least in the first place. For around fifteen years, after the
first flush of being spectacular wore off, I would only wear my glasses when I felt it was strictly necessary. As the years passed and I became more and more myopic, the world around me became increasingly blurry and I managed to miss friends and foes alike
when I came across them in the street. Belatedly, I conquered my vanity and realised that the world really was the most beautiful place - but only if you could see it properly. From that moment on, my specs became part of who I was - every bit as much as my
slightly over-long nose and my errant eye-brows.
I went through all the many fashions from large frames to small frames, to ones with turny up ends. I discovered
I could pay out vast amounts of money for condensed lenses so that I didn't look as if I were wearing bottle tops. When young and poor, I dreamed of contact lenses; once I was sufficiently well off to afford them, I decided I couldn't quite bring myself to
insert foreign objects into my eyes - and, anyway, I was used to my glasses. They were, as I said before, an essential part of me.
Except no longer. After my second
cataract operation on Tuesday (following an exciting shopping expedition - see previous Blog) I can, as the song has it, “see clearly now…” This is going to be a bit of a challenge - will The Twinkles recognise me, for starters?
Then there's the drop regime. Every day for two weeks eleven sets of drops to be administered, from three separate bottles, followed by a further two weeks of five drops
a day. Last time around Mr B played nurse - except for the day of our Annual Jolly Girls Outing when the Eldest of the Darling Daughters did the honours on what will be forever remembered as the JollEye Girls Outing.
Knowing Mr B wouldn't be able to do Drop Duty any longer, I was most relieved when the nurse in the hospital recovery room demonstrated a fool-proof way of getting the various drops from bottle to eye with the minimum of fuss
and bother. I am indebted to her.
There are three different bottles of drops. In keeping with the family tradition of naming everything, I have called them Shaky,
Squeezy and Stingy. Shaky because I must remember to give this bottle a really good shake before use; Squeezy because this bottle has to be squeezed much harder before a drop appears and descends eye-wards; Stingy because - well, I'm sure you can guess. Occasionally,
I use the bottles in the wrong order. I can't imagine it matters too much if I shake Stingy or Squeezy - but it's most disconcerting to squeeze really hard on what I imagine to be Squeezy only to find two drops of Stingy making an Unexpected Entrance.
It's good to be getting my act together because on Tuesday I shall be at another eye hospital, for another operation on the other eye.
After all, why have one eye operation when you could have two?