Valerie, who is my new Best Friend Forever (at least for today) and I are comparing what we call our Operation Blouses.
being Obedient Souls, we have taken note of the instructions on the hospital’s Admissions Letter which states we must wear a blouse or shirt which opens down the front and has short sleeves so that we can be hooked up to appropriate monitoring equipment
while we are lying helplessly on the operating table. Neither of us possessed such an item of clothing so we both made special trips to purchase a blouse which would fit the bill. Valerie’s is royal blue, decorated with a red and yellow pattern; mine
is a rather tasteful white, flowered creation which I like to think I will be able to wear on other, less challenging occasions.
There are three of us on The Theatre
List for this afternoon - Valerie, The Elderly Gentleman and I. Unfortunately in that order so I am in for a long wait. However we are apparently Making History, being the first people to be operated on at this brand new Eye Care Clinic. This is not quite
so thrilling as you might think, in that nobody (apart from a bossy, finger-wagging fella) seems quite sure where anything is or how to operate the shiny new apparatus with which the clinic is well endowed. It was therefore reassuring to meet the Consultant
Surgeon who would be wielding the scalpel and who, despite looking young enough, at a pinch, to be my granddaughter, definitely Knew Her Stuff.
Each of we three
victims, sorry, patients, is accompanied by a Trusty Friend or Relative. The Elderly Gentleman is being supported by his sweet granddaughter who tells me she will be undergoing surgery herself, of a far more serious nature, in a few days time. That's
a loving granddaughter for you. I am lucky enough to have the Eldest of the Darling Daughters quite literally holding my hand on this latest Jolly Jaunt to Hospital. We treated ourselves to lunch in the hospital Café beforehand - leek and potato soup
for me, jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise for her. We were having such a good time, we almost forget why we were there.
As for Valerie, she has a fella she describes
as “My Partner” in tow, who manages to nod off to sleep before she is taken into theatre and only rouses himself on her return. “I could have died!” she berates him soundly. He grins, shamefacedly.
The Elderly Gentleman is coaxed out of his shirt and jumper and into a hospital gown. Does he have anything in his pockets, the nurses ask him. Only his keys, he protests - but out they must come.
Followed, to our amusement, first by his wallet and then by a sizeable gold watch and chain. He regards each item, as it emerges from his pocket, with an air of bewildered bemusement.
As anticipated, it’s a very long wait till my turn to be pushed into theatre so my daughter and I have lots of time to chat. I am disappointed when I, too, have to remove my Operation Blouse and don a far less tasteful hospital
gown. Off I trundle. I may be some time…
A nurse holds my hand throughout the procedure - not because she is Super Friendly (though I'm sure she probably
is) but so that I can squeeze it if I need to call a halt to proceedings for any reason. She and the other theatre nurses talk about their dogs. The surgeon tells me I am very quiet and very calm which is most certainly not the case on the inside but mostly
I am quiet because I can't think up any interesting Dog-Related chat to enable me to join the nurses’ conversation.
Towards the end of the longest
hour and a quarter of my life to date, the Registrar who is stitching up my poor eye-lid comments that he has helped another surgeon who carried out this operation using a very different method. Which method, enquires my surgeon, a note of steel in her
voice, did he prefer? Definitely hers, he replies. “Right answer!” I pipe up from my prone position. It raises a laugh.
Afterwards, it being Opening
Day in the Eye Clinic, the doctors and nurses take photographs of each other to record the happy scene. The Eldest of the Darling Daughters, who is ever thoughtful, being beautiful both inside and out, offers to take a photograph of them all together. They
group together, all smiles at the successful conclusion of Day One of the New Order.
Dear reader, it isn't like me to miss an opportunity, now is it? Why, oh why,
didn't I think to photo-bomb them, me with my eye patch and slightly manic grin, fresh from the theatre? It would have added such a lot to the photographic record.
even changed back into my Operation Blouse…