I’m dilated to meet you.

Today the snow was meant to be gone, or at least well on the way to going. Instead when I got up, the receding flow had stopped and a new tidal wave was threatening to engulf us as more and more came down in a steady flow. Because it hadn’t reached a critical level where we live it was decided that I should still attend a 10.30 am appointment at the hospital……or to be more precise at a vehicle in the hospital car park.

By the time we’d dug the car out we were pushing the time a little bit but just made it. The hill was quiet, the road to the hospital was quiet and the hospital car park was quiet apart from some few cars trying to get enough grip to leave. For some reason the car park was built sloping down so it’s easy to get into but not so easy to get out of if there’s any ice. The gritters had obviously been out yesterday but had also believed the reports of no snow today and weren’t prepared. Anyway, we were there and rang the bell on the outside of the wagon that at least sounded as though it would be warm with a generator running. The nurse who opened the door expressed some surprise to see us but invited us in. That in itself was a task as the steps were very steep so Ju and I on crutches felt like Sherpa Tensing.

We were in. The nurse took my name and said they were phoning people to come this morning as it was possible they’d have to give up before the afternoon. All in all, most people were cancelling. She put my drops in without warning me they were sulphuric acid and would burn their way to the back of my head. “Might sting a bit” she added.I was given a couple of pieces of tissue and told to sit in the waiting room with Ju for twenty minutes. The waiting room was where I’d come into the vehicle and had one bench seat that would hold about four anorexics. Ju and I were two of them. After a few minutes another nurse appeared from a different room and said she’d be doing the photographs of the back of my eye, retinopathy. They’re very good at doing these at least once a year if you’re diabetic.

There was a ring on the bell and another willing sacrifice arrived and was taken through to be tortured. I was going to try and mouth to him ” Get away while you still can” but I think the nurse was watching me. I’m not sure as by now my pupils had dilated and my eyes were watering like mad. Three more people arrived that they’d phoned. The first came came out and sat with Ju and I, he called “Right, all together now, breathe out so I can slip in” and he managed it. Luckily for me as the next one came out  groping blindly and zombie like, the second nurse came to say she was ready for me. There was no room at the inn for Ju though so she had to stay on the bench like a substitute at a football match.

I vaguely saw the nurse sitting on a chair and went to take a seat opposite her and found a laptop open . ” Hold on” she said “you sit over here. I was just adjusting it for you”. I moved round to the chair she vacated and she did the same with me. I hope I left hers warmer than she left mine. She told me to place my chin in a device that hung in front of my face and place my forehead against the bar above it. It was a bit of a strain on the neck but I managed it and off we went………nowhere. “Eyes wide please, and concentrate on the blue light” she said. I did. FLASH!!! “Wait” she told me, that didn’t work there’s some condensation on the lens.” I waited while she came round to my side and vigorously polished the lens. As she returned to her seat I drew myself up and placed my chin back in the device but the strain of getting my forehead there was much worse as the chair I was on had been getting lower and lower as I waited. I was praying for this to be over.

Again we were unsuccessful and she had to clean my lens. “Perhaps it’s on the inside “I said “due to all the cold outside.”    “This is a £9000 camera in a sealed unit” she said, “it can’t be on the inside.”!  We had two more failures and I thought my neck would snap she she suddenly announced “I think it must be on the inside. I’m afraid I’ll have to phone my boss. Could you just sit outside a minute please.”  I didn’t dare say there was no way I’d find a seat out there with all the other blind people but I agreed and let myself out. I didn’t have long to wait before she came out and told us all she was sorry but her boss had decided all appointments were cancelled for the day. They needed to subject the camera to heat for at least half an hour. FREEDOM !!

Ju and I carefully walked back to where we’d parked and cleared the new snow from the roof and windscreen. Sitting inside I lit up a cigarette and swore I wasn’t going again until the summer. Ju remarked how odd I looked with such dilated pupils. We headed up the slope of the car park and over the road to my doctors car park to drop off a prescription request then went to the supermarket for a fresh loaf before going home to have soup for lunch and watch the snow were not having fall outside. Late this afternoon it stopped snowing but I’m not taking bets on what tomorrow holds.


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29 responses to “I’m dilated to meet you.

  1. I have one question, maybe two. Could you see to drive? Because I mean, you couldn’t see to find a seat in the waiting room. Or are you just a lucky person? Sometimes your stories are funny, but then I have to realize these are true, and it makes me feel bad to laugh. Sorry, David. You are great at telling your tales of truth.

    • That’s easy-peasy Mary J. No, I couldn’t see to drive but I can;t drive even when I can see. Julia drives me everywhere, even round the bend. You shouldn’t ever feel bad to laugh since I find that life throws humorous things at us all the time and I try to make people smile or laugh with them.
      Thanks so much for the compliment. xx Hugs

  2. I have a question too David – was this a mobile ‘hospital’ thingie? I’m sorry, maybe that was meant to be obvious but I thought I’d just check. Belt and braces you know. So all that for nothing eh? I feel for you. I should probably get a new prescription for my glasses too but after your experience I’m putting it off a bit longer! -hugs-

    • Yes, I suppose it was a mobile hospital thingie parked in the car park of the hospital because apparently they didn’t have a room free this time.They needed a thermometer to check the ambient temperature and couldn’t find one- they were in a HOSPITAL car park for heaven’s sake.
      Don’t tell me that to get new glasses in Oz you have to go through a performance like that? Do you get help with the cost of glasses when you reach 60 over there?
      Huge Hugs.xxxx

      • I think we are reimbursed in part for the lenses – once per year – but not for the frames so getting new glasses is rather expensive. Not sure if there’s any extra financial assistance for the over 60’s. Maybe when we reach official retirement age [65 for women].

      • We also get help with lenses but not with frames though most places do reasonable frames just not very stylish. I’m surprised retirement for ladies is 65 there, I hope it’s the same for men since they always have shorter lives than ladies.If you were born after 1955 I think it’s 65 for ladies here, it’s 60 in 1951 and then graded between the years 52, 53 & 54. But for most things like bus passes and glasses everyone is OK at 60. We’ll wait and see how much changes when they bring in the new benefits act in October and start hammering the disabled and those on benefits.

      • I think our government started early on reducing its social welfare budgets. We have a sliding scale on retirement as well but I know I missed out on ‘early retirement’. Hah, as if. Not sure what it is for men but I think it may be one or two years later. I guess us oldies are becoming a liability. -rolls eyes-

      • Ha, we’re certainly a liability over here. Not enough money in the pension pot since much of our benefits is given away to EU immigrants from the ex Soviet Bloc countries and to workers who found our benefits system is more generous than their own. We give benefit to illegals while waiting to clear their cases and spend a fortune on the NHS because it can’t cope with the number of patients. A lot of them come from countries where f they stayed at home they’d pay. We’re bankrupt and also making people work longer to pay for the mess we’ve created. Trouble is, they’re cutting back by hitting the easiest prey, the disabled, by taking away disability living allowances.

      • 😦 Over here they’ve just brought in a new thing where they take people on Family Allowances and put them on what amounts to the dole instead when the kid[s] reach 8. You’d be hard pressed to feed, clothe and house a dog on the pittance that is the dole.

        The idea, apparently, is to ‘encourage’ people on very low incomes to get a job. Of course none of the bureaucrats who came up with this cost saving worry about things like the cost of after school care when both parents work!

        Easy targets. 😦

      • Our bright spark are going to do something similar. I think there will be a reducing scale of benefits for not trying to get a job. \They’ll monitor applications made by computer and phone at job centres. The decision to hit the disabled and elderly is they say because there are different scales of Disability living allowance and they want to bring them into line as one allowance. The reason there are 3 different rates of care component is because people have different degrees of disability. There are two rates for mobility for the same reason. It’s fine to change the name of it as lond as the disabled and elderly don’t lose out, but of course that will happen because they’re giving the contract for checking the allowance people should go on to a firm who were paid bonuses for keeping people off the original award. I was visited by one of their doctors who I could hardly understand who actually put down answers on the form that he’s never even asked me and who assessed my ability to walk based on a 6 foot walk across the lounge. Because I have great difficulty in talking to strangers Ju answered for me and he kept telling her to hush as he wanted me to answer. When I couldn’t he wrote down an answer anyway. It’s not like I’m dense or anything since I can see what he’s doing but he treated me like a moron. I won on appeal.

      • Oh David that’s horrible. You shouldn’t have to ‘appeal’ such a disgusting, biased process. Is no-one protesting – as in a movement of protest?

      • There is a large online petition to have the act repealed. I know it passed the 10.000 mark where he department concerned have to respond- which they did. But as yet it hasn’t reached the number of signatures necessary to make it a subject of Parliamentary discussion again. I’m just hoping we can get that number and bring it back before the MP’s to look at it afresh knowing how the public feel about it.

      • I like that there’s a formal process over in the UK. Not sure what we have over here. Maybe they just wait to see how many people get really, really angry. 😦

  3. My daughter absolutely hates to dilate her pupils. Every year she has to do that to check if the feared glasses are out for good. Poor thing.

    I’d be really mad if I had done all you did for nothing…instead you gave us another great read, thanks! 😀 Like Mary above me, I wonder how did you manage to drive home…

    • I feel for your poor daughter Renata but I hope they were better organised than my lot yesterday. Ah well, they’ll reschedule for another time. As regards the driving, I don’t drive at all I’m afraid. I never had an interest in doing so but when Ju got interested I sent her for lessons and now she does our driving when she can. When she can’t, I have two close friends for emergencies.
      Big Hugs

      • Ha! I don’t drive either, David! Tried to learn once, got the car in a wall..never again! 🙂

      • Ha, my work suggested I learn once Renata and offered to hep. They sent me out in a van with someone beside me and I overshot a junction on a country road and went straight into a hedge. I can’t help but look down when I change gear so the only way I’d stand a chance is in an automatic.xxxx

      • You know what, David? Just like Sheldon explained, we represent a distinct new stage in humankind; Homo Novus if you will.

        So, we don’t drive because we are not meant to… We are too evolved to such an ordinary task! 🙂


      • I much prefer your explanation to the one that says I’m just hopeless behind the wheel. From now on I’m Homo Novus ! Thank you. Hugs Galore. xxx

  4. All I can imagine is you with eyes like a shark scaring all the girls in the supermarket when you were off to get the bread!
    Enjoying the view of falling snow with a bowl of soup sounds like a very nice afternoon to me, just a pity you can’t see past the end of your (healing) nose 😉

    • I dare say there were a few looks in the supermarket as my glasses would magnify the effect. I suspect they thought a shark would have been the least of their worries when I’m there groping the fresh bread. Luckily the effect wore off after about 4 hours but I could see clearly after about two so I managed to gauge the distance between soup and (healing)nose quite well.
      Hugs galore xx

  5. Catherine Johnson

    You tell sorry tales with more panache than a french pastry, David. I hope all is rectified soon 🙂

    • Flatterer ! ( More, More) I’m sure they’ll send a new appointment out in a month or so and perhaps next time they’ll do the examination in the hospital proper and not the car park.
      Huge Hugs. XX

  6. Dilating your pupils sucks! I have never enjoyed that. I am glad they only do that to me once a year otherwise I would be in some serious trouble and probably NEVER get my eyes examined (so far I only have to wear them for distance…yikes)


    • Unfortunately I’ll get to do it twice this year along with the other eight people they left partially sighted that morning. I just hope they reschedule in the summer when there’s no chance of condensation getting inside the camera.

  7. I take a medicine that causes blindness in some people, so once a year I am dilated then placed in front of a computer with my eyes squelched against a rubber edge and in that most uncomfortable position I have to play a computer game and hit a button every time I see a white x while a red line goes back and forth in front of the screen. Talk about a trained monkey. By the time I am done I am dizzy from dilation and the game and all I can see are white x’s across my vision. But the good news has been no problems. So I shall take their silly test in stride and be grateful that there is a predictive exam that can save vision in person’s who may develop this adverse effect!

    • Sounds like we’re on the same machine. I hope things continue to go well for you. Please don’t think I’m making light of the illnesses or of the necessity for the test, but I like to find the humour in our lives and it was funny to be dilated along with so many others only for the test to be cancelled.I’ll be there to have my eyes checked the minute they reschedule. Hugs xx

  8. I hope the affects of the sulphuric acid have now worn off. I hate it when you go through all that and the machines let you down. Hopefully the snow has all gone as well, here it melted away overnight.

    • Yes thanks, I can see clearly again now until they reschedule- in he summer with luck. We had a burst of quite heavy snow on Friday night but most of it disappeared yesterday and by this morning you’d think it had missed us altogether except for a few screams of flooding where the roads and fields couldn’t cope. Back to normal for a time now.

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