Today was the day. A little over six weeks since it was requested, and two since I moaned about how useless the NHS was, I finally had my appointment at the eye clinic this morning.

Aberystwyth was unusually sunny, and since I knew I wasn't going to be able to drive myself home after the operation, I hitched a ride into town with the Horse Doctor, which meant I had an hour or two to kill before heading up North Road. Of course, there's bugger all to do in Aberystwyth on a sunny Monday, so I ended up getting there early. I'd have loitered around in the car park, getting a bit of sun, but since the North Road Clinic also houses the sexual health unit, I thought it best for my reputation if I wasn't seen hovering uncertainly at the door.

So I went in, sat down and waited. And waited, and waited. There didn't seem to be a lot of activity, either in the eye clinic or the sexual health clinic, which speaks rather well for the good citizens of Ceredigion, I suppose. Only a slightly out of tune Radio One and a month old copy of Grazia magazine for company, I endured an hour of sitting with as much stoicism as I could muster.

Finally, when I was just about to get up, find a receptionist and ask if they'd forgotten all about me, I was called in to see Doctor Kontes. He was a nice enough man, though convinced I was somehow related to Lee Harvey Oswald.* He looked at my eye, declared that it was a cyst needing to be removed (which I already knew, of course) and then made me sign a waiver form so that I wouldn't sue the NHS Trust if accidentally poked out my eyeball or something. Not a problem as far as I was concerned.

All signed and ready to go, I was just about to follow the good doctor out of the consulting room and into the operating theatre,** when a very bossy nurse bustled in, telling us that we had to observe two minutes silence for the Polish tragedy. 

Now, I'm very sorry that the Polish president, his wife and various hangers-on died in a plane crash at the weekend. I'm probably even more sincere in my condolences than most of our elected or want-to-be elected representatives, but do I really need to observe a two minute silence? In Aberystwyth? I mean, it's not even as if any of the nurses or doctors were Polish. They haven't even sent that many of their builders this far west yet.

But we couldn't not be silent, not after being told off by the nurse. So I sat in a rather embarrassed non-talking way for a couple of minutes. Then Doctor Kontes got up, and told me to follow him through to the operating theatre. 

Or at least he would have done if the bossy nurse hadn't rushed in at the first sound of a voice and hissed 'It hasn't started yet!'

Finally, after what felt more like ten minutes than two, she let us proceed. I won't go into the details of the operation; suffice it to say it involved eyes and pain. I now have a patch taped to my head, and have taken to saying 'Arhh, Jim Lad' a lot. Tomorrow I can take the patch off, and then maybe I'll stop.

The Horse Doctor drove me home - you kind of take binocular vision for granted until you don't have it any more. Then we took Haggis and Mac for a walk. Most days, I can count the number of people I meet whilst strolling the dogs on the fingers of the hand of a very clumsy heavy machinery operator, but today the whole bloody village was out. And every single one of them took one look at my eye patch, across at the Horse Doctor, and then said 'What has she done to you?' 

I begin to understand why they pay the good comedians.

* which I may well be, but I've never tried looking into the family history on the American side.
** or another room the same size, but with a reclining chair in it.


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