Wallace and Grommets

My new lower prescription specs arrived in the post and got their first outing at Croydon University hospital. The intention is for my eyes to level out a little and to reduce the dominance of my right eye. It is also to restrict my constant habit of trying to focus all the time.

My specs firmly planted on my nose we set off; and for once a hospital visit was not all about me.

Our daughter has suffered from a loss of hearing over the last year or so and after months of suppressed comedy moments arising from her mishearing words, it was decided that grommmets were the answer.

With my new specs the world still looks faded like an old photograph, but now I cannot easily read the overhead signs, which up until today had leapt out of the haze with their crisp black and white lines. There is a more uniform fuzziness covering my visual field now. I can actually see less.

With my daughter safely deposited on her ward bed left curled around her Daddy like a cat replete in the knowledge she is centre of attention, I headed to the café with her bored little brother.

The little one found this particular outing to be highly engaging. Swinging his arms and with his jerky puppet walk he casually bumped into patients and visitors as he zigzagged down the corridor ahead of me. I noticed how his sense of special awareness is almost nonexistent, yet his smile is constant.

His attention flitted from one subject to another provoking a series of pertinent observations to spill out of his mouth before I had chance to intervene. Given his eye line is about waist height now there is an array of material for a 4 year old to comment on.

“She’s going to die soon Mummy.” He casually and loudly informed me over his shoulder, his finger pointing at an elderly lady in a gown. My horror was so sudden I couldn’t even mutter an apology to the woman, I just managed to usher him down the corridor only to then nearly bump headlong into a heavily pregnant woman. Unsure of what her prognosis might be, I violently wheeled us both down a side corridor towards the café, and out of harms way. Of course my sense of direction in my new glasses is worse than normal, even though I am familiar with the hospital layout. The fog that floats over my vision obliterates so much detail…

As I stood looking flummoxed the little one gently tugged my hand and pointed to another grey-filmed corridor. “Mummy, your eyes aren’t working today, the café’s down there!”

As I looked down at him I realised with a sigh that he was quite right.

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Patienth69

This is the real story of Patient h69. A gripping but compelling real-time account of one patient’s experience of suddenly going blind. There are personal accounts of going blind, but few if any, have reported the other side of the story – the rebirth of sight, and as a result, the impact of that on modern neuroscience.

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