MY mate Kev drove me to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for my cataract operation.
“The Day Surgery Unit is on the lower level through the South Drive entrance,” I told him.
He took the correct turn and dropped me at a ramp.
“It’s up there,” he said.
I squinted in the sun but couldn’t read the signs. I walked up the ramp and into a reception area.
“I’ve come about my eyes,” I said.
“This is an the Ante-Natal Clinic,” said the receptionist.
I found the Day Surgery next door as Kev drove away laughing. I’ll get him back at play time.
It had a pleasant waiting room with big comfortable sofas and helpful staff. A nurse called Alison took details and checked my age. “Are you really that old? You look ace.” Which set me up for anything.
Another nurse put a pill in my eye – all right, it wasn’t a very large pill – that dilated the pupil making me look like half a vampire. She also stuck a piece of tape above the afflicted right eye on which was the letter R. It was a bit like Jimmy Cricket marking his Wellington boots with an L and an R. Was the surgeon Irish?
Actually, he was a very nice chap called Keith Davey who had successfully operated on a friend of mine. He had that reassuring aura about him that persuaded people to lay down while he poked them in their ocular organ.
Then there was nothing to do but sit and read my book until called for surgery.
It was only as I was taken into the operating theatre that I became nervous. I needn’t have been.
I lay on the operating table and a gruff-voiced male nurse sat next to me and said: “I’m going to hold your hand.” Which I thought was a bit forward. I mean, I hardly knew him. “If you think you are going to sneeze or cough, squeeze my hand.”
Which made sense. You didn’t want any kind of sudden motion during such delicate surgery.
My face and upper body were covered in an operating sheet so that only my right eye was exposed and clipped open and various drops were dripped in, including an anaesthetic.
“You’ll see a bright light,” said Mr Davey. “Just concentrate on that.” And I did.
About 15 minutes later it was all done.
I was taken to the recovery room for a cup of tea and to collect medication and then I was free to go. In sunglasses, of course. Very rock star, I thought.
My daughter Siobhan disagreed.
“It looks as if you’re on your way into court for something horrible. Someone should throw a blanket over your head.”
Not when I’ve just got my sight back!