Eyeless in Glasgow *

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At least for 20 minutes, as a surgeon hoovered out the cataracted lens of my right eye and popped in a shiny, new, artificial jobby, which should last a lifetime. They use local anaesthetic for these procedures, so I experienced it as someone excavating the moon, which also happened to be my eye. Fortunately, a nurse held my hand throughout the procedure, to squeeze if I needed to cough or sneeze. Immobility being quite critical. More than that, it’s wonderfully comforting to have someone holding your hand when something like this is going on, and you’re completely aware it’s happening.

That was yesterday, at the New Victoria Hospital in Glasgow. I stayed overnight, not having someone to travel back with. I’m gobsmacked at just how good the National Health Service is at providing efficient, thorough, humane care, as a right to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. There are well-publicised lapses, of course, but most of the time it seems they quietly get on with doing something understated and quite brilliant.

Leaving this morning, I felt utterly happy just to be alive, a mote of humanity among all the others on the bus into the city centre. I could see with a new mind’s eye that was part and parcel of the new depth vision I’ve never had before without glasses. It will take a while for the left and right eyes to balance properly, and for the new lens to heal so I don’t feel there’s a piece of grit there. Plus I really can give someone the Evil bloodshot Eye. But it’s great not to have to wear glasses. I wonder how many years I’ve spent since the age of 11, pushing them back onto the bridge of my nose, a feature clearly not designed for glasses.

This last month or so has been horrible, a slide down a slope, scrabbling for a handhold, then climbing up and falling down again. Snakes and Ladders is the game of life. It feels now that I’ve reached somewhere level, can see where I am, and enjoy the place and its people. Gratitude for the fact of being alive is something I’m not familiar with.

I’ll stop now before you start reaching for your sick bags. Suffice it to say that I’m aiming for daily posts and will backfill. And I will get to your comments and blogs again.

Eyeless in Gaza When I deliberately mangled the quote for the sake of a catchy title, I had no idea what it meant. Here’s an Eighties band of the same name, who seem worth investigating. But then, everything pleases me right now,