What a good job I finished this quilt for my new grandchild while I was still very, very short-sighted.
I used my shortsightedness to the maximum, sitting with the needle and thread almost touching my nose. It kept me occupied while I couldn't drive. I couldn't see in glare or low light levels, couldn't see as far as my feet (I'm tall) so that I fell over quite a bit, couldn't see unless there was really sharp contrast, couldn't distinguish colours.
This had been happening slowly over a long time, so I didn't realise how bad my sight had become until a few months ago when it suddenly deteriorated a great deal, leaving me in the gloom of an English winter.
Cataracts, slowly creeping and clouding both eyes, cutting out the light, distorting the vision.
But so insidiously.
Three days ago I had the first surgery on my worst eye. My optician referred me to a new Eye Hospital in Birmingham - this one . It does work for both the National Health Service and private patients, and there are several SpaMedica hospitals in the UK.
I was very squeamish about anything to do with eyes, especially my own. I couldn't talk about what was happening, what was likely to happen. I couldn't even think about it.
Please note the past tense
Had I been referred to a local hospital there would have been several months to wait for the assessment, and a great deal longer to wait for surgery, by which time I think I would have had little sight left. SpaMedica gave me appointments for an assessment in three weeks, and surgery six weeks after that.
Everything was explained so clearly and carefully, the web-site and booklets they produce were so informative, the people I met during assessment so friendly and positive that I was no longer gibbering about eye-balls
I came home and finished the quilt in semi-darkness. I fell over again in the garden, and tripped on an invisible obstruction on a busy pavement. The car was immobilised and my son came and took it for a ride the top up the battery. I told people what was happening and was able to describe the surgery to interested Granddaughter. The time went quickly.
Just three days ago I returned to SpaMedica. I was there for about four hours, much of the time being taken up with eye-drops. Then I had surgery which lasted fifteen minutes .I felt a very small amount of pressure, but nothing more than that. I saw bright light and a bit of swirling colour from under the plastic shroud over my face. Then I had a cup of tea and was brought back home with a party bag of eye-drops and sterile gauze.
Next morning my vision was blurred. By the next day it was blurred but brighter. On the third day.....WOW! My bedroom walls are bluish-white, not the sort of yellowish-beige I've lived with for a while. I had no idea my dressing gown was that colour. I could see the floor. I could see birds in the trees, neighbours in their gardens.
Outside I could see where the pavement ended and the road began - always a useful thing to know, but something that had eluded me in recent weeks. I could read car number plates.
I walked to the optician and had one lens removed from my spectacles. I have to keep the other lens for the untreated sepia eye. I booked my post-op examination, and I'm hoping for referral for the second eye as soon as possible.
Years ago patients were immobilised after cataract surgery, their heads fixed by sand-bags for weeks.
Today this procedure is one of the miracles of modern surgery, changing lives, restoring dignity and independence to those who could so easily lose it.
My most grateful thanks to all those involved in this process.
And I'm just waiting for someone to go under the quilt now.