I am typing this with a large bandage over my operated eye and will not know till later today if the operation has been successful but I have an intuitive feeling it will. Dr Daffers insisted on taking me to English’s for the pre-med. We had the grazing menu and, sitting alfresco in the sun, listening to a busking quartet banging out popular songs, it seemed a wise choice and preparation for the ordeal to come. I returned to base and had a snooze. I was woken by Polly, who let herself in and having read the medical letter, knew it was time for my first drops to be administered. This was repeated every 30 minutes. The taxi driver who recommended me Professoor Liu and taken a paternal interest thereafter took me to the hospital.
There an obese nurse took my blood pressure and heart reading. I waited in the typical hospital waiting rooms of basic furniture and execrable art till I was called. The professor was operating on four others and I was first up. I have had many operations in my life – at one stage I had 32 in 3 months – so I’m as relaxed in theatre as Alec Guinness, however this was my first under local aneasthetic.
I lay prostrate listening to classical music and for the third time asked my name and date of birth. The operating team were dressed in burgundy loose tunics and trousers and those blue head coverings that only surgical teams and fish fryers wear. A large loose cover is placed over the eye and the aneasthetic poured in, an intense light shone into the eye and the professor puts into a tool to suck out the cataract. I was not in any pain but it was bizarre procedure that lasted 15 minutes at most. Then he cleans the eye and inserts a lens. Throughout he was reassuring that I was doing well though I found it difficult to move the eye without moving the head.
Afterwards I was aware of a dull pain, but was able to walk unassisted. My driver took me home where the calm Polly awaited. I explained that I had to do my bit during the operation so Professor Liu ought to share his fee with me. Eventually the pain subsided and I felt less in discomforture. Working with one eye is not that easy but I did manage to light the candle called for my late father on which my brother wished to commemorate his passing in the Jewish calendar. Knowing my father, he would have preferred me to rest.