I had Cataract Surgery this morning upon my right eye, courtesy of the NHS. Previously I had been examined by the Consultant, been measured for a new Eye Lens by the latest and accurate equipment on the market (they do spend some cash on new toys, but not as much as they should), and after a six-odd week delay because I’d been bitten by Covid (Nasty, but not too serious), I was given the appointment for this morning.
I shall not go into the gory details, mainly because I was on the receiving end, and it was my eye; but I was duly impressed with the surgeon, the gear, the precision operating binoculars, the manner of the operating room staff, and the general smart attitude of the staff. They gave the impression of routine excellence, and an attention to detail which impressed me: and I don’t impress easily. As the the operation was done before on my left eye, I was able to compare the two, and the NHS came out on top, mainly because I was able to relax easily, whereas before I was wound tight as a drum.
But here’s the thing. When the operation is over, your eye is lightly padded, and then a hard cover is taped over the whole caboodle for your eye’s protection for the first day. You are also handed various types of eye drops, along with instructions on how to use them. As I had had one operation already, and knew how things went, I remembered that the most important thing to be kept to hand was a full roll of the adhesive tape which keeps the hard plastic cover in place; so I asked if I could have a roll of tape.
My small query was received with sheer amazement by the female flunky in nurse’s uniform. “What do you think this is, Sir, a free clinic? If we give a roll to you, we’ll have to give it to anyone. Just think of the expense! No, impossible!” was the reply.
I didn’t verbally blast her sideways, but only because I retain a modicum of how one should address women, but it was a close-run thing. Of course, I should have remembered that this was the NHS, and they operate in a parallel universe. I also recalled that, when operated before on my left eye, that was performed privately, at a fair expense to me. But I also recalled that, when being furnished with exactly the same eye-drops as this morning, I was handed a full roll of that same 3M tape with which to hold the plastic cover against my eye ; and that was handed to me without my asking for it, with the simple explanation: _
“You’ll need this for the hard cover, everyone uses it; no worries!”