Eyes are precious. Yes, I am as scared as the next person of being unable to breathe or dying in agony but I am so scared of losing my sight that I shrink from writing the word “blind.” God spare me this. Eye problems changed my daily prayer from “if it be Thy Will “ to “Please God take me before You Take my eyes”. So when the right eye went into spasm and the image I was watching on tv became more and more misshapen and (briefly) vanished, I did what you do when you don’t know what else to do: I went to bed.
The next morning I wrote through the blur
to Prof (my specialist) via his enormously likeable and capable practice manager whose initials are AA. I confirmed we had already been in touch (routine check, delayed of course), none of the tests were available and asked for help. (I spell this out because I regard learning to ask for help as one of my few conscious steps towards maturity). AA rang at 9.00 the next morning to book Prof, who spoke to me at 11.00, his most pragmatic and thoughtful self. He advised warm compresses to relax the eye and improve the blood flow, frequent use of eyebright and blinking more, a lot more – in fact, when in doubt, blink – all of which has been amazingly effective. Plus of course the psychological aspect of putting me back in charge of my own eye.
Reconciled with my flawed but functional peepers, I read a piece in the New York Review of Books about the Sahel – not a word I knew, I had to look it up. Turning the page, I noticed a note which said look up metmuseum.com for the exhibit so I did – gasped with pleasure – and learnt something: how much I had missed new things to look at, things to learn about (see Merlin in The Once and Future King).
I don’t miss most of the ghostly shops with their boarded up or empty windows though they look eerie as they are and their display was part of my visual background. I wonder how many will ever open again, how all that empty property will be used. Online purchase has been restricted to expensive face cream (my age, you know) which Wal found for less and cheap loppers (see below).
Though the QuoG (queen of gardeners) lives up the road, I am not she. For years I thought my fingers were purple and my touch toxic, but however wonderful her horticultural gifts, she cannot or will not communicate them. So, never a pruner, I tried and as the first attempt survives so far, I tried again, this time with an untrammelled laurel.
I cooked something different and bought the ingredients in different places. The first two servings were a cheering success, the third (different sources – no pun intended) less so – but it was new to me.
In common with a lot of other people, I went through files and cupboards, tearing up and throwing away. And like a lot of us, there were whole days that passed in a psychological monotone. We are not all buoyed up by online cocktails or “flexibility furlough” and as a friend put it “I am not depressed but this is depressing.”
I had to face the fact that, just because a film is old, it doesn’t follow that I want to watch it and have I turned off some rubbish !
A new friend posted me an old book I had always wanted to read, beautifully wrapped in tissue printed with Hokusai’s waves and a black and white postcard which said “I really want you to have this.” Birthday, Christmas and unexpected gift all rolled into one, her thought and the text.
And the sunshine, though very convenient for drying things and airing the rooms, showed up walls in need of a once over and even (I blush) a cobweb. I can only hope I spotted it before anybody else.
After a telephone call from someone who clearly believes in science as 15th century scholars believed in alchemy, has lockdown been eased too early ? I don’t know. And neither does anybody else. We’ll see. Just remember to wash your hands.