80 year old expert on Formula 1

I went to Bath today for a monthly checkup for my wet macular problem in my left eye. It was just over a year since I had my first eye injection.  I remember going into an optician for a standard eye test and she offered an extra private procedure which would examine the eye in greater detail. I thought, why not? We might as well be thorough. The optician looked at me with a worried face and the next thing I knew, the she was on the phone to Bath Hospital (RUH) and the next day I was having my eyes examined.

Wet macular eye disease makes the centre of the eye a little bit like corrugated iron and you cannot see detail to the front of you that the peripheral vision is not affected. There is treatment available on the NHS free of charge whereas 10 years ago, the cost of having a shot was about £800.

I gently reminded a rather impatient and grumbling man waiting in the queue for another appointment that this service was free so if he did not wish to wait 10 min, he could go privately which would probably cost him for the whole session about £1,250. He was strangely silent at this point but continued to mutter.

Whilst I was waiting for my initial examination and old lady down sat down next to me and started reading a book. I passed the time of day with her and we chatted on various things including the outrage in London, some so-called terrorist thing, and we agreed you need a sense of humour to survive these days. She had apparently travelled from Trowbridge.

The topic turned to TV and she revealed that she was a Formula One addict. I said I thought that Lewis Hamilton will probably win the championship again. She actually sniffed and said that he is too much up himself and does not have a sense of humour and tries to explain away his failures blaming others rather than himself. She thought that Max Verstappen, 18 or 19 years old as she said, had ‘no fear and just overtook people’. Nico Rosenberg retired just at the right time after he had won the championships to spend more time with his family.

She went on in great detail and knew more than I did. I asked her if she got up early to watch when the time difference was appropriate in she said she tried to but if she did not manage it she watched the programme at her daughters and the children were under threat not to reveal the winners were. While she spoke, she was very animated, as much as I’ve ever seen with motor racing fans. Her liveliness made my day, and that liveliness was compounded by the fact that I did not need another injection because my eye had stabilised. I was instructed to drink volumes of water at least 2 L a day. I don’t enjoy drinking water very much so she said I could flavour it with lemon or orange which I immediately agreed to.

I went off to celebrate and had a completely unhealthy black forest gateaux and coffee in Cafe Valerie in Bath.

Whilst on hospital matters, I have been given the title of ‘Patient Representative for Southmead Major Trauma Centre’. I showed an interest in patient liaison when I was in the hospital back in October. I offered my services to one of the trauma team and it was accepted with alacrity. I thought lots of people would offer but apparently not. It is perhaps seen as the short straw but I think such interfaces are very interesting. I had attended a convention in January where people involved in trauma were invited and gave a short talk and that seemed to go down fairly well.

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