On Your Marks..

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

On your marks, get set ...Go!

How many of us live life as though it is a competition or race?

Every other phase of my existence has certainly involved the pursuit of ambition, striving for excellence and the desire to win (especially in the conduct of the contested court hearings my career was built around).

I like to think retirement is different. Take Saturday for instance when divine retribution dictated that, as a natural consequence to the period of hot weather we had been enjoying, it would rain all day. Time, therefore, to pick up the paintbrushes and acrylic paint and check out my artistic side once more. Relaxation and enjoyment; life is not a battlefield, I told myself. 

Then, the unexpected happened. Mid brushstroke, a veil came down over my left eye and I was staring at the canvas through a mat of tangled cobwebs. I had just suffered a very sudden posterior vitreous detachment. It is a common eye complaint apparently, especially in the sixty plus age group, but it is certainly a little unnerving when it happens.

The NHS is always getting flack for its waiting times but, satisfied that my eyesight itself wasn't deteriorating, I waited until the Doctor's surgery opened on Monday morning when, and without an apppointment, I was seen within 15 minutes. I confessed that I had checked out my symptoms on Google; the doctor reassured me (!) that he does likewise and then referred me to  the Opthalmology Department at a local hospital with an appointment tomorrow morning. All of which seems so quick and contrary to what we constantly read about waiting times that it almost makes me fear there's an underlying and serious concern giving rise to the alacrity of attention.

Fortunately, I am comforted by the superduper eye test with full retinal imaging that I had only a couple of months ago, not to mention the eye examination that the doctor himself undertook. Mind he also got me to do an eye test looking at one of those charts pinned on the wall; one eye at a time and I was actually permitted to wear my varifocals. Can you believe it? Even with spectacles across my nose, good or bad eye, I still couldn't read those darned letters on the penultimate and final lines and how that has bugged me.

I guess it serves to demonstrate that retirement, as the saying goes, can take the woman out of the competition, but it never takes the competition out of the woman.


  1. Oh, that sounds such a scary thing to happen! I guess you've had your appointment by now? Super fast - sometimes the NHS works brilliantly. Hope a solution has been found?

    1. Apparently there is an increased risk of a retinal tear for a few weeks, so warned against any inverted yoga poses (standing on my head, now that would be a first) etc.. According to the ophthalmologist, everyone suffers the same after the age of 40, but not everyone experiences such obvious symptoms or gets them checked out if they do. Most disconcerting thing is the information leaflet was compiled in conjunction with the RNIB; brings home the reality and how precious eyesight is.

  2. The NHS is amazing if you are really ill. It is less good for standard stuff, where it is absolutely swamped by people demanding urgent treatment, (& prescriptions) for things that will often go away on their own, given a few days. Some years ago, my husband took seriously ill on Christmas night and needed to go to hospital immediately. The GP said he had attended about 10 calls that night, and my husband was the first person he had seen who needed urgent attention. Several had just been time-wasters, the others could easily have waited a couple of days. We are guilty of abusing an excellent service.

    1. You are so right and don't get me started on those people who boast that they went to A&E instead of a pharmacy or staying at home with a hot water bottle, because they couldn't get an appointment to see the doctor!


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