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Team 21: Merry Raymond – In Safe Hands

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So, having decided to take part in the Optical Express Team 21 project, the first step is to go for a consultation with the Optometrist.

This in itself was going to be a bit of a mission as the centre is in Cambridge and I needed Merry to drive me back as the examination leaves your sight blurred and sensitive to light for a few hours; fitting that in around getting the kids to their various destinations at the start and end of the day and continuing the search to replace two members of staff at work could have been a problem but luckily Optical Express were able to schedule the appointment for the same day that we already had to take Daughter #1 to an outpatients appointment at Addenbrooks.

In practice, this still meant Merry being in two places at once if she was going to pick me up from the centre of Cambridge, so we decided I would take the bus there and back to Addenbrookes; this would have been straightforward if I had (a) known Cambridge and its bus routes and (b) been able to see, but as I was anticipating neither of these I went into town early and walked the route to and from the clinic to the bus stop four times so I knew I could do it with my eyes shut, which got me a few funny looks from the Big Issue seller.

This will sound strange but until I actually arrived for the consultation I hadn’t really thought much about the practicalities of having laser eye surgery. I guess because I had been some way down the process before and because this opportunity had come up so suddenly out of the blue, it was only when I was sat there waiting to see the Optometrist that I began thinking: we are about to start the busiest six weeks of the year at work, with two of our three staff about to leave, and I’m considering having eye surgery, which is going to put me off work for how long?!

The consultation itself took around an hour and a half and had all the elements of a standard eye test but with a few extra bits plus a really clear and detailed discussion around the procedure itself.

The optometrist talked me through how long it takes to recover, what complications could potentially arise and how those would be managed. I guess like everyone my first question was ‘what could go wrong?’, followed swiftly by ‘what are the chances of that?’; and this is where they do a great job of talking you through all the potential complications in a very clear way, leaving me with every confidence that I was in safe hands.

The thing that really struck me and I’m still not sure I believe it, is that recovery from the procedure I will be undergoing (LASIK) is so quick these days that they expect your vision to be almost corrected within hours and for you to be able to go back to work within a couple of days, if not the following day. As I sit here writing this and take off my glasses and look at a blurry world around me, this doesn’t seem possible, and I guess it is this that makes this whole process slightly unbelievable.

So, having completed the consultation and been approved for the procedure and having got the answers to all my questions, as well as to all the questions I forgot to ask, I’m all set to go ahead with the surgery in a few weeks’ time. Funnily enough, the blurred vision was nothing like as bad as I remembered from last time and I was able to find the bus with no trouble at all …

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