More New Normal by Eileen Padmore


I have just had cataract surgery to my right eye (other to follow soon) and it's lit up another aspect of new normal.

Dialling back, I was amazed to get the hospital appointment through less than a week after referral, with surgery a couple of months later. Good to know parts of the NHS are functioning efficiently post-Covid.

Now I have one sided new normal vision and understand why there were so many 'domestics' about colour! The 'new' eye is seeing light and shade with long forgotten vibrancy – as if a dingy filter had been removed. I even made the mistake of putting drops in the untreated eye because that felt like the poorly one!

Dialling back further to memories as a student nurse in the sixties, the post-op regime for cataract surgery under general anaesthesia was flat on your back for ten days with bedpans and bandaged eyes. No wonder folks waited til eyes were really bad!

Even ten to fifteen years ago, when I supported the trip four times for elderly parents, the experience was different. Prepped with a lignocaine injection to the back of the eye, the day case process took longer. There were about nine cases per list compared with twenty-six now (I'm told). Apparently some ophthalmologists have the procedure down to six minutes per eye and the replacement lenses are improving all the time.

What has this got to do with writing, reading or Christianity I can hear some of you asking if you've got this far. Only that I feel it's worth writing about. Also, remember Patrick Bronte, Charlotte's father? Difficult to imagine how primitive the groundbreaking surgery was in 1946! But accompanying her father through days of darkness and recuperation gave Charlotte the opportunity to start her first novel. A productive, if enforced, lockdown!

With both eyes done and new specs, no doubt reading, writing and staring at computer screens will be easier.

My surgeon was a complete stranger to me, unless you count a two minute pre-op conversation as making an acquaintance?

The faster through-put means less personal contact with those to whom you are making yourself vulnerable. Lying prostrate on the theatre table I wished it had been possible to get the name of my operator and browse through online reviews before placing such trust in him!

Two powerful strains of consciousness took over whilst weird things were happening above. I was aware of a substantial cushion underneath made up of the well wishes and prayers of my friends, which freed me up to experience an overwhelming spirit of gratitude that such a procedure should be available to me. As my mind's eye revisited TV clips depicting children in far places unable to access even the most basic treatments, with resulting blindness – I knew myself to be incredibly blessed.

So much to be thankful for in the New Normal. Must remember not to take it for granted and give generously to help others.

Eileen Padmore retired some time ago from health care and academia with a vow to
indulge in writing more  creatively and less academically. Her background in Africa, Eire,

Northern Ireland (in the troubles) as well as inner city Birmingham and Leeds provides

plenty of copy. She has had articles published by Woman Alive, Christian Writer and
contributed to the popular ACW Lent book. 

Eileen operates a dynamic prayer shawl ministry under the name of Tabitha. You can read

    all about it here.

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