On Monday morning I experienced

a flashing in my right eye. I am very short sighted and every time I go to the optician he says ‘if you experience any flashing, go to the A&E department of Moorfields (my nearest eye hospital)’ – being short sighted makes one prone to this problem which can be quite serious.

When the flashing occurred, I looked up Moorfields A&E department on its website and it told me that they were only for eye-threatening conditions. As I didn’t feel I was about to lose my right eye, I thought I better go to the optician instead.

I went there and a space was very kindly made for me in a full schedule to see the optician on Wednesday at 10:25am – yesterday, as I write this post.

So, yesterday, I went for the appointment. The optician – I should say optometrist – looked into my eyes and could see nothing wrong. After the examination, he told me that from the way I described my symptoms, I might have had a visual migraine but advised me to go to Moorfields for a fuller check.

I could have left it until another day but as I am sure you can appreciate, when it comes to medical matters, the sooner one knows what’s up the better.

I arrived at Moorfields at around eleven thirty AM and was there until somewhere past four o’clock. God bless our NHS but it moves slowly sometimes.

Yes, there were plenty of out-patients there, but after I arrived in A&E I had to sit over here with a ticket and an immigration form to be completed. Here wasn’t so bad as after a short while, my my number was called. The person took the form and asked me to now sit over there. Actually, there wasn’t too bad, either; when my name was called, though, I was simply taken to a different waiting room. I remained there for somewhat longer before my name was called again, and a nurse took me away.

Hurray! Now, we’re moving. Kind of. She did a couple of preliminary checks on my eyes before taking me back to the waiting room. Now, the longest wait. Finally, the doctor called me and the proper examination began. Before it ended, I had to go to the imaging department on the lower ground floor to get a scan of the back of my eyes taken. Yes, I got lost on the way there and back.

Finally 2.0. I managed to locate one of the waiting rooms I had previously been in and spoke to a nurse who – despite my woeful description of him – found the doctor for me. Not long later, he arrived and we looked at the scans. The good news is that he could not see anything wrong with my eyes. The awkward news is that the flashing could happen at any time. And if it does, I should go see my optician (said the doctor)/A&E (said the optician).

Ordinarily, this would not be a problem but what about the Camino? I asked the doctor what I should do in France/Spain?

I must be honest and say that I was really hoping he would tell me it would be fine to wait until I came home; but, no; he said I should go straight to an eye hospital and ask to see a doctor.

If you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it but I hope, hope, hope nothing happens because I speak too little Spanish. I guess I just have to hope that if it does happen, someone at the hospital speaks English.

About The Immigration Form…

Being British, I had no concerns when filling out the form. I even had some fun with it. The declaration invited either the patient, or the person completing the form on their behalf, to sign it. If you were the latter, you had to give the patient’s name. Of course, I should have ignored the question but I couldn’t help myself. I answered On behalf of (if not patient) by replying ‘myself’. The next question asked, Relationship to the patient (if not completed by patient). I wrote ‘I am me’.

There was a report recently that the Home Office had ‘rejected an Iranian asylum seeker’s claim because he said that Christianity was a peaceful religion’ (see here). In their refusal letter, the H.O. officer had select-quoted passages from the Bible to demonstrate this. Given their religious illiteracy, I reckon I could have written ‘I am who I am’ on the form and got away with it.

More seriously, asking someone to prove their immigration status while they are in a hospital is a fiendish thing to do and the government should be ashamed of itself.

  • While writing this post, I found this on the immigration form that I had to complete. You can bet I signed the petition even if it is two years old
  • If you would like to see the immigration form I completed, click here and scroll down to Pre-Attendance Form. The web page is for the Worcestershire NHS but the form looks just the same