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Monday, October 12, 2009

I saved somebody's sight today. No, really. Halfway through my clinic this morning, I spotted a lot more than just a twinkle in the eye of a young female patient of mine. She was only in her thirties, with good vision, and at first glance her retinas looked fairly innocuous. But upon closer inspection I spotted something I was concerned about, and the more I looked, the more I felt it was serious.

As a trainee, I'm not yet allowed to grade retinal photos on my own, so I looked up the rota to see which of my colleagues were in the office today, and promptly e-mailed them with the details. Ten minutes later they'd looked at the photos I'd taken; within twenty they'd agreed with my diagnosis, and half an hour after seeing her, the lady was being urgently referred to the Sussex Eye Hospital. If I hadn't spotted what I did, her photos would have sat in the grading queue for up to four weeks. By which time she could have been blind. So even if I do nothing else in my career (which is a distinct possibility), I've made a life-changing difference to someone. I should probably ask for a pay rise. Or a free case of Tamiflu.

But moving on to more important news, I've always known that at some point in Amelie's life, good-looking young men would set her world alight with flowers and chocolate. I just didn't expect it to be at twelve months old. And with a musical cake slice...

Mind you, I don't think she's the only girl in their lives. There's a photo of Dolly Parton in the background.

Anyhoo, we spent yesterday afternoon with Amelie's adopted uncles, Stefan and Andrew. If you're wondering why you've never heard of them before, it's because I used to refer to them as S & A. Fortunately I've now worked out how to spell their names. Saturday was spent with my parents (Mr & Mrs Gardner), who kindly agreed to accept more evacuees from my living room shelves in an attempt to save them from Amelie's bombing campaigns. Their loft is now so full of my stuff, there's barely any room for the woodworm.

The most marked difference between the two days was in the catering. My Mum served me low calorie ready meals, while Andrew fed me cake. I was going to work out how many Weight Watchers points were in the chocolate cream icing, but Lisa's calculator won't accept numbers that big.

Anyhoo, the good thing about Stefan and Andrew is that they're like a cross between Uncles and Sugar Daddies. Not only will they play with Amelie for hours on end while we nap on the sofa, but they're always buying her stuff. Admittedly most of it comes from Poundland, but that's beside the point. Where else can you get a plastic flower which ignites in a ball of flames before your very eyes, and then unfurls into a pretty flower with a candle on each petal, whilst playing the muzak version of Happy Birthday? It was a sight to behold. And well worth any lung damage we suffered by breathing in the toxic fumes from the unregulated Chinese factory which made it.

As if that wasn't enough, Amelie is now well and truly kitted out for Halloween. She may have outgrown her glitzy witch outfit, but thanks to some shrewd shopping in the pound shops of Eastbourne, she now has the same costume in a bigger size, plus a pointy hat, a green wig and a broom that's taller than she is. The broom is a particular bargain, as she can use it all year round. Stefan kindly offered to model the wig, which resulted in Amelie bursting into tears the moment he put it on. Either it was very scary, or she was upset that he'd worn it without her permission.

On top of all that, Amelie received a coat from H & M which is so nice, I feel like having three more kids just to make use of it. I'll run that idea past Lisa later. And then there was the cuddly dog in the furry kennel. Frankly we came away from their flat looking like we'd been on the Generation Game. If we carry on like this, my parents are going to need a second loft.