Amanda, Bolton.

I attended a routine eye-test and saw a locum who noticed something in the corner of my eye.

It concerned me as I‘ve worn glasses since I was just two (I still remember being told off for ‘hiding’ my spectacles in the dustbin, which I only remembered as the refuse truck drove away) in fairness I was only four; maybe dad’s toolbox would have been a better option.

How it all started

At the age of two I fell out of my high chair and developed a divergent squint in my left eye which meant numerous visits to opticians, doctors, and so on. As a child I had to wear an eye patch and look through the dot to supposedly strengthen the weakened muscle.

I grew up, quite frustrated and ashamed of my left eye squint. I tried everything – grew my fringe to disguise it, but people can be cruel and I was teased mercilessly, and that often cut me deep as I was (am) quite an empathic caring natured person.

I had corrective squint surgery in my twenties which was brilliant. Over several years it loosened and in my late thirties I returned and had the surgery again with the same surgeon (God bless him).

Doctors found a growth

Ten years passed and in a general eye test an ambiguous dark growth had appeared in the corner of my left eye on the fleshy part near the tear duct. Referral documentation was processed and my appointment came with a lady doctor at the Royal Bolton hospital in Farnworth, Bolton. She placed my head with a frame and using magnifying equipment, explored the offending growth. I’m sure she took twice as long as she should have done, as she was determined to do her absolute best.

Once finished, we sat at her desk and she said: ‘I’m not sure what it is – so I’d rather be safe than sorry – You have a decision to make; I can refer to XXXX which is much closer, OR I can refer you to Sheffield who have an outstanding success rate with eye surgery’.

I went blank. I think I started to cry. But she was amazing. She leant in with a warm caring smile and said ‘You will have the best treatment available’.

I was really scared but felt reassured that this lady genuinely cared about ‘me’.

Then came the operation

I attended Sheffield within a few weeks. I had a consultation first, then returned, stayed overnight in their accommodation, and had surgery, where they delicately cut away the tiny growth. They were ALL wonderful. Not one complaint against anyone or anything.

I returned home and later sent the surgeon, the staff, and my local hospital doctor each a thank you card for the wonderful care I had been given. Ten days later the hospital rang me to say the growth was benign and everything had been removed safely and the true origin was probably just a rogue freckle.

Moving forward

Either way – the NHS doctors and collective staff have helped look after my eyes for the majority of my life (and I’ll be 50 this Christmas Day).

I am now (almost) a qualified counsellor and I volunteer in an NHS supported counselling service – not only as part of my course, but also to ‘give back’ and show my appreciation.

Keeping Britain Healthy is a campaign launched by HCL Workforce Solutions. Its purpose is to celebrate the NHS and everyone who supports it. This includes doctors, nurses, social workers, healthcare professionals and administrative staff.

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