Chepstow

The Senses

THE WORLD RE-OPENS by Liz Woods

Emily lay quietly in bed, listening to the cacophony of sounds floating through the ward. Voices- some quiet, some agitated; harsh metallic sounds; wheels turning on trolleys. Footsteps drew nearer. “Good morning Nurse Endall,” Emily called.

“You amaze me,” the nurse said as she arrived at Emily's bed. “How on earth do you know when it is me?”

“Well some people just plod, some shuffle but you have a sort of lilt to your step.”

“Are you feeling alright today – not too tense I hope? Please remember this. When your bandage comes off , don't despair if you still can't see. Dr Brennar is a brilliant eye specialist and he will continue to work with you until your eyes recover. He is very optimistic about the final result.”

The nurse helped Emily into the wheelchair and started pushing her through the ward. Emily was aware they were going in a different direction to usual. The nurse pushed the wheelchair through some doors and suddenly Emily was overwhelmed by a rush of warm air that swept over her. She could smell clean, sweet air, full of gentle aromas of nature. The air seemed to creep over her face and her hands, awakening a minefield of memories.

“Nurse, I'm outside!! Oh, it's amazing. Oh the bliss of real air!”

Emily raised her hands through the air, feeling the gentle warmth removing the antiseptic ward smells. “Where am I?”

The nurse took Emily's hand and explained. “You are on a balcony that overlooks the hospital grounds. I discussed it with Dr Brennar and he agreed it would be lovely to remove your bandage here, rather than in the ward.”

Emily was aware there were now other people present.

“Good morning, my love,” said her mum,gently stoking her hand. She could smell the presence of her father as well and he hugged her.
More footsteps.

“Good morning to you all,” said the doctor. “Now Emily, I am going to remove your bandage but do not try to open your eyes as Nurse Endall will need to wipe them with an antiseptic wipe. Don't despair if you still can't see. I will eventually sort it out. Your eyes will still be very swollen and it will take several weeks for them to calm down. Your mum has brought dark glasses for you to wear so that they can be protected.”

Everybody seemed to be holding their breath. The nurse cut the bandage off and gently wiped the eyes. “Now try,” said the doctor.

Emily was shaking and took several deep breaths to try and calm herself. She moved her eyelids a tiny bit, and then a bit more......and suddenly she gasped.

“Oh my god, I can see the sky ….it's blue.....it's beautiful..... look at the top of those trees.... look at their colour!” Her eyes started to fill with tears.

“Don't cry,” said the doctor, “or it will sting your eyes.”

“Right, no tears I promise.”

Emily looked towards her beloved parents who were desperately trying to conceal their tears and then at the doctor and nurse. “How can I ever thank you. I will never forget you. You have no idea what it means, to be able to see again.”

She turned again to look at the view from the balcony. “You just don't appreciate what it is to be able to see until you can't. I will never take my eyesight for granted again. Just look at that plane, soaring up into the sky. That's just what I feel like – my life is taking off again.”

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