Yesterday I took my son Julio to the oculist. He’d been complaining of headaches and seeing funny things. I thought it was probably just that he needed new glasses, but we both thought it was best to get it checked out properly.

Why do they give people an appointment for 3:45 if they’re not going to see you until 4:30? and then after the briefest look he said that Julio needed much stronger glasses, but to get it just right he needed to dilate the pupils. So we went back out to reception where they put stingy drops in his eyes, and said we had to wait 20 minutes for it to take effect. Julio was already very bored, so we popped out to a bar. (Julio wanted to go to a games arcade because he hasn’t for some time, but I insisted that there wasn’t time.)

We got back on time. And then we waited another 20 minutes. And then the doctor saw Julio again, and said that his prescription had more than doubled. In fact the difference was so great that if we gave Julio his new prescription, he’d feel sick and dizzy. So he recommended a change now (he wrote it down) and the rest in three months. Then he had a good conversation with Julio about Pokemon and we left. Fifty euros please.

Julio couldn’t see too well with his pupils dilated. I was very glad it was cloudy. I thought we’d better get the new glasses ordered straight away, so we went to the opticians. They said they had the lenses in stock and could fit them in about 20 minutes. Please to come back then.

So Julio got his trip to the games arcade. Although when we got there, half of it had been converted to a cyber-cafe, and most of the rest was bust. But we had two good games of table football.

Then we went back for the glasses (22 euros please – not nearly as bad as I’d feared). Julio still had his pupils very dilated (or as he said, diluted!) and with the new glasses he kept saying it felt like he was a head or more taller.

This morning Julio’s pupils were still dilated (or even diluted) but he could read the back of a cereal packet so I sent him to school.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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