Sunday, November 25, 2007

The eyes have it

Saturday was E-Day. In fact it was doubly so. It was Election Day, but it was also eye-test day.

Five years is a long time between visits to the optometrist for anyone, but for a diabetic that's definitely too long.

My problem is that I don't like my eyes being touched, and for a diabetic exam it's usual to put in eye drops to make the eyes easier to inspect. I have never been able to use eye drops; embarrassingly I often struggle if somebody is trying to use them on me.

After a couple of attempts, we manage to work around my problem by photographing the inside of my eyes, then inspecting close-up the parts that didn't show up well in the picture.
The verdict was no sign of diabetic retinopathy and my macular seemed to be OK. However I was overdue for new bi-focals.

Under the Australian health system, the eye test is free. However the spectacles are definitely not.

Have you ever noticed that in this sort of situation if you try and guess how much it will cost, you're always about 30% below the actual figure.

The girl behind the counter showed me a couple of different styles.
"This pair is lighter and would cost about $1100, while these aren't so lightweight but cost about $900."

"I'll take the latter," I said. This month I have to pay the rates, the phone bill and the power bill before I even start thinking about Christmas. $900 is a lot of money at the moment.

Meanwhile, back at the ballot box, the pollsters' predictions turned out to have been right on the mark. The entrenched conservative government led by John Howard was crushed by the swing to Kevin Rudd's ALP.

Both men made speeches on late-night television. Howard was gracious in defeat, while Rudd gave a long speech overflowing with platitudes and cliches.

My main source of disquiet with Kevin Rudd sounds a bit superficial. It's the way he looks; sometimes he feels like an android who's been programmed to play the part of a politician. If they ever do another live-action 'Thunderbirds' movie, I've go the man to play Brains.

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