Friday, May 15, 2020

The eyes have it, plus a woman from Orkney stretches the truth

Every four to six weeks for the past three years I have traveled (British, travelled) to a nearby town to receive an injection in my right eye for treatment of the wet version of age-related macular degeneration. There is also a dry version, which I have in my left eye, and it is treated by taking a pill orally every morning and every night. There is currently no real cure for either type of macular degeneration, but I can report that my left eye is definitely a happier camper than my right eye.

The doctor who does the injections has now tried four different medications. The first was Avastin (bevucizumab), the second was Lucentis (ranibizumab), the third was Eylea (aflibercept), and the fourth one is Beovu (brolucizumab).

Isn't reading other people's blogs educational?

A lot of patients receive treatments there, which involve a lot of preliminary sitting around in not one but two waiting rooms (the second one is called the dilation room) and sometimes people talk to one another. Sometimes they don't, but that wouldn't make for an interesting post.

Last month an old man in the dilation room was talking with an old woman who spoke with an accent I couldn't place. After he was called in for his turn I asked the woman where she was from originally. She said "Scotland" and I was surprised that I hadn't recognized it. She explained that she had married an American and moved here more than 50 years ago.

Ever the chatty one, I said that I had two friends from Scotland, one from the town of Auchtermuchty and one from near Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. (Note to readers: You know who you are.)

She said she had never heard of Auchtermuchty.

I mentioned that my dad's mother always said our family was descended from the Hydes of Scotland. The woman said "Who?"

It turns out she wasn't a phony Scot, she was only a bit deaf. She did finally recognize the name after I said it again, louder.

Not willing to give up without a fight, I also mentioned that my dad used to say "It's a bra brit moonlit nit to-nit" and the woman, who was growing more semi-sour by the moment, said, "We didn't talk like that in the part of Scotland where I lived." Then she said, "Actually I am not from the mainland of Scotland, I'm from the Orkney Islands." In other words, to use a phrase from poker, I'll see your Outer Hebrides and raise you an Orkney.

I, not being familiar with the Orkney Islands -- yes, Virginia, there are a few things rhymeswithplague doesn't know -- asked where they were located. She said, and this astounded me when I got home later and looked at a map, "between Norway and Iceland."

It seemed to me that she was intent on disavowing any connection to Scotland at all. I could be wrong of course. Maybe she was just the anti-social type. My map check revealed that the island in the Orkney archipelago that is closest to mainland Scotland is only 10 miles off the coast. Norway is several hundred miles to the east and Iceland is several hundred miles to the northwest.

There are other island groups about which it can more truly be said that they are between Norway and Iceland. One set is the Shetland Islands and one set is the Faroe Islands. But the Orkneys? That's a stretch.

Maybe the woman from the Orkney Islands was just bad at georgraphy.


  1. Not heard of Auchtermuchty, this is terrible. Ask her if she has heard of Tannochbrae? It is a fictional town in a TV drama called Dr Finlay's Casebook. Some of it was filmed in Auchtermuchty but most of it in Callander. I think the first few episodes were shot in Milngavie but she wouldn't recognise that either unless you pronounce it properly as MULGI.

  2. I have a dear friend from Stirling. I love to hear her talk.

  3. She sounds like a grouch.
    I would love to visit Scotland someday.
    My mom's family came from Clackmannanshire many many years ago.

    1. Kathy I flew over Scotland in a commercial jet at a very high altitude on February 1st, 1969, on my way from New York to Copenhagen airport and all I saw from my plane window was snow=covered hills. I would love to visit there too someday at ground level and during a different season.

  4. Oh sorry about your eyes. Do hope the medicine is helping. I think it would give me the Willie's to have an injection in my eyes. Is it very painful?

    1. Kathy, the medicine is intended to slow or halt the deterioration of one's eyesight. I hope it works. The injections would probably be painful if the good people there didn't put several "numbing drops" in my eye first. All I feel is a little pressure when the needle goes in.

  5. some people just become grumpy as they age! and i dont think well of t hem but i must admit i can see how it happens

    1. kylie, I think grumpiness is sometimes really just impatience with other people.

  6. In typical, RWP, fashion I shall just gently remind you that the spelling is Stornoway. Actually I have never lived in the town but 7 miles away. That may sound nothing to you but it means a lot here. People will say you are an incomer if you move in from the next township.

    Orcadians are fiercely protective of their individuality. They are, of course, Scottish but, in my experience, will usually say they are Orcadians first and British (not Scottish) second. Their accent is not a Scots accent. Just as people in the Western Isles/Outer Hebrides do not have a traditional Scottish accent.

    If you ask a Shetlander where the nearest railway station is he/she will say "Bergen".

  7. Graham, I do apologise (even using your spelling) for once again misspelling Stornoway as Stornaway. To my credit, I did not say this time that you lived in Stornaway, sorry, Stornoway, only that you lived near Stornoway. I consider that a slight improvement but I shall strive to be accurate henceforth. And I do understand about the 7 miles; I will elaborate in my next post.

    It is very interesting what you say about Orcadians. It is almost as if you knew the woman I met.


I will be laboring (<i>British,</i> labouring) under a handicap for the next couple of weeks (<i>British,</i> fortnight)

More about that below. First, though, I want to add an addendum (what else would you do with an addendum?) to my previous post about phone...