Like most men of my age I am continually receiving and ignoring messages suggesting it is time for my eyes, ears, nose, throat, heart, foot and mouth to be checked by various well-meaning specialists.
The urgent dispatches arrive in the post alongside the usual fliers regarding people who would like to buy my house, sell me a pizza or want my old clothes. The fliers I can deal with, the health checks less so as they come from people who you can trust and actually wish you well.
They are also full of grim warnings (if not warnings then definite hints, if not hints then between the lines) as to what horrors might befall you if you don't do what they suggest – and they have the scary figures to back them up.
I never cease to be surprised at how long I have lived given the many diseases, ailments, conditions and syndromes that are out there, just waiting to jump down my throat and pop my clogs. There is also a happy feeling that if they haven't got me by now, then I'm OK.
Also it has been my experience that there is very little the matter with you until you see a doctor who, by dint of lengthy training and a gold mine of experience, has the uncanny ability to spot all sorts of things you hadn't noticed or were able to live with, albeit with a limp, pain in the head, or inability to see large objects in front of you.
Funnily enough the most recent letter, from the opticians, coincided with my cracking my head on a kitchen cupboard door. It was quite a large door yet somehow I didn't notice it and smacked face-first into its unyielding mass.
It may have been the raging pain – which I bore with my usual silent screaming stoicism – that led me to behave abnormally, but for whatever reason it set me thinking I should get my eyes tested. And lo! The next day the opticians sent me a nice letter inviting me to come along for just such a useful exercise. It's as if they knew!
I made an appointment and off I went. The first thing they asked was when I last had my eyes tested. This was a bit of a poser but after a little computer checking they came up with the answer – four years ago.
I was getting ready to go when the nice lady said: "I'll get someone to help you downstairs." This sounded not good at all, in fact it was worrying. What had she found and was not telling me?
The nice lady obviously noticed the look on my face.
She smiled: "I meant I would get someone to help you choose some frames when you get downstairs!"
I was so relieved I nipped downstairs and paid several hundred pounds for swish frames to help me see better.