I wasn't refusing the drops at all. If I had been, I'd have said something like this:
"Take away your evil pupil-dilating eye drops! No way are you putting those vile things anywhere near my eyes, thank you very much! NO NO NO! NO WAY AM I HAVING THE EYE DROPS! I REFUSE THEM!"
Instead of this, what I had said was,
"Last year when I had the eye drops, I fainted, so I'm not sure I should have them again, as I've been told it's a rare, but known reaction."
"I can't put all that on the form," said the nurse. "I've just got to tick this box. Refuses Drops."
They did the test without the drops that year. Then the following year they said they couldn't do it without the drops, in case I sued them for giving me a wrong result, so they sent me to the Eye Department of the big hospital instead, where I had the whole Refuses Drops palaver all over again.
Finally I didn't have the drops saw a consultant who said that my eyes were fine and didn't have diabetic retinopathy at all: but that as I got older it would be harder to see without putting the drops in. He seemed to think that I was planning this fainting lark with the sole intention of ruining his day.
This year when I rang to book the appointment I said that the eye drops make me faint, and that it's a rare but known reaction.
She sounded astonished. Flabbergasted. Completely confused as to what to do.
"So - - er - - are you happy to have the drops, then?"
"No, I'm not happy, because last time I had them I fainted and then I felt ill for hours. But they seem to think I need them, so that they can get a clear picture of my retina. What do you think I should do?"
I could hear her brain overloading.
"Errrr - - I don't know. Should I tick Refuses Drops on the form?"
"NO. Because I'm not refusing them. I simply want to discuss it with someone who knows about such things."
My appointment's on Wednesday. Already I know three important things:
1) Healthcare professionals are often very good at dealing with anything that they're used to, no matter how dramatic or how gory.
2) But they're often very bad indeed at dealing with anything that's out of the ordinary.
3) Any form that works only by tick-boxes has been designed by a thoughtless fool.
At the moment I'm inclined just to have the Evil Pupil-Dilating Drops, and to see what happens. At least then the doctors and nurses might understand what I've been going on about.