Once upon a time a frightened little girl sat on a hospital bed in a small side-room and cried. It was two days since she had seen her parents and knew many strange and difficult things would happen to her before she would see them again. What are you going to do to me, she asked. But in typical nineteen sixties style, a stern nurse told her she was a child and wouldn't understand. Don't cry. Be brave. It'll all be over soon.
How was that supposed to help? She cried more. But this time the nurse was angry and told her to stop right now. We're busy and don't have time to deal with your hysterics. So she stopped, and eventually she was wheeled away to theatre; still afraid, still unknowing.
Almost fifty years later I must face surgery. Today I cannot stop her tears.