Monday, June 20, 2011

Turning a Blind Eye

    I was standing in the line at a friendly local business the other day, when I heard the most extraordinary thing.  There was a pretty long line of customers, of which I was at the back end, and while they were working the one woman behind the counter turned to the other and said, seemingly out of the blue, that her cousin had just seen for the first time in 43 years.  Or something like that.  It might have been 41.  But it doesn't really matter all that much at that point.
     Here is the back story that she related to me as I asked more questions about her comment.  When he was just a newborn infant, this lady's cousin (we shall call him Rob just for conveniences' sake) was the victim of some sort of mistake by his doctors.  They either gave him a shot or gave him bad shots or gave him the wrong combination of shots or something like that which rendered him blind in both eyes.  And his nose because your nose cannot see, it can only smell.  So it is supposed to be blind.  But the eyes are not and his were.  Until recently.
     See Rob is into his forties now, and somewhere along the way he put himself on the transplant list for some new peepers.  They just finally found a donor who was able to give him one, and this last Friday was the frist day after the transplant that the doctors let Rob take his bandages off.  I can't even begin to imagine the magitude of the event as that bandage was unwrapped, or the flood of emotions in the room as Rob saw his wife and children for the firt time in his life.  But I bet it was awesome.  Both awesome-good and awesome-awe inspriring.
     I have heard and read stories like this before, about people who are deaf getting implants that allow them to hear, and often they are frightened by what they are hearing for the first time.  Traffic, television, talking, air conditioners, fireworks, etc.  So that was the sort of frame of reference that I was coming from when I was thinking about someone seeing for the first time.  I guess though, that he had had some physical therapists and other therapists working with him for some time, so he sort of knew what to expect.  But it would just be wild to be in that situation.  To be seeing blue and green and flowers and sky and sunlight and shadows and doctors and nurses and your wide and your kids and your own face for the first time ever in the history of you life would just be a mind blowing experience.
     To sweeten the pot, he began his life with sight just in time for his daughter's wedding, so he will be able to see the daughter that he just saw for the first time walk down the isle, presumably for the first time also.  That throws the whole story into heart-wrencher category.  Instead of being just inspirational it is heart-wrenching in a good way.  Like it wrenches your heart back towards center after you've just watched all those depressing ASPCA ads.  Supposedy if his first transplant takes and there are no complications for a month, then they will do his other eye, which will be just as cool because he will have depth perceptions.  But I can't imagine that it will rival his first eye.  His first experience.  His first sight.

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