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ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

MACHETES, BOTTLE ROCKETS, LAWN DARTS and a HANGMANS NOOSE

An old Led Zep song starts out with the lyrics,
"IN THE DAYS OF MY YOUTH I WAS TOLD WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MAN..."
and continues
"GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES, YOU KNOW I'VE HAD MY SHARE..."

As a boy, I was a constant source of worry for my poor mother. I was an adrenaline junkie. Always questing for the next dose, with absolutely no regard for the outcome, as it pertained to me. For reasons I can't explain, I loved to play with the things I was warned not to mess with. And on several occasions those unheeded warnings cost me dearly. One specific warning was over my affection for fire works, bottle rockets, specifically. Unlike many of the boys I grew up with, I didn't smoke cigarettes. But I did use cigarettes. I would hold a lit one in my mouth and use it to light the fuse on a cherry bomb or an M-80 so I could launch them from my slingshot and achieve that most sought after effect, "THE LONG RANGE AIR BURST." I would also use the smokes to light the fuse on bottle rockets and throw them in the direction of opposing team members in a game we called "ROCKET WARS."

On July 5, 1968, 8 short weeks before my 16th birthday, I stepped out into my front yard with a box of matches, 1 Bel Air cigarette and 5 dozen bottle rockets. The first rocket launched perfectly, went approximately 50 feet up and disintegrated in a loud bang. I put the second rocket in the same hole in the ground as the first one and lit the fuse and stepped back to watch the launch. The fuse sputtered and hissed just like the previous one did. But the launch was a failure, a DUD. That thing cost me like 3cents and I was pissed about being ripped off. Cussing under my breath as I stepped up and leaned over to pull the rocket from the launch hole, the frigging thing took off and hit me squarely in my left eye, throwing me literally to the ground. The pain was blinding, and so was the rocket strike. I must have yelped in pain because my mom was at the door in a  flash. Covering my right eye and looking into the bright Carolina sun with my left eye, proved that I was indeed blinded by the hit. All I saw was a total blackness. The rocket had torn my iris at the top where it attaches to the white of my eye, leaving an opening in the shape of an arc that went from 10:00 - 2:00. The tear filled the interior of my eye with blood and that blocked light from striking my retina.
A CLASSIC DEFINITION OF THE WORD BLIND!

A quick ambulance ride to the Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune. Admitted to the ophthalmology ward for treatment. I don't recall the doctors name. But he told me there was a 10% chance, if I did exactly what he told me, that I would regain the sight in my left eye. He wrapped my eyes with white bandages and ordered me to lay flat on my back for 2 weeks to let the blood drain out of my eye. everything was going fine until i had to use the toilet. The corpsmen refused to let me up and brought me a bed pan instead. After using it once, I vowed to never do it again. And for the remainder of the two weeks I refused to eat anything. When the staff questioned my lack appetite, I told them I felt sick to my stomach and didn't feel like eating.

At the end of the 2 weeks, when the doctor removed the bandages, for the second time in my life, I could see with both eyes. But because of the extra hole in my eye, bright light was painful.  So I wore a pair of teardrop sunglasses during most of my waking hours. When school resumed in September, my first class I was told by one Mr.Daughtry, 
"no wearing sunglasses in his classroom without a note from a doctor."

His jaw dropped so hard, you'd think he got sucker punched, when I walked up and handed him my doctor's prescription giving me permission to wear sunglasses during all daylight hours. A plus for having been blinded . And my classmates believed I was a stoner because I wore shades constantly. There were even some rumors that I had blackmail evidence on some teacher, and that's why they let me wear my Raybans in class.

Fast forward 43 years to Wednesday 22 June 2011, at VA Hospital San Diego, Ca. One of the unexpected side effects of my chemotherapy is a complete cataract of my injured eye. For the second time in my life I was blind in my left eye, only this time laying on my back for a few weeks made no difference. Cataract surgery is not a laser procedure. It is an interocular operation that entails surgical removal and replacement of the clouded lens. But because my eye had a damaged iris (the mechanism that holds the lens in place) lens replacement was a bit more complex (ain't that just like me?). 
So, as the gurney crossed the O.R. threshold I prayed this little prayer:
Dr. KARIN THOMAS IS THE GREATEST EYE SURGEON THAT GOD EVER LET DRAW BREATH. AND IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM AND MERCY, HE HAS PLACED ME IN HER CARE...

2 HOURS LATER I LOOKED LIKE THIS


The pain was bearable but constant. It  felt like someone was pressing on my eyeball with a large thumb. After beating a four year morphine/vicodin jag, I definitely didn't want to start up on narcotics again. And for the third time in the short history of me, I can see with both eyes...

NEXT WEEK I GO IN TO HAVE THE STITCHES REMOVED FROM MY CORNEA.
DID YOU EVER SAY

"STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE?"

ME TOO...
SAY IT AGAIN... I DARE YOU!

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow Im so sorry ;)

Kelly Combs said...

You never do anything half way, do you friend? All or nothing! Woo.

I admire your fortitude. God bless you.

Ms. A said...

Oh, my. Hubby just had both his cataracts removed and had no problems, whatsoever. Thank God!

Blessings, KW!

Karen said...

Oooh Nooooo KURT!!!!....

I stepped barefoot on fireworks when I was a kid and had a burned bottom of my foot, thankfully that's as bad a whopping as I took from those things.

As if you haven't had enough crap to deal with. I'm sorry, this is a negative comment.. how about this instead...

You can SEE!! Woohooo!!!! The needle in the eye thing.. I got nothin.

Prayers coming your way for speedy and uncomplicated healing.

Marnie said...

You're a "go big or go home" kind of guy! Your mother must have been tired :0) I'm glad you are on the mend and feeling well. xo

MsDarkstar said...

Glad you can see again! Wishing you a speedy recovery and the doc wielding the needle a steady, skillful hand!

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

Wishing you well.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I hope you recover quickly and Big Ups to your surgeon!!

Renee said...

Ouch...ouch...ouch!I hope that you have a smooth recovery!!

Spockgirl said...

"Stick a needle in your eye."

Yup... Been there, done that. One was during my left eye Vitrectomy (eye sliced open, fluid sucked out) and the other was an injection of steroids... all before I turned 40. Oh... and I also had cataract surgery on my left eye as well.

After the Vitrectomy I was warned of severe pain... I felt nothing. But... there was to be no heavy lifting or jumping up and down, swimming or other strenuous activity for eight weeks.

Glad to hear your surgery went well and that you had great docs.

Spockgirl said...

Oops... "my" eye... not "your".

Susan Fourtané said...

Kurt,

Now I understand when you said this surgery was more complicated than others.

In between being speechless and a state of mind hard to describe, I wonder, once again, about humanity, the society created and manipulated by human beings (!) and some beings like you.

I don't feel the wisest person at the moment as I seem to have no words to say. I admire your strength.

Give some healing time to your eye. It will be just well. A strong eye will never let you down. But you will agree that it deserves to be treated nicely.

Healing thoughts your way.

-Susan

Indi said...

KP ~ " OUCH !" Springs to mind


Speedy recovery I hope


Indi

xx

Cocaine Princess said...

Wow. Awesomely written post. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

red.neck chic said...

Well crap! I'm cringing just THINKING about the needle in the eye... yikes!!!

I still say... eyepatch. I think you're just suave enough to carry one off... lends to that air of mystery...

I'm sending you all of my hugs and kisses...
xoxooxo
robelyn

Charlotte said...

You amaze me something. I'm sending you a great big hug and speedy recovery.

Blessings always, Charlotte

Katherine Jenkins said...

Hi Kurt-WOW! Amazing you can still see!!! Be thankful for that! I hope you have a SWIFT recovery!!!!!! Thinking of YOU!

UBERMOUTH said...

Bloody Hell, Kurt, you're truly like a cat with nine lives. NOTHING gets you down for long!

You've got some fighting spirit and some healing energy going on!

Be well. xoxoxox

Spiky Zora Jones said...

warrior man: when I was about 7 years old I once picked up a fire cracker (bigger than normal firecrackers) that I thought was a dud and it went off between two fingers...My ears rang for a few days and my fingers hurt a bit.

glad i didn't bring it up to my face to see what was wrong with it.

Hope you are well now mister.

later honey.

PS...never listen to that voice that says...pick it up. :)