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Half Blind

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve had medical eye problems since I was 21 years old.  Considering the fact that my family’s medical history reads like the annuls of the New England Journal Of Medicine, it’s a small cross to bear.  I have to put drops in my eyes every day.  I had cataracts removed at age 31. No big deal,really.  I have had bee stings that hurt worse than cataract surgery.  Last week, things were different.  Things had never been this cloudy before.  A quick trip to my eye doctor and it was determined that I would need to see a retina specialist because the inflammation was in the rear of the eye.  Again, no big deal.  I was expecting to get a shot in the back of the eye and go about my business.  Tuesday morning, I was hit with the news that my retina was 2/3 detached and it was getting worse.  7 hours later, I’m full of happy juice while the doctor cuts and ties, flattens and squeezes my eye back into shape.  Still no big deal, right?  Pain meds are good.  I will be fine.

The doctor comes in post op and explains that all went well but there is one problem.  Because of where the tear occurred, in order to have a chance of using my right eye again, I will need to keep my head down facing the floor with almost no break for one to two weeks.  This is a big deal.  You see until now, all the outcome was out of my hands.  I can promise you that after two and a half days of this, the complications from leaning forward far outweigh any post op pain or discomfort.  I don’t say this to garner sympathy (although I do like cookies) but rather to explore the comparison of this to our spiritual and mental responses to our condition.

Today, the technician in the office said that some people do not follow the doctor’s orders and their retina detaches days after the surgery.  Tanya could not believe that people would do that.  I can.  I have to purposely make the choice to do something that will cause back pain, neck strain and headaches for over a week.  I can make the pain go away simply by sitting up straight.  I have to choose.  My family has to put up with this big baby that is staring at the floor all day.  But if I just sit up, the pain will go away.  All it will cost me is a blind right eye for the rest of my life.

There was actually one moment where, based totally on current feelings, it was almost worth the cost of the vision to have relief from the pressure in my head.  But James said that to know what is good and to not do it is sin.  If I had given in to my weakness, I would regret it for the rest of my life.  I’m only 36, so I plan on it being around a long time.  My wife has been able to provide the decades long perspective when I’m stuck on the moment.

For the moment, my head is clear and this has made me think about how our life choices affect us and many times, and we do not realize it.  It’s nice to know the consequences.  Keep your head up and be half blind.  Life choices, however, are not usually so clear for us.  It is often said that we cannot choose our circumstances, only our response to them.  The clear lesson for me is that our choices matter.  My doctor could be the world’s expert on retinal reattachment but he cannot make me keep my head down.

We are quick to cry out to God when faced with something tough.   We want God to make life be like a McDonalds drive thru.  I want a number 3 with sweet tea.  Extra ketchup.  Many of you reading this will have varied opinions of God, but think about this.  Do you know a God that controls and manipulates you or do you know a God that gives you free will?  My God let’s me make mistakes.  I have to choose to do what is right.  I have to choose to look past the current and examine the costs of my decision.  After this incident, I will pay even closer attention to those choices because I don’t want to go through life half blind, physically, mentally, or spiritually.