Blindness warning wraps ’round wrist

Originally Cont’d From Bubble battles detached retina’s blinding 1-16-10

WARNING: Handle this detached retina eye patient with more care than he handles himself. A Bubble in his eye could explode. Now wear this bracelet until we say otherwise. (And, stay off airplaines, for Heaven’s sake!)


Use of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) or change in atmospheric pressure may cause an increase in IOP resulting in blindness. Contact Ophthalmologist on reverse side of bracelet before treatment.”

If you’re anything like me, you’d get a little upset having to  not only wear a “warning” bracelet like the one above, but having to deal with the word: “Blindness.” That word is blunt, nothing beating around the bush about it. “Resulting in Blindness” has a tendancy to cause some alarm bells to go off, particularly, when it’s “you” the possible blindness could affect. I have no idea what an “IOP” is, but will try to keep his or her pressure down, if I come across one of ’em.

This morning, I was only able to see 48-point type letters that said “Bathroom Cleaner. I “saw” it as I was showering. I was also able to make out “Arrid Extra Dry” on a deodorant can in another section of the bathroom. I needed to squint, and could just about make out the letters through the little peripheral vision I still retain.

I’m typing this from the third floor of the Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia, where some 30 veterans sit waiting for help with their vision. I am awaiting surgery. The surgeons are in the operating room, I’m told. Dr. Daniel Will, whom I saw at the Scheie Eye Institute — University of Pennsylvania, Department of Ophthalmology — for a “regular” check-up on this, my “eye emergency” predicament, said they would try to fit me in for the operation.

A television in a corner of the room provides chatter to help relax us veterans. Don’t see one looking at it. Most have eyes closed, heads bent, in efforts to sleep while waiting their turns. It’s a little after 9 o’clock in the morning.

Soon , I know I’ll be called.

Stand up. Hook up. Shuffle to the door” are orders from my Airborne training that I feel are particularly applicable now. Let’s get this jump over, I say to my Self, so that I can hit the ground running. And, hopefully, be seeing you again.

Uh oh, I think I hear my name being called . . .

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