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 airplanes, for Heaven’s sake!) fake warning

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.” — actual warning

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 . . .

(Editor’s note: Surgery put off ’til Monday, 1-22-10, at 6 am, six days later. See Eye still on the 30-day writing finish line)


3 comments on “Blindness warning wraps ’round wrist

  1. kim says:

    Michael, this sounds scary! Sending good thoughts your way!


  2. contoveros says:


    Why would you stop being able to breathe? You can tell me. I won’t mention it to a soul except those who pass by here.

    Thanks for the IOP lesson. It shows how dumb a guy like me can be. I could’ve looked it up on the Internet but preferred to keep my head in the sand — ignorance being bliss, I guess. Don’t want to think of the aging process . . .

    Cougar on the Prowl. I like that.

    You too!

    michael j


  3. Just in case you wanted it – a little bit about IOP…

    I have to wear a warning bracelet too – and no, mine doesn’t say ‘Cougar on the Prowl’. It tells people that if the find me unconscious on the floor the most likely reason is that I have stopped being able to breathe and might need a little help – it also has a message for the hospital telling them to not go to extraordinary means to fix the problem with machines n’ stuff.

    It sometimes feels like wearing an idiot string with a pair of mittens and gets in the way, but it is a good way to talk to folks when you can’t speak ne?

    Hope you have help with all the snow a friend of mine has told me you are being buried by where you live (he used to live up around there at one time himself) – I am supposed to see some of the same by the week end here.

    Be well,
    (and stay away from the laughing gas)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.