Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blinded

I guess there's another story I should write down. I'm not even sure what my kids know about this event.

When Sarah was about four months old and Elisa was 2 1/2, I had an accident where I burned my eyes. It was a freak accident. I had a cup of laundry detergent in my hand ready to put in the washing machine and the laundry basket on top of the washer started to fall over so I reached to grab it and I jerked the hand with the detergent in it and the detergent bounced up out of the cup into my eyes. There was immediate, horrific pain and I experienced a burning sensation in my eyes.

I ran to the sink and started to flood my eyes with water but there wasn't much relief. My husband was at work and I called him and he having had many classes in Chemical Engineering, told me to get in the shower and wash my eyes out and he was on his way home. The nightmare began in earnest from this point on. He came home and found me in considerable pain unable to get more than a few seconds of relief out of the water. We called someone to watch my girls and he drove me to the emergency room. The pain in my eyes was so bad that as he drove, I had a very large bowl of water which I placed my head in, where the water covered my eyes but not my nose or mouth. The only way I could get any relief was to keep my eyes immersed in the water.We walked into the ER with me with my upper head in the bowl of water. Now that was a sight.

The ER staff were immediately attentive and quite aggressive in treating me. They hooked me up to two IV bottles of saline connected to some sort of contact lens apparatus. They had me lay down and ran the water over my eyes slowly for quite a while until the bags were empty. This gave me relief but not complete relief so they repeated the procedure a second time. I was very, very miserable. I remember describing the pain as if it felt like someone was sticking "hot forks" in my eyes.

After a while, the pain subsided enough for them to place some sort of medicine in my eyes and bandage my eyes completely. This rendered me unable to see anything. I was to remain with my eyes bandaged completely for 24 hours and return the next day for evaluation. I remember that I felt a lot of pressure in my eyes and I didn't like feeling the pressure but at least I didn't have to have my head in a bowl of water or have water continuously running in my eyes. My burns were severe alkali burns from the laundry detergent.

We went home and in essence, I was blind. That was a very sad and overwhelming experience for me. Jim had to help me get around and take care of the girls. I couldn't see Sarah to nurse her, Jim only placed her in my arms and instinct took over. That was heartbreaking. I remember going to bed in a state of exhaustion and depression. I felt my way through the house to use the bathroom and depended on Jim for everything.

He had to go to school the next day for the morning. A neighbor came and helped me with the kids while he was gone and brought Sarah to me when it was time to nurse her. That afternoon, we went back to the ER. I was very nervous for them to take the bandages off my eyes. I remember they unwrapped them slowly and had me stand before a big eye chart. The big "E" on the chart was extremely blurry and it was hard to keep my eyes open. They sent me home with one eye bandaged, eye drops, instructions and follow up appointments.

The reality of my loss of vision was heartbreaking and scary. The doctors said I would heal but it would take time. My good husband and another man gave me a Priesthood blessing. I distinctly remember being told in the blessing that my eyes would heal because God had work for me to do and I needed my eyes to do the work. It was a very comforting blessing.

The healing was very slow, about six weeks to two months I think. I remember evaluating my healing by sitting in church and looking at the numbers on the hymn rack where the hymn numbers were displayed. At first I couldn't see them at all but very slowly, week after week, my vision improved until I could see them clearly again.

My eyes finally completely healed and I could see as I had before. The experience was very troubling, painful, and humbling for me. I appreciate my eyesight very much. I believe God spared my vision. I am grateful for that. My heart always goes out to those who have vision problems and for the truly blind. I think of my husband with tenderness when I recall this event because he was so good to me and helped me so much.

I am very careful now when I load a washing machine. I switched to liquid detergent after this incident and have been unable to bring myself to use powder detergent since if I can help it.

When I hear the song "Amazing Grace," I always think of my time(s) being "blind." There is more than one way to be blind but because of God's amazing grace and care of one who had been blind in more than one way, "now I see."

               Amazing Grace

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun."

1 comment:

  1. I definitely remember this story. I do not however, remember you telling us how bad the pain was. No bueno :(

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