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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eyes Right, Sort of!

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved to purchase Ray Charles glasses

In addition to all the other fun I have around here, I also take care of our forty year old son after a car wreck twelve years ago left him brain damaged and with only one eye. We built him an apartment about twenty-five yards from our house and he is semi- self-sufficient as long as I give him his medication, do his housecleaning, laundry, driving, and grocery shopping.

He has always been able to remove his prosthetic eye, clean it, and put it back in by himself for which I am grateful. Occasionally the eyeball flips around and he shows up at my backdoor with only the white of one eyeball showing with the pupil facing due west. The children think that is really cool and the best ever Halloween costume. I’ve gotten used to it and have learned not to scream out loud…as much.

With changes in his medication lately, he is able to remember more and remember it for a bit longer. He still gets confused and time for the most part doesn’t exist. Still when I reminded him the other morning to remove his eye and clean it, he did, sometime late that afternoon. This time, however, he could not get the eye back in. He tried, and tried, and tried, and tried. I suggested he just leave it out for a day or two and then try again.

I covered the empty eye socket with a patch and told the children he was pretending to be a pirate. Three days later, he still could not get the eye repositioned in the socket. I tried to tell him the initials on the eye are supposed to be at the top but he was sure I was wrong.

My son is a veteran. Dealing with the VA is much like dealing with a brain injury. The brain is there, just not much going on at times. In other words, it is a typical government agency. I phoned the VA hospital only to get a recording.

“If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911. If you are having thoughts of suicide, hang up and dial 1-800- 8930-23-5610-82-820-6531; that’s 1-800-HOPE-IT-WON’T-BE-TOO-LATE.

For other options listen to our menu as numbers, extensions, location of the nearest MD, country of origin, and our physical location have changed.

To renew a prescription press #2, enter your social security number, the number of the prescription you want renewed, and your current condition…prone, vertical, comatose.

To speak to a nurse, press #3 and take a number.

To speak to a live person, refer back to #3.

To make an appointment press #4, then enter the month, date, year and in what century you would like the appointment, two numbers for month, two numbers for date, four numbers for the year and Roman numerals for century.

To repeat this menu in Swahili, press #5, Burmese #6, Spanish #7, Arabic #8, Russian #9.

For braille press #10.

If you are hearing impaired and cannot hear this menu, press #1.

To repeat this menu press #405-8200-33258 followed by your last four and current blood pressure reading.”

Finally a sympathetic telephone operator, in this case a live person, suggested I bring him to the Urgent Care portion of the ER. An hour and a half and 93 miles later, we quickly found a seat in the waiting room where we stayed for two hours.

The ER doctor took one look at my son and sent us to the eye clinic, the one I had been trying to reach when we were told to come to the ER.

Fortunately there was no one in the waiting room when we got there. Unfortunately there was a big discussion between the three doctors about, I assume, who was low man on the totem pole and had to stay and see my son.

A fourth doctor who must have drawn the short straw saw us immediately. He patiently cleaned out my son’s eye socket. Not knowing if the doctor had read the chart and knew that my son was brain injured, I tactfully told the doctor that the first prosthesis had the initials at the top, but my son is of the opinion that the initials on this prosthesis were at the bottom.

“Is your name Melvin Harrison?” the doctor asked.
“No,” said my son.
“Your initials aren’t MH?”
“Then the initials go at the top, H.W."

With eye ball in place and not rolling around, I took H.W., the son formerly known as M.H. home. I think I’ll have him leave his prosthetic eye in and just have him open his eye lid while he is in the shower… sort of a car wash for the eye. Beats a day at the VA.


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

How very sad. Life changes in an instant (been there) and we are left to deal with the worst and the worst. There are times we feel like we are drowning, but a new day starts and we hope for better things amd because it is a new day there is still that optimism.

Anonymous said...

You have a unique ability to see and communicate the humour in any situation. Probably necessary to retain sanity.

Sharon said...

Jody, I admire your ability to make sad situations funny. You did a great job here. I esp. liked the phone call portion. Cool dr. to do the Melvin Harrison bit.

jkraus8464 said...

Jody, I feel that every time I read your post another layer of your life peels away so that I am almost able to understand how much you are and how much you do every day with humor and yes, grace. You are so special to me because of your ability to find the funny in the not so funny. It is what keeps us going. I have lots of issues to deal with too and have managed to handle them with humor but an upside down prosthetic eye...well, you just blew me away with that story.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Your family is so lucky to have you! Just taking care of all the kids is enough to wear anyone out, but all that you do for your adult son who served his country, only to be injured in a needless car accident is above and beyond. Thank goodness you have an incredible sense of humor. I'm still laughing from all the instructions for calling the VA hospital, including reciting blood pressure readings! You are amazing!

Unknown said...

I completely understand what a trial it is dealing with the VA, and appreciate the humorous spin you can put on it! Much love to you, darlin'

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, Jody, that was hysterical! I have a good friend who has a prosthetic eye and I always find myself staring into it when talking to her. Hers doesn't roll around much, but you can tell it isn't real. Keep the laughs coming!

It's All About The Grape! said...

You are a very funny lady! I have now read several of your posts and I have to say, I've got that whole "writers envy" feeling in the pit of my stomach. And that is a good thing, for you. I can see I'm going to enjoy your stuff! Mar