Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cornea Transplant

It garnered a cornea transplant!

It was a severe enough infection to warrant a cornea transplant. "We can’t save it," the doctor told my friend. Acanthamoeba keratitism is the technical term the doctor used in diagnosing my friends eye condition.
Usually occurring in contact lens wearers, especially those who attempt to make their own homemade solutions, or use plain tap water to clean the lens. My friend had used bacteria laden water that in the long run, damaged his cornea.

This diagnosis was something my friend wasn’t prepared to hear, but he had to prepare himself for the obvious transplant to take place.
He was put on a list of cornea donors, and the long wait began for a match and a donor. When days turned into months, my friend, was becoming anxious. He wanted to see out of his left eye again. The doctor needed a perfect match, free of any prior illnesses, It had to match the exact blood type, and many other compatibility measures were taken.

The wait seemed endless and led into months of anxiety, when finally the word came "We found a match". It echoed through the phone lines while friends and family rejoiced. On the very day of the scheduled surgery, he was told, "It’s not a good enough match."

Can you imagine the disappointment we all felt, not to mention the let down to my friend? He was so prepared, yet let down in a single moment.
Frustration mixed with a level of not having hope. After another seemingly endless wait, he got the call again and was told, "We found a match." He had no hope left so he was apprehensive the day of the scheduled surgery.

The match WAS perfect. Unfortunately it was a nineteen year-old suicide victim who eventually saved my friends eye. It’s amazing that this one donor gave a part of himself in death, to help my friend see again. I imagine the family felt relief from their grief when deciding to donate.
The surgery was a success and my friend can now see out of his left eye again. He is VERY cautious when cleaning his lens, always using the recommended solution for the task.

He has worn contact lenses for many years, and it took a short period of time of cleansing it with bacteria infested water for it to cause severe damage to the cornea. The task of cleansing the lens becomes so mundane; you never think of the damages that can occur during cleansing.

The loss of his eyesight made him appreciate the beauty of life we all take for granted. Now as we fast-forward four years, he has developed an eye infection in his right eye. He has no vision in this right eye and scarring on his left eye (from recurring infections). All of this has rendered him legally blind (but reversible).

Ocular herpes is like a cold sore on the eye. It has the same recurring affects. It comes when it pleases and rests when it deems fit. My friend is being treated, but now has to wait until the infection is ‘quiet’ for a year before any operation can take place.

Often times we take for granted our sight, not realizing the importance of taking care of the very necessities that give our life meaning.
Beauty is creeping all around us and without sight, you better hope that your other senses kick into gear or you will lose the stamina to continue functioning in this world. Everything in life seems to be about what you visually ‘see’, but always remember beauty lies within! Take care of it, take care of YOU!


Susan said...

A beaautiful and sad story at the same time.
It's true, everything goes and moves around what we 'see.'
The sight is one of the most important senses we have, I think.
You know what I wonder now, what would happen if for 24 hours all the world goes blind. Would we all be able to see with our hearts? To trust our feelings and intuitions? With all the visual beauty and uglyness gone, would we be able to see the beauty and uglyness inside us?

joni said...

Ahhh Susan,
The blind can see the ugliness so why not everyone if they were to go blind?
I've always trusted my intuitions (because 95% of the time I'm right) Those are pretty doggone good odds!

Thanks for visiting and showing your sweet heart to the world! :-)


Susan said...

Being able to see with the heart requires certain something that not everybody has.
You see with your heart, that is why you're right.
Who's talking about a sweet heart?! =)