I had days this winter when I wondered if this day would ever come where my eyes felt normal and my vision seemed almost perfect. I got the answer this past Thursday when Gladys and I went for my appointment with Dr. Wolfe from Beaumont hospital who holds office hours in our town every other week.
He did the latest surgery on my errant right eye where the lens implant kept falling out of place and would lay on the bottom of the eye. The surgery was complicated and it involved draining the vitreous out of my right eye and attaching the implant to the schlera of the eye. This followed surgery a month before for a detached retina. And I had two more surgeries before that.
My vision seemed really compromised and I was starting to wonder if it would ever come back. I felt like I was in the wilderness and I wondered if I would ever cross the Jordan. Well, I have.
The good news from the doctor's lips
Dr. Wolfe confirmed what I was already experiencing. The lens implant was still in place, my vision was improving steadily and there still was no pain from the last surgery. He said it was time to get a new prescription for my glasses.
I felt almost in shock that this chapter in my heath experience was almost over. Whether this lasts for a short or long time, I'm ready.
What and who made the difference in my recovery?
My wife Gladys deserves a drawer full of gold medals for her patience, care and sticking by my side. She was with me for every ophthalmologist appointment and there were a lot of them. She didn't blink when the Lansing ophthalmologist said I needed to go to a retina specialist in the Detroit-area that day and right at rush hour. She just did it.
She was the quarterback through a whole maze of eyedrops for my glaucoma which were shifted around with each visit. All I had to do was put my head back and let her put them in. She also kept my spirits up.
There were times when I thought my vision was taking the big dive and I could clearly see the smile on her face that had hope written all over it.
Then there was the report of a brain tumor and the waiting for the evaluation of two really ugly words. When we got word that it was benign, we both thanked God and had a special supper of two fat free hot dogs and veggies.
Lots of prayers from many people
Another key element were all the prayers from people all over. I was awed. I have lots of "Friends" on Facebook and a big bunch said they were praying. I constantly fell back on that knowledge that people cared.
My kids, Krista and Justin and their spouses made a difference. Just before the retina surgery, my wife handed me my cellphone and it was my daughter calling from Eastern Europe. I had a big smile on my face before they gave me the anesthetic. And my son Justin called and wanted to know my status and to show his love and concern.
My "eye-team" included seven ophthalmologists
I've got to mention at least seven ophthalmologists who saw me at various points. I learned that a doctor-patient relationship is very complicated, but vitally important. It seemed like I was seeing Dr. Wilhelm every other day. In the process, I feel I got to know him and my confidence in him only grew.
Then there's the staff at Lansing Ophthalmlogy, a group of young women who serve as the gatekeepers and who act as the first eyes and ears for the doctor. They were great. When I felt like I had just walked through the fires of hades, they were encouraging and supportive.
I don't know what's going to happen next with my vision. This may last for a short period or a long one.
Matt Redman's song became very personal
But I know that there's one song that I really resonate with. That's Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons." He sings that we have that many reasons to thank God. I feel that I've used at least half those in the past six months.
I've gone through a dark tunnel of experience. God never left me. I had to learn or re-learn patience and trust in a difficult way. Even if the lens in my eye falls out of place tonight, I know that God is there. I am not alone.