It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye

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Martin Hash
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It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye

Post by Martin Hash » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:13 am

Remember as a kid that choice you were asked by your friends: “would you rather be deaf & dumb or blind?” I always picked deaf & dumb, and if you were to go blind, it better be a good story, like “in the war” or “free-climbing the Eiffel Tower.” The bad news is I lost the sight in my right eye; the good news is that it was at the border between Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan, at the highest crossing in the world at over 14000 feet, below freezing temperatures, sleeping in the back of a truck because there were “dangerous snakes.” It doesn't get any better than that.

My wife, Gwynne, and I were spending 8 months traveling the old Silk Road from SE Asia through Europe, with a lot of it in the former U.S.S.R., the 'Stans (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, etc.) Not something I would recommend but it did drive our Traveler's Century Club count over the minimum 100 countries visited so we could get the certificate. After Iran, the 'Stans were rather a letdown and they were dangerous. The Pamir Highway which we drove on for over a week was windy, unpaved, cut out of the mountainside, and littered with wrecked vehicles. There was a dirty, rapid river down in the valley with Afghanistan & Pakistan just on the other side. We could see people riding mules on narrow paths maybe half a mile away.
Overturned Truck.jpg
The only thing at the border were squat concrete buildings staffed with armed soldiers who obviously were at the bottom of their careers. They seemed pleased to see us, and some spoke English. All went as well as could be; exposed in a snowstorm waiting in line for our passports to be stamped, when one of our favorite traveling companions, Roberto from Brazil, was denied entry. Even though the website said differently, due to some private squabble between the two countries, he now needed a visa. That was going to be a challenge considering the circumstances that we were the only vehicle we had seen in days. As luck may have it, these things work themselves out: for $250, one of the guards offered to drive Roberto 5 hours to Bishkek, call the Kyrgyzstan ambassador to meet him at the embassy at 3 o'clock in the morning for a Transit pass, which was another $100, U.S., cash-money. Also, Roberto had buy the guard's son a Birthday present because it was his birthday, which is why he was willing to do it in the first place.

As compelling & interesting as that story is, the crux is I had to sleep sitting up in a freezing truck at high altitude without using eye drops. See, I had taken Diamox for Altitude sickness, which increases blood volume, but I have high blood pressure, and 25 years of RK then Lasix. My BP plus the lens scarring blew the entire retina off my Right eye. When a victorious Roberto showed up the next morning at 5 am, the top half of my right eye was dark, which extended to the whole thing by the end of the day. We were 5 days from the nearest airport but retinal surgery is suggested within 24 hours of detachment, and because there was no way I was going to give up, I travelled like that for another 5 months, insuring the retina would never reattach correctly again.

During that 5 months, I watched two movies requiring 3D glasses but watching none would have been enough. When we finally got home, I got an appointment within 24 hours, and was in the operating theater within the week. (My ophthalmologist had an Engineering Undergraduate, and he was around 40, the PERFECT surgeon.)
Eye 3 resized.jpg
I had to wear an eyepatch but I didn't look nearly as debonair with it as the guy on the box. A month later my vision was much improved, like looking through a distorted shower door. I can't read with that eye but I could drive. There is hope that by the end of the year my depth perception will return so I can again don 3D glasses.
Eye 1.JPG
Eye 2.JPG
9/28/16
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Speaker to Animals
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses Any Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by Speaker to Animals » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:19 am

I am glad your sight is returning. That was pretty crazy, man.

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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses Any Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by California » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:22 am

That's really crazy.

My eye doctor was telling me about a treatment where you take a supplement and wear an eyepatch over your good eye to try and restore strength to your bad eye (my right is like 20/40 and my left is like 20/100. You just have to commit to that treatment for pretty much your whole day when you're not at work so I haven't tried it

I'm glad your vision is returning, you should wear the patch in public
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by Speaker to Animals » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:29 am

I would have gone with the Captain Ron look myself.

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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by Okeefenokee » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:50 pm

I hope your sight recovers.

I got my skull busted in a car crash several years ago, and it screwed up my vision. One of my eyes is set back further in my skull than the other now, and it gave me double vision for about a year, but it corrected itself over time. Now it only comes back when I'm drinking. My wife knows I'm tanked when I close one eye so I can see straight.

Qualifying on the range while seeing two of everything was a hoot.
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by de officiis » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:02 pm

Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Given my profession, I live in fear of losing my eyesight; I've never worn contact lens for that reason. I hope you recover at least some functional vision in your damaged eye.
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by de officiis » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:03 pm

Okeefenokee wrote:Now it only comes back when I'm drinking. My wife knows I'm tanked when I close one eye so I can see straight.
:lol:
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by heydaralon » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:21 pm

Martin Hash wrote:Remember as a kid that choice you were asked by your friends: “would you rather be deaf & dumb or blind?” I always picked deaf & dumb, and if you were to go blind, it better be a good story, like “in the war” or “free-climbing the Eiffel Tower.” The bad news is I lost the sight in my right eye; the good news is that it was at the border between Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan, at the highest crossing in the world at over 14000 feet, below freezing temperatures, sleeping in the back of a truck because there were “dangerous snakes.” It doesn't get any better than that.

My wife, Gwynne, and I were spending 8 months traveling the old Silk Road from SE Asia through Europe, with a lot of it in the former U.S.S.R., the 'Stans (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, etc.) Not something I would recommend but it did drive our Traveler's Century Club count over the minimum 100 countries visited so we could get the certificate. After Iran, the 'Stans were rather a letdown and they were dangerous. The Pamir Highway which we drove on for over a week was windy, unpaved, cut out of the mountainside, and littered with wrecked vehicles. There was a dirty, rapid river down in the valley with Afghanistan & Pakistan just on the other side. We could see people riding mules on narrow paths maybe half a mile away.
Overturned Truck.jpg
The only thing at the border were squat concrete buildings staffed with armed soldiers who obviously were at the bottom of their careers. They seemed pleased to see us, and some spoke English. All went as well as could be; exposed in a snowstorm waiting in line for our passports to be stamped, when one of our favorite traveling companions, Roberto from Brazil, was denied entry. Even though the website said differently, due to some private squabble between the two countries, he now needed a visa. That was going to be a challenge considering the circumstances that we were the only vehicle we had seen in days. As luck may have it, these things work themselves out: for $250, one of the guards offered to drive Roberto 5 hours to Bishkek, call the Kyrgyzstan ambassador to meet him at the embassy at 3 o'clock in the morning for a Transit pass, which was another $100, U.S., cash-money. Also, Roberto had buy the guard's son a Birthday present because it was his birthday, which is why he was willing to do it in the first place.

As compelling & interesting as that story is, the crux is I had to sleep sitting up in a freezing truck at high altitude without using eye drops. See, I had taken Diamox for Altitude sickness, which increases blood volume, but I have high blood pressure, and 25 years of RK then Lasix. My BP plus the lens scarring blew the entire retina off my Right eye. When a victorious Roberto showed up the next morning at 5 am, the top half of my right eye was dark, which extended to the whole thing by the end of the day. We were 5 days from the nearest airport but retinal surgery is suggested within 24 hours of detachment, and because there was no way I was going to give up, I travelled like that for another 5 months, insuring the retina would never reattach correctly again.

During that 5 months, I watched two movies requiring 3D glasses but watching none would have been enough. When we finally got home, I got an appointment within 24 hours, and was in the operating theater within the week. (My ophthalmologist had an Engineering Undergraduate, and he was around 40, the PERFECT surgeon.)
Eye 3 resized.jpg
I had to wear an eyepatch but I didn't look nearly as debonair with it as the guy on the box. A month later my vision was much improved, like looking through a distorted shower door. I can't read with that eye but I could drive. There is hope that by the end of the year my depth perception will return so I can again don 3D glasses.
Eye 1.JPGEye 2.JPG
Holy shit dude! I hope you and your family recovered from that. You should have grown your hair and beard out, donned a bandana and put a parrot on your shoulder.
Shikata ga nai

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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by K@th » Fri May 05, 2017 10:38 am

You have the best stories, Martin!

I'm glad you are recovering. That sounds way too scary for me.
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Re: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses An Eye (Sept 28, 2016)

Post by DBTrek » Fri May 05, 2017 11:25 am

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One of my favorite Weird/Horror authors has one eye.
Optic nerve cancer as a child, moving towards the brain.
"'You're coming with me, feel it or not / You're gonna fear it like I showed you the spirit of god lives in us" -Eminem