Helen Sharp-I will always miss my eye
“warning- While this is an amazing story Helen explains the eye loss in graphic details which some people may find disturbing”
Loss of an eye
December 23, 1994
I was doing the dishes. It was 6.30pm. I was feeling particularly good. My teaching year was over. The holidays had come at last and I was to have year one next year.
I had finished the Christmas shopping without breaking the bank, the turkey was thawing, and the table was set.
Greg called, he needed help with the canopy he was putting on the boat trailered in the driveway.
“Hop up in the boat, take the end of this ockie strap then hook it over the canopy frame at the other side.”
“I can’t do it, it’s too tight.”
My head seemed to explode. I could feel hot blood running down the back of my throat and over my face. I was swallowing it. A towel hit my face. I started to moan. The pain, the fear was overwhelming…… It wasn’t real, it had to be a dream…… “I’ll wake up soon.”
“Greg, Get me an ambulance, Oh God”
“Mum are you alright?” I’ll be fine Allan, don’t cry.
“Your eye is gone but you will be alright” Who said it? God, My guardian angel, The universe?
I could hear the ambulance in the distance. Talk to me someone. Where are you all. I knew they were beside me.
I was afraid. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t happen now! Oh God!! Why Me!
They arrived at last. I begged them not to take the towel. Somehow it was helping the fear.
I asked for something for the pain, but they said not till I reach the hospital.
“Did you black out?”” No”.
“Greg, stay with me. “
I’m here darling. I won’t go.
The neighbours helped to lift me on a sling the ground and to put me in the ambulance.
Our neighbours, Steve and Dianne Fraser looked after Allan while Greg came with the ambulance.
What a terrible thing for a teenage boy to see,
His mother stabbed in the eye.
At the hospital I waited and waited and waited on a stretcher, afraid and in pain. Greg was distraught.
They finally operated around 2.00 am in the morning. My eye was cut ¾ of the way around. There was a 90% chance I would lose it, but they tried to save it anyway. My eyeball was darned like a sock! I thank you Professor Ian Constable for coming in at that time of the morning and for your efforts to save my eye. And for your genuine caring when you visited me the following day.
My elderly parents were amazingly strong. They drove to the hospital every day. Mum brushed the dried vomit out of my hair and cleaned blood out of my ears. The wonderful nurses bathed my damaged and bloody eye every hour. A horrible job for them but wonderfully soothing for me.
I was having four hourly injections of pethidine to stop the pain.
Flowers and cards began to arrive and didn’t stop for days. The nurses likened my room to a flower shop!
Allan and Greg came every day and stayed until late.
I felt very loved and supported. My children, friends and family visited and brought their love which felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me. I felt blessed.
Christmas morning and Santa came “ho hoing” into my room and gave me some chocolates. I’d forgotten all about the festive season.
They took what was left of my eye on day 6. I was forty-two at the time.
I awoke with one eye and a strange sense of peace.
The pain was all but gone. It was time to put this nightmare behind me and get on with my life.
It was Nearly six months before I was finally fitted for my artificial eye and I met Jenny and Paul Geelen. I discovered that there are many people who have one eye for a whole host of reasons. In the Geelens office there are letters and drawings from children and adults leading normal lives with monocular vision. The human brain is amazingly adaptable and apart from a slight trouble with depth perception, there is very little difference. Thank you, Jenny and Paul.
After six months I returned to school and taught for another twenty years!
I will always miss my eye. Losing a body part is not easy and I grieved during the months following my ordeal, but life goes on and in some weird way I feel a greater love and appreciation of life, this magnificent planet and the power of love after my experience. In a way it was a gift.
I am now sixty-seven
By Helen Sharp