Friday, January 10, 2014

My eyes have seen the glory...

Goodbye old buddy

This past Monday, the coldest day in the history of the world, I went downtown to have surgery on my eyes.  I chose to have PRK instead of the commonly selected LASIK.  I didn't want to go the rest of my life with two flaps on my eyeballs that could at any time be reopened.  Most people choose LASIK because that prior mentioned possibility will probably never happen, and because there is a lot less pain.  I admit to have a very low tolerance for pain, but there were some tense moments after the surgery.  The first 36 hours were the worst.  I just had to keep the end goal in sight, so to speak, that by the end of the week I would be able to see.

The first night was interesting.  I had to spend most of my time in the basement where it is always dark.  Reagan wanted to sleep in the bed with me down there, she wanted to take care of me.  She knew that I couldn't watch the BCSNCG, so she sat down there with my iPad and gave me the play by play.  That was pretty interesting in of itself, having a 7 year old tell you whats going on in a football game.  Every time I would move in bed, even at 2 in the morning, I would hear Reagan say "are you okay, Daddy?"  The next evening, when the pain was at its worse, she would sit on the couch with me and just rub my back.  As I rocked back in forth, my eyes literally unable to open, watering uncontrollably, she sat there in silence and comforted me. It would probably be worth a blog on its own.  A father being taken care of by his little girl.

As the week went along, I could see better and focus more.  I still have a hard time with small print (like computers- so yes this blog is a struggle), but I can see big picture pretty well.  On Thursday I could finally watch TV again which couldn't have come at a better time.

One of my favorite books of all time is Lone Survivor.  I read it about 2.5, 3 years ago.  I have even given the book to people I work with as a gift.  I gave it to my father this past year for his birthday.  Its a book about leadership, sacrifice, belief, love, and loss.  I cannot tell you how excited I was for the movie.  I have waited, and waited, and waited for it to come out.  I was excited that Lone Survivor would be the first thing I tested my new eyes out on.

So I went to the movies to see it by myself.  Keep in mind I know what happens (as if the title didn't give it away).  I read the book so many times that I remember a lot of the specific details.  I knew I wasn't watching a biography or actual footage of the battle.  I knew the actors from different movies.  I knew it was filmed in New Mexico. I knew that everyone in the movie would actually be okay.  I knew all this, but I was still completely lost in this movie.

I love history, I love war movies, as much as you can love movies about war.  This one hit home, this one was different.  This wasn't a movie about a war fought long ago, by people who I couldn't really relate to.  I realize that this was the first war movie with people my age.  People who were married like me, people who had kids like me.  People who looked like me.  People who had a lot more courage than I could ever dream of having, some who gave their last full measure of devotion for our country.  Its the first war movie where many of my friends, ex roommates, and fraternity brothers, had been over there (are currently over there) doing very much the same as what I saw on the screen.  I take a lot of pride of saying I know people like Cheno, Joey, Truelove, and Seth.  All SAEs who served our country over there.  Here am I at the movies, by myself, knowing the outcome of the movie, and I found myself crying at about 4 different times in the movie.  Not an ugly face, snot waterfall sob, but a cry just enough to pull at the heart strings.  I didn't care who saw, I wasn't the only grown man who this happened to.  I couldn't help but laugh at myself for the "pain" I was struggling with earlier in the week, versus what I was watching on the big screen. I wanted desperately for those men to make it out of the valley.  I wanted desperately for those men to return to those who they loved.  I wanted desperately for those men who were suffering to have it end quickly.  For the most part, that didn't happen.  I knew going into it that it wasn't going to happen, yet I hoped it would anyway.

I cried at the end of Field of Dreams.  I get emotional during Gettysburg when Lou Armistead is talking to Longstreet about his friend on the other side.  Other than that, I don't get too emotional with movies (Old Yeller aside).  This one got to me, and I knew what was going to happen.  It is a rare time when even if you have read the book that the movie enhances the experience.  Maybe someday I will be fortunate to meet Marcus, the Lone Survivor.  You never are out of the fight.

Its been a strange week.  It started with my 7 year old acting like a parent for her Daddy, and ending with the Daddy getting lost in a movie he had waited years to see.  When I got home, Brooke asked (in a somewhat sarcastic tone) "was it all you wanted it to be?"  I told her "you have no idea."

I got new eyes this week, and in some ways I am seeing things differently than I ever have before.