I was in fourth grade when I became four-eyed. I wore glasses every day until eighth grade when I got my first pair of contacts. I wore contacts for more than half my life until my eyes couldn’t bear the irritation and then started wearing glasses again almost every day.
For years I dreamed of getting my eyes corrected surgically. I discussed it with many who did and praised the results. “Life-altering.” “Best decision of my life.” “Worth every penny.”
There was a concern for me because I heard those with an astigmatism might not be a candidate. I was also distracted with more important things like three little ones running around the house with a continuous rotation of needing my attention.
Then about a year ago I took the plunge and went for a consultation for LASIK. I was interested, but didn’t know if it would work for my eyes.
I got the thumbs up. No problem. They could do the procedure and bring my eyesight to 20/20. “What date are you available?”
I made an appointment and drove home. I had about an hour’s drive and on the way I started to let this sink in. I was going to be able to see. I would wake up and see. I wouldn’t have to feel awkward wearing glasses. I wouldn’t have to deal with contacts and irritation and supplies. No more worry about the expense, or insurance coverage or prescriptions or keeping up with it all. I would just open my eyes and be on my merry way.
I hadn’t before let myself really consider what it would be like. I’d been doing it for as long as I could remember. I was self-conscious about it and it was a nuisance, but it’s what I needed to do so I could see. I didn’t know anything else and for the first time I started to get excited about life with eyes that worked.
And then it hit me. It hit me like a frying pan smacked right in the middle of my face.
If I could be this joyful about getting my blurry vision corrected, the depth of the elation at the prospect of getting his pancreas repaired would have to be at least a hundredfold of what I was feeling.
My joy went to sorrow and I wept the rest of the way home. I felt guilty about having the option to fix my broken organs when Caleb, and so many others, do not. I considered not doing it as an act of solidarity – if pancreas’ can’t be fixed then neither can my eyes. But logic won out over emotion and I went through with it.
I can see now. For a year I have woken up and gone on my merry way. It’s nice and I am happy for it. But my joy about it has never been what it was for those brief moments on the ride home from the consultation. It is neither life-altering nor the best decision of my life. Whenever I think about it, my thoughts are always directed to what cannot yet be fixed.
Until all pancreas’ can be made to properly secrete insulin, I will not feel celebratory about my vision. I want for Caleb what I felt for those few moments on that ride. I want that for all those with diabetes.