Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mushrooms in Old Growth Forest

It's not every day I get to take a long hike through an old growth forest. It's such a magical feeling to be amongst such grandeur and beauty. My purpose of this walk was mushroom photos, of course. I was and still am (unfortunately) in search of a photo of Polyozellus multiplex, aka Blue Chanterelle. It's not actually a chanterelle at all, but that's another story I will leave until the day I have such a photo with which to share. Until then, here are some of my favorites from the hike.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Hazards of Bungee Cords

I'm writing this simply because I think there are many people out there who have no idea just how dangerous bungee cords are and can be. I witnessed this first hand this last June while spending the summer in Montana. I was securing the cover on my wooden row boat and while hunched over, under my boat trailer, I had the bungee fully extended and while reaching to hook the end onto a spot that would hold it taught, the bungee slipped out of my grip and shot back at a force like out of a shotgun and hit me squarely in the right eye; my dominant eye that I use for all my most skillful needs such as photography. The blow hit with such force, it nearly knocked me out.

At first I just grabbed the first thing I could find so as not to pass out on the floor where it would be perhaps days before someone found me. I stood there trying to catch my breath and get my wits about me and then opened my right eye to see how badly I damaged it with the bungee. At first all I could see was white light. I had no vision, just white light. I was so scared that I was going to be blind in that eye that I drove myself in shock, with one eye and horrible pain in my right eye, 30 miles over a mountain pass and with just one eye with which to see where I was going. (try driving with one eye closed sometime and see how you's damn hard)
I arrived at the Emergency Room on a Sunday afternoon and luckily I was about the only patient in the ER that afternoon. When asked to read the eye chart on the wall, I was hard pressed to even read the giant E at the top of the chart. Slowly my vision started to come back and the white light receded. The outcome at that time was Hyphema; blood in the anterior region of the eyeball. The blood in my eye was blocking my vision, hence the white light. I was ordered to 5 days of total bed rest with no computer, no reading, must sleep sitting up and no lifting or anything. In other words, lie down and shut up and don't move! We didn't want to create a re-bleed which would have involved surgery to fix it at that point. I had to use steroid eye drops every two hours around the clock for almost a month.

As time went by and I kept going to see the ophthalmologist, I couldn't help noticing my vision was getting worse and worse. Eventually I went to another eye doctor in Missoula and was then told I'd torn the zonules in my right eye which in turn made my lens loose and was distorting my vision. Along with a partially blown pupil and sphincter tears, my eye is a damn mess and I've done permanent damage to it. I've given myself an astigmatism, my vision continues to worsen so fast that I no sooner get a new prescription and lens made, my eye has already worsened and the lens is no good just that fast. My one month eye exam showed a full diopter change in just one month which is almost unheard of. Now, just four months later, I have a cataract in my right eye which will now need to be removed.

I'm telling this horror story to all of you in the hopes that the word will get out just how horribly dangerous bungee cords are and to please, please be careful when using them. Wear protective eye gear and don't get your face anywhere near the darn things as they can destroy your life in just one split second!

I will have eye surgery in December to replace the lens in my eye and if all goes well, I should be able to dump these horrible glasses I've had to endure that make me dizzy and disoriented, and unable to even wear while walking. Let my horrible experience prevent you from making the same stupid mistake and ruining your eyesight in one fowl swoop. Bungee cords are horribly dangerous and can destroy an eye in a fraction of a second. Tell all your friends and loved ones about this horror story and don't let it happen to you. I will update once I've had the surgery and let you know how things turn out.