Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: Monica's miracle
By Susan Sargeant
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My sister Monica was used to the dark – you see she was blind almost from birth. I always thought that God had given her an extra portion of confidence because he took her sight away. She always saw the funny side of things and never wallowed in self-pity for long when it came to her blindness. She was a really cool big sister! Today was different though as we sat around her hospital bed and saw her pale hands clenching the blanket nervously as Dr Johannsen came into the room.
“Are you ready for the big surprise sweetheart?” His friendly face beamed at everyone around Monica’s bed and at once his contagious friendliness put the whole family at ease.
“Doctor?” faltered Monica uncertainly
“What if it doesn’t work and I still can’t see?”
She put into words the uneasiness we were all feeling but couldn’t bring ourselves to admit.
“Well it will be like it was before and you were fine with it?”
I thought how weird it was going to be to have a seeing sister. I had grown so used to Monica being blind. We had talked it over last night and had laughed together about how she couldn’t bump into people like she used to and how people wouldn’t treat her like she was different anymore.
The doctor started to unwind the bandages around Monica’s head and my eye caught Mom tearing up and Dad squeezing her hand. The silence in the room was tangible as the last bandage came off. Monica gingerly opened her eyes. The ointment which matted her eyelashes gave her a comical look of surprise.
“What do you see dear?” Asked Mom in a small voice.
“Light……I can see LIGHT!”
All at once Monica’s dark world had been shattered by this blinding phenomenon called light. She closed her eyes tightly as if the experience had been painful for her. I was filled with a mixture of excitement and fear. Until now I had never thought about how hard it would be for her to adjust to sight.
We crowded around Monica and held her tight. Mom was crying and laughing at the same time and dad was congratulating the kind doctor for his success while I breathed a quiet prayer of thanks. Then we all fell silent as Monica opened her eyes for a second time and swept them slowly over the family. We were all filled with a special reverence for that moment realizing that she was seeing us for the first time. A small smile crept over her mouth and a tear of joy slid down her cheek.
“I always knew you had the better nose sis” she said jokingly as her eyes rested on me.
I choked back my tears and hugged her.
The following days were filled with new experiences for Monica. Her safe, dark world had changed into a bewildering mass of colours and sights that needed getting used to but at night we would always have a good laugh about her experiences like the time I had to convince her that the red round thing in the greengrocer was a tomato and not an orange. It was especially funny when we realized that our argument being overheard by an inquisitive old lady who must have been wondering about our sanity!
Often Monica would be overwhelmed by all the different stimuli that were hitting the previously dormant seeing part of her brain and she would suffer headaches, but she persevered bravely. Faces to her were the most challenging and sometimes once familiar friends would be confused until she let her hands feel their familiar faces to satisfy herself that they were who they were.
The one most affected by the change was Monica’s guide dog Jerry. He was freed from his harness and got to chill as an ordinary pet. As he was trained to be her ‘eyes’ it took him a lot to get used to her leaving him behind.
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if the operation had not been a success. I suppose Monica would have always been Monica and the light would still have shone out of her despite of her dark world within. Besides now I can’t get away with pulling faces at her when she gets on my nerves!
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