At Least He Made it to the Zombies Concert!

If we are honest, most of us have used a sinus infection, migraine, or impending cold as an excuse to get out of events we didn’t want to attend: church budget meetings, PTA, the funeral of someone we barely knew, and soccer games on a muddy field on a cold, drizzly November. Yup. At times like these, a run-of-the-mill Rhinovirus becomes our best friend. For example, I had tried all month to trump up a credible excuse to get out of ancient Aunt Sadie’s annual Christmas tea. Thanks to a rhinovirus, I could now honestly call her and say, “I’m so sorry, Aunt Sadie. I’ve come down with a nasty cold, and I wouldn’t dream of infecting all your other guests, especially right before Christmas.” Then, like Pinocchio, my nose grows an inch when I add, “I’m so disappointed! I was looking forward to sipping tea all afternoon with fifty of your closest geriatric friends. Maybe next year?” We exchange pleasantries; I wish her luck with her party, and I hang up. I run a relieved hand across my forehead. Phew! Ducked out of that snoozer!

But some events are so meaningful or important we would attend with a rupturing appendix. Okay, maybe not, but some events simply cannot be missed, no matter how much our nose drips: our five-year-old son’s starring role as a sheep in the church Nativity play, our daughter’s harp recital, our father’s 80th birthday party. These times, we suck it up, pop a Sudafed, and pack plenty of Kleenex.

Then there are events we could skip, but won’t! Take Randy, a patient of mine, who adores “Oldie” rock bands like the Beatles and the Monkees. One Christmas, Randy’s wife purchased him the mother lode of wonderful Christmas gifts: tickets to see the Zombies in concert. (Don’t remember who the Zombies are? Neither did I! Go to You Tube and type in “She’s Not There,” and you will immediately recognize the song that made them an international sensation in the 1960’s.)

Anyway, Randy was pumped up about his Zombies concert—now just four hours away— when suddenly, a jarring bright light jutted across his right visual field. He ignored it. Maybe it will go away, he told himself. No such luck. Soon, a blurry curtain moved over the top half of the vision in his right eye. Worse, when he turned his head quickly, floaters—like snow in a shaken up snow globe—danced into view.

Trying not to panic, Randy touched both sides of his face, held out his arms, stood on each foot, and spoke aloud without garbled speech. No problem. “Good! I’m not having a stroke,” he reassured him.

For a nanosecond, he considered telling his wife, but quickly changed his mind. If I tell her, she’ll drag me straight to the ER, and then I’ll miss my Zombies concert. Besides, I’d probably just sit in the ER waiting room for six hours and miss the concert for nothing…

You guessed it. He didn’t say a word! God forbid he miss that Zombies concert!

As Randy swayed and clapped to his favorite Zombies songs, along with an amphitheater full of other 1960’s aficionados, he ignored the opaque curtain blurring his vision. Nothing was going to spoil his night.

In the car on the drive home, however, he casually mentioned his worrisome symptoms to his wife. Just as he predicted, she freaked out and zoomed straight toward the nearest emergency room. “Don’t you know those are the symptoms of a detached retina?” she scolded. “This is a medical emergency! Retinal detachments can cause permanent blindness. I can’t believe you ignored your symptoms to attend a Zombies concert! On and on she railed, all the way to the ER. “What were you thinking? Do you want to go blind?” Blah, blah, blah.

At this point, I should remind readers that married men live longer than single men. It's proven in studies. “Not true!” my husband insists. “It only SEEMS longer!” I respond to his snide remark with a chuckle and a whack in the belly!

Just as his wife predicted, Randy had partially detached his retina! Within minutes, an ophthalmologist whisked him off to the operating room for emergency laser surgery.

I’m happy to report Randy regained nearly full recovery of his vision.

Randy is happy to report the Zombies concert was a blast!