The gift of sight
August 26, 2003 12:54 PM   Subscribe

The gift of sight is easy to take for granted. Not for Mike May, blinded in infancy, Mike had partial vision restored at the age of 43. This is his journal, written with infectious delight for his new gift and documenting the unexpected problems that the miracle brings. There's much, much more to vision than just the data and Mike is an unprecedented opportunity to better understand how perception works. [via the Guardian and previously mentioned here]
posted by grahamwell (14 comments total)
1 year ago July, about 20 days before moving back to Atlanta from Indianapolis, I experienced black floaty things in my vision. I went to my doctor who sent me to an eye doctor who sent me to a retinal specialist who said, "We're scheduling you for surgery, tomorrow."

It turned out that I had lattice degeneration in both eyes, with a retinal tear and hole in the right one. Seeing (heh) as I'm a graphic designer, the thought of losing my sight scared the bejesus out of me.

Long story short, everything went fine, and I didn't lose my sight, but, no, I no longer take my sight for granted.
posted by jpburns at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2003

This is a cool, feel good story. And an interesting trip into what its like to suddenly have the lights come on and seeing the world for the first time.

Makes me grateful for what I do have.
posted by fenriq at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2003

Incredible story with lots of unexpected resonance. Like his comment on having F2F conversations:

"... if it was a woman, a low cut top would be even more distracting. It was easiest to close my eyes or tune out the visual input."

Me too!!!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2003

I love his observations about the unexpected intimacy of looking into a non-family-member's eyes for the first time. This is good--thanks, grahamwell!
posted by clever sheep at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2003

May was on NPR this morning.
posted by turbodog at 1:30 PM on August 26, 2003

...and stem cell research is bad for what reason again?
posted by fletchmuy at 1:35 PM on August 26, 2003

Stem Cell Q&A. The problem is abortion. " When the Pope visited George Bush recently, he told the US president that the work was as evil as infanticide, because obtaining the cells involves destroying early stage human embryos, and US Catholic bishops told him that the work is "illegal, immoral and unnecessary".
posted by grahamwell at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2003

I guess they forgot to read one of the recent issues of Popular Science which had a bit in it about a doctor finding stem cells, usable stem cells in teeth. Not very many but enough to be useful.

And just what is the Pope doing calling something evil when his own church conspired to cover up forty years of child molestations?
posted by fenriq at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2003

very, very cool. thanks for the post!
posted by evening at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2003

Thanks for the link to the Stem Cell Q&A, grahamwell.

I'm still confused.

"researchers extract them from human embryos that have been discarded during fertility treatments."

Please, let's not get into the "A" debate, but I still can't figure out what's wrong with this. Babies are not being aborted (as far as I know) for this research, so what is wrong with it? It certainly helped this May fellow to see his kids for the first time, so I'm sure he's pretty happy about it.

There's a bit that David Cross does about this very topic where he says, "What's the problem? These embryos are being tossed in the garbage anyway. It's not like they're talking about skinning babies alive, because if they were, I'd stand up and say NO! You will NOT skin babies alive! I am against that!"
posted by fletchmuy at 2:37 PM on August 26, 2003

It's cos God makes the little embryos and God makes people blind and sick and only he knows why. I think that's the reasoning.
posted by grahamwell at 2:41 PM on August 26, 2003

His weblog is GREAT! I wonder if with a good cinematographer he could recreate his dawning visual experience for us. C'mon Mike, write a treatment!
posted by roboto at 4:17 PM on August 26, 2003

There was an engrossing article by Oliver Sacks in the July 28 New Yorker describing the incredible variety in how blindness is experienced.
posted by Zurishaddai at 5:05 PM on August 26, 2003

he's being interviewed on cnn right now, in case anyone is viewing this thread currently...
posted by t r a c y at 11:55 AM on August 27, 2003

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