Nick lost his eye sight. It came quickly and with no real warning. One day he woke up with blurred vision and within a week he could see very little in his left eye. A few days later his right eye followed. Within two weeks he went from working, taking care of the household, cooking for his wife, camping and enjoying daily tasks to sitting on a chair with his cane unable to see.
Nick had a condition that caused veins within his eye to tear. Slowly blood was dripping out of the veins and into his eyes. The interesting part was that it was not visible when looking directly at him. It was not visible from the surface of his eyes, so from the exterior, Nick's eyes looked perfectly normal.
Nick then went through five months of inhibited vision. During this time he relied on his two best friends, his wife Katharine and his dog Bear. Katharine would lay out his clothes in the morning and shave his face. Bear would guide him through new locations. Friends would drive him around as he could no longer be behind the wheel. He became the resident passenger. That statement became true of more experiences than just sitting in a car. He became the passenger in many things rather than the active and involved social man that he is. He had to become intimate with any object he was interacting with in order to complete a simple daily function, such as ATMs, Menus, his wallet or his wife's face. He would get very close to the ATM buttons in hopes he might be able to make out something. He would poke items on his plate with a fork and ask around to confirm what it was. He would ask the cashier "Is this a 10 or a 20?" He would caress his wife's face, remembering what she looked like. He created a very intimate relationship with Siri as she navigated his calls and texts.
It became what Nick called a transformative time that changed his perspective on many many things, including his career choice and his view point on nature. He decided he wanted to open up a clinic in the future to help people with various health issues. He himself is diabetic and has pain in many of his nerve endings. Losing his sight, even for a short time, made him realize he wanted to use his kind hearted nature and experience as a patient to help others with medical issues. He is a firm believer in medical marijuana and its ability to heal many ailments. He wants to show those suffering from various medial issues that there are many options to help yourself heal. He held close to his guitar to rejuvenate his spirit, a natural and long time musician, he did not need sight to play a guitar. He became actively involved in tone of people's voices. He stated that "...their voices became their faces and their identity. I could no longer see them. I just listened closely to the rhythm of their voice."
Nick, always known for his positivity by his friends and family, found a way to keep that positivity present even when his sight was gone. He became very reflective, often recording thoughts on his phone's audio notes and listening to documentaries on Netflix. He said he stayed positive because he had too.
"I knew that if I let this effect my spirit it would effect my wife. The minute I realized I could no longer see anything is the same minute I knew I could not fall apart. If I seemed unfazed and confident then she would be too. I chose that path. I chose to not let the topic of conversation always be the fact that I could not see. It was already all I was thinking about so I didn't want it to become what everyone else was thinking about."
Nick had a long daily regiment for his eyes, from 3-4 different drops and ointments. He attempted to heal his eyes for 3 months but nothing seemed to be working. His last option was surgery.
Nick had surgery in November to fix the issue in one eye and has regained 90% of his vision in that eye. In the spring of 2016 he will attempt surgery on his other eye - in hopes to regain his full vision.
Take a look at his journey below and when you reach the last of the photos you will see when Nick was able to see a glimpse his wife Katharine for the first time in 5 months.
Nick stated, "After this experience I realized how so many things in life are not important. All I wanted to do was be able to see my wife, look up at the sky, maybe drive and be able to cook. Such simple things. After my eyesight shifted and I could not see, it was so clear to me that the simple things in life are so so valuable. It changed my perspective on everything."
Five Days after Nick's surgery he was finally able to see pieces of the scenes in front of him and glimpses of light and peoples faces. Below is a quick look into the moment Nick could finally make out his wife's face for the first time in months.