A previous TLC CARES blog post told the story of a Gulf War veteran who had returned home to his native Lancaster County after living out of state for 10 years. This veteran returned home to find himself without a home and sleeping in his vehicle. The previous post tells his story of gaining permanent housing and his journey with the Lebanon VA Medical Center (LVAMC) to receive health care for a myriad of physical conditions including the loss of one eye which occurred the previous year. The saga continues for this veteran and now two months later he has attended more than 25 health care appointments including one 9 hour appointment to be fitted for and receive a prosthetic eye.
At a recent meeting with this veteran and his fiancée, their SSVF case manager listened to the story of that 9 hour day and the cutting edge procedures used to create the new eye. LVAMV did a referral to a facility in Dauphin County that specializes in this type of work. It was a graphic artist and not a medical doctor who designed and created the prosthetic orb that would then fit into the eye socket of this veteran.
First, he was measured to ensure a precise fit for the orb, then the artist started to draw the eye on the synthetic material from which it was then fabricated. The veteran described the feelings he had while watching the artist draw with great detail the actual veins for his new eye and the subsequent painting of the color which had been matched perfectly to his other eye. What struck the veteran the most was the way in which this new orb would reflexively move in sync with his natural eye; he was very impressed and surprised to find the new orb looked and felt very comfortable in his socket.
It has been a long road home for this combat veteran containing numerous obstacles; with great stubbornness and determination to overcome said obstacles he is a little farther down that road. This veteran commented to his SSVF worker that “seeing is believing and now I have seen it all and believe I can be whole again”. Let’s hear it for modern medicine and for modern art!