December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. It made us think of Gary. A few years ago, Gary decided to start a “Nerf gun battle” with his 7-year-old son, JP. It was two days before Christmas. Gary grabbed the plastic gun, loaded it up with styrofoam bullets, hopped in the bathroom, closed the door, and came up with his game plan. Seconds later, Gary opened the door and started surveying the area, in search of his son. But before Gary could blink an eye, he heard the pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!
His son, a natural-born sniper, had been watching and waiting the entire time. One of those rounds, with a hard orange rubber tip, hit Gary directly in the eye… which was open at the time. The frazzled father hit the ground immediately - dead weight - like a sack of potatoes. What was supposed to be an epic battle, turned into an instant victory for his son - and a serious scare for the entire family.
(Above are the actual Nerf guns used in the battle)
“It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye,” Gary said. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. “I just remember seeing stars instantly and I could feel it filling with water,” he said. That feeling, of filling with water, lasted a couple days. “That’s when I decided to go see Dr. Lynch,” he said.
Dr. Lynch took one look at it, and knew he had to send Gary to a specialist in Boston. Gary’s injury caused the pressure in his right eye to be about six times higher than normal. That’s why it wouldn’t stop watering. Thankfully, Gary was able to treat the injury, after several visits to Boston and BayState Eye Center.
Gary says the worst part, is that he broke his own rule. “A couple days before it happened, I told my son we weren’t going to play with the guns unless we wore safety glasses,” he said. When asked about sharing a warning with other parents, Gary said, “Stick to your guns, no pun intended. I didn’t stick to my guns and I paid the price. Oh, and wear safety glasses, too.” We couldn’t agree more, Gary.
There’s a bit of irony in this story, too. When Dr. Lynch got home that night, after treating Gary’s injury, Dr. Lynch’s son asked him if he wanted to play with the Nerf guns. Dr. Lynch said no. Gary, we thank you for saving Dr. Lynch. We’d also like to thank Gary for being a good sport and sharing his story, and warning, with all of our patients.
Again, December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. So have fun and be safe this holiday season!
From all of us at BayState Eye Center,
Thank you & happy holidays!