Frank Johnson an ordinary family man, married with 3 children, lived a reasonably ordinary life.
Until due to a degenerative eye disease he turned blind.
His life had changed but he was determined not to be defeated, he was going to be ready for anything that life was going to throw at him.
With this determination and the help of his family and a guide dog called Faust, Frank was ready for anything, even an apocalyptic event that would change the lives of everyone on the planet.
This is a tale of suffering and despair but above everything else also a tale of hope, love and endurance, or in short a tale of life.
Chapter 1 Coping with Blindness.
I didn’t know that they actually used Rottweilers as guide dogs, however I found it intriguing and decided to go for it. I always did pride myself to be a bit different after all.
It took 2 years for my dog to be trained, he was called Faust after the German word for fist, why he got that name I don’t know, maybe it is because he had the attitude of a fighter.
Life hadn’t been easy for me, due to some freak set of circumstances I had turned blind. It felt as if my whole world had collapsed around me and I was being sucked into a black hole, often I had contemplated killing myself but what good would that do, it would only result in my family suffering and picking up the pieces. So suicide was the one luxury I couldn’t afford.
A therapist had lined out all my options to still have a productive life, it was through him I got in contact with the guide dog association.
I have had Faust for 5 years now he’s quite literally my eyes. He was a member of the family, my kids love him, but my wife was sometimes still scared though. I couldn’t blame her because he was quite some animal, and very protective of me.
Faust did make my life much easier, I got some of my independence back because of him. Things that seemed impossible before were now possible again.
Prior to my blindness I had never been a great dog fan or any other animal for that matter, my 3 kids took up all of my time. Two boys and a girl, they really changed my life for the better. Everything was just fine until the day the retina became detached in my right eye, I had to have an emergency operation. This was just a few weeks before Christmas. Initially the surgery appear to be successful however during my 1st check-up it emerged that the retina had re-detached and a 2nd operation was needed. This time everything went wrong, during surgery my eye ball caved in and my face swelled up and became disfigured like that of a creature from the Lord of the Rings. I lost sight in the eye
The swelling did disappear and my face did become normal again but a year later the same thing happened to my left eye, although I did keep some sight in the eye it did leave me virtually blind.
I still hear the Surgeon say “Mr Johnson in all my years as an Ophthalmic surgeon I never seen anything like this, not the same condition in both eyes”. Little good that did me.
They say that when you lose one of your senses the other senses get strengthened. Believe you me that is the biggest pile of crap you will ever hear. When you lose your sight you don’t suddenly get a super hearing.
Nothing can prepare you for blindness but it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world either! It just means it is the end of the life you led till then, you’ d be amazed the things you can do when you set your mind to it, even when your blind.
It didn’t see it always like that of course. The last few years had been hard but I endured and with the help of my family and my trusted 4 legged friend life was worth living again.
“Mr Johnson, Mr Frank Johnson you have won the whole back catalogue of Led Zeppelin” I heard the voice saying on the radio. I had entered a competition and had won the price. The question was what the name of Led Zeppelin’s drummer was, I had answered John Bonham. It’s not like I am huge Zeppelin fan but Stairway to heaven is my favourite song of all time.
My kids often complain about my taste in music, but what do kids nowadays know about proper music.
They interrupted “Misty mountain hop” on the radio for some breaking news. An aggressive virus had apparently broken out in Tunisia, thousands had been affected and it was spreading rapidly. The WHO described it as something worse than the black plague. The Nato had sent warships from several bases in Italy, Greece and Turkey to Tunisia to ensure the virus wouldn’t reach Europe.
Thankfully we were far away from the Mediterranean, so I felt very save.
The following morning DHL delivered the Zeppelin albums. I picked “Physical Graffiti” from the bundle and called my oldest son Luke, he loved the 1998 Godzilla movie, and put on the song Kashmir. I asked him if he recognized it, “that sounds like that song in Godzilla” he said. He was referring to the P Diddy, Jimmy Paige song “come with me” I said “that’s right but this is the original, so what do you think of your old daddy’s taste of music now?”
I think I may have brainwashed Faust somewhat, he appears to like my music quite a bit. It sometimes sounds like he is barking to the tunes.
Later that day there were more news bulletins on the radio about this virus, it really sounded horrendous. It seems like it was a lot worse than anything encountered before. There were a few cases where some people actually resurrected after they had died from the virus. The scientist said this was just the neurological system just kidding itself the body was still alive.
Apparently Tunisia looked like a warzone