A benefit for Benton

BARRY’S BAY – As a reporter, you have to write about difficult and heartbreaking situations. While it can be very difficult to do, you get through it by separating yourself from the story. However, when you are married to the person you have to write about, it’s impossible to separate yourself from the situation. So I’ll try my best and simply write from the heart:

How does a seemingly healthy 26-year-old go from having perfectly good vision to being blind almost overnight?

That’s a question I’ve been struggling to answer for years now.

When I met my husband, he was a full-time forklift driver at Pastway’s Planing in Combermere. Several years later, we moved together up to North Bay, where I could attend Canadore College and study journalism.

He got himself a job at Minesteel Fabricators Limited, where he worked as a general labourer.

As he began working his way up the ladder there, and in my second year of college, our world was flipped on its head.

Benton began experiencing dizzy spells, which he chalked up to caffeine sensitivity. Then the blackouts came and we knew something was terribly wrong.

So, he sought the advice of an ophthalmologist up in North Bay, who told him that a past medical condition had returned.

You see, Benton was born with hydrocephalus, otherwise known as water on the brain. There’s no explanation to what causes it, but it essentially is a build up of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain that, if not drained promptly, can lead to tunnel vision, blindness, and even death.

When he was a baby, Benton had a shunt inserted to help drain the fluid. It’s a long tube that is placed in his body, which removes any extra pressure in his head. It allowed him to live a normal life with no symptoms.

Get your August 27, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.