July 22, 2010
Dear Saddleback Family,
Monday morning (my day off) I was cutting back a huge African Fire Stick plant in my yard (a smaller version is pictured below.) Even though I was wearing gloves, I somehow later accidentally got some of the toxic sap on my hands and then in my eyes. The resin is quite corrosive and burned both of my eyes. In excruciating pain, Kay called 911 paramedics who rushed me to a hospital. For the next four hours, doctors irrigated my blistered eyes with 14 liters of saline solution to flush out the poison and ease the pain. I’d have to say, I had no idea that eye burns are so painful! I was kept overnight so I could be given shots of Dilaudid and Morphine, plus Percocet, numbing drops, and several eye meds. A doctor inserted protective contact lenses to aid in healing the scarred tissue. He told me he expects a full recovery of my vision and each day it has improved.
I am NOT BLIND! — which should be obvious from me typing this note! (I asked for prayer on Twitter and all kinds of rumors started spreading) I’m now resting at home, with the pain being managed by oral meds and a regimen of eye meds to heal the damage. I expect to make a full recovery.
I have already received many kind words and prayer support. Here’s a note I received from an unbeliever on Twitter that encouraged me: @TJJohn12 Pulling for you, Mr. Warren. Although I'm quite secular, I respect your living of Christ's teachings. Good luck & get better.
(African Fire Sticks, Pencil Tree, Milk Bush) grows widely across Africa. It grows well in arid semi-tropical climates like southern California
The milky sap of this plant is corrosive and extremely toxic. Contact with skin causes severe burning, blistering, and pain. Contact with the eyes may cause temporary blindness for up to 7 days. May be fatal if swallowed, with severe burning to mouth, lips, and tongue. Deaths have been recorded from ingesting the sap.
Please pray that God will be glorified even in this accident.
I love you all!