We’ve all heard of the phrase “blacked out” in relation to drinking alcohol. While that frat bro talking too loudly about his weekend in the coffee shop might be throwing out the phrase to indicate an unhealthy amount of booze consumed, in the case of one man who had a little bit of vodka, the liquor actually made him lose his eyesight. At first, doctors were stumped. Then they came to the rescue with a very odd prescription. More booze!
The New Zealand Herald brings us this very unique tale of booze and redemption, which revolves around a 65-year-old man who had been gifted a bottle of vodka by some of his students. He was celebrating his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and had taken a few slugs of the stuff when suddenly, he went blind.
“I thought it had got dark and I’d missed out on a bit of time but it was only about half-past-three in the afternoon. I was fumbling around the bedroom for the light switch but … I’d just gone completely blind.”
He tried to sleep it off but awoke with the world dark the next day, and went to the hospital. Things seemed dire — doctors said he might have formaldehyde poisoning, which can happen when you ingest methanol and was likely a result of the vodka mixing with his diabetes medication. The antidote is often ethanol.
The hospital didn’t have enough medical ethanol on hand so they grabbed the next best thing from the liquor store — a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey.
After five days of dripping whiskey through the man’s IV, he woke up and could see again.
A specialist at the hospital says ethanol is known in the medical community as a way to treat methanol poisoning. From the New Zealand Herald:
“There are two potential ways of doing it: one is to give intravenous ethanol through a drip, but that is not available in all hospitals. There is also nothing wrong with supplying that alcohol via the gastro-intestinal tract, which is what they’ve chosen to do in this circumstance, and that’s a well established treatment. If the patient’s awake they can just drink it.”
The man has some advice for his fellow imbibers after his scrape with blindness: “If you’re a diabetic, take it easy.”
And probably stay away from drinking grapefruit juice just to be sure.
Whisky saves man’s eyesight after being blinded by vodka [New Zealand Herald]