Thursday, May 20, 2010

The gift of sight

Today, Thursday, our doctors did cataract surgeries for nine patients and a pterygium surgery for one (for those who don't know a pterygium from a hole in the ground, it's a fleshy growth over the eye that can fairly easily be surgically removed). The two top photos show patients after surgery, with the eye bandaged, and after their post-op check the morning after surgery, with just a plastic shield protecting the eye (they wear this for two weeks). Our optometrist, Dr. Bob Davis, has also been offering free vision checks and reading glasses (where needed) to hospital employees, and we've had many people waiting patiently in long lines for their chance to get free glasses. Yesterday Bob, with some assistance from our surgeons, did 75 eye exams; today we held the line at 40, but only with great difficulty. We were happiest when people showed up from the laundry and maintenance and kitchen - these were people who really can't afford reading glasses. The third photo shows the long line forming yesterday.

People kept thanking me, and I kept saying that it was a blessing for us to be here and to help them, and indeed it is. When we get together at night before and during dinner, you can feel the good energy and delight of all our team - Bruce and Vincent, our surgeons; Bob, the optometrist; D.J. and Silvia assisting in surgery; Mitch taking photos and managing the sterilizer; Nelson translating our folk into impeccable Salvadoran Spanish; Cindy, our nurse; Kathy holding the whole enterprise together; and me, out in the waiting room with our amazing volunteers Reyna and Rosa and Gumersindo. It's an unbeatable high, to be spending a week giving the gift of sight to others. It's we who should be saying thanks.

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