Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Eye Candy

Last week I took four of our kids from the Village to see the eye doctor.  I’d taken one of the kiddos before but she had lost her glasses or they broke or….something.  Kids. J  One of the girls had an obvious problem with her eyes so I needed to take her.  I decided to take the other two because after we did some screening at the Village, their vision was questionable so I wanted to follow up.

I hadn’t been overly impressed with the last eye hospital I went to, so this time I decided to brave the streets of downtown Freetown and go to the one associated with the governement hospital.  As we were driving down the road away from Grace Village, their excitement was palpable.  One of the boys remarked that this was the first time he’d left the property in the year since we’d moved there!  I felt bad about that!! With 43 kids it can be difficult to move around with them, but I decided we need to start getting these kids out more!!

After an hour and a half drive, we arrived at the hospital. When I told them we needed to watch the streets so we would remember where we parked, the two older boys gave each other a very concerned look. I am not known for my sense of direction.

We walked to the hospital where we began what would end up being a 6-7 hour wait.  God bless appointment times in the U.S.A!  Despite the long wait, I was really impressed with this place.  Each of the kiddos had different problems and they took their time with each one.

One of the kiddos just needed eye drops.  His eyes were fine.  Another of the kiddos needed glasses. I felt bad that it had taken us this long to get to the eye doctor because his eyes were bad!  When he got his glasses and could see so much better, he was amazed!!!  Pure excitement!  He told me that I needed to talk to his teachers though, because apparently another kid had shown up to class with some fake glasses and they told him to take them off because they thought he was just showing off.  I told him I’d back him up. J

The next two kiddos took the longest. Although it made for a long day, I was thankful they were really thorough in their investigations!  They sent us from one person to another, using different machines, different technologies to see what the issues were and how to fix them.  The news was not good.  One of the kiddos had what they called “a lazy eye.”  I knew she had a problem, but was hoping that with surgery and glasses, we might be able to help her.  But she was too old.  They told me if we’d come when she was two or three, they would have been able to help, but at this point, her brain had disregarded this eye for so long that there was almost no vision in it.  If we did surgery to correct the alignment, it would be purely cosmetic and wouldn’t actually improve her vision.  Surgery is such a risk here that at this point I don't think it would be worth it.
She was thrilled with this look. Obviously.

The next case was equally as sad.  While the previous eye hospital had given this child glasses, this doctor said that it wouldn’t help.  The kiddo had severe scarring on the macula.  He couldn’t tell me how it had happened, but said it happened years ago.  The scarring made it difficult for her to use her central vision, and there was nothing that could be done.  Glasses wouldn’t help.  He pointed to a glass cabinet and said they had some “devices” that could help.  It was mostly filled with giant magnifying glasses.  The biggest issue this girl will face is being able to read.  

My heart broke for these two little ones.  There was nothing we could do. So, while the day was marked with the excitement of a road trip, glasses, and ice cream (of course!), I left feeling defeated.  If they’d been born somewhere else, had parents who knew there was something that could be done and access to good medical care, their futures might look different.  Such is the way of things Mama Salone......


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