Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cataracts ~

Patients waiting to have surgery.

Did you know that when a cataract is removed it is about the size of a flattened pea and is often milky-white or yellowish in color?

Were you aware that only the most mature cataracts become liquified upon removal?

Can you believe it only takes about 15 minutes to do a cataract surgery --even in such remote areas as Sudan?

I didn’t. I didn’t know any of this.

In fact, before this week I had a hard time figuring out the difference between the retina and lens. Oh wait... are the the same thing?

Okay. So I’m no eye specialist. Let’s just make that clear right off! However, I’ve met two very talented doctors and a fabulous team of scrub nurses and highly trained technicians from Kenya this week, and I’m impressed.

They have already performed 75 or so surgeries in the last few days; and I’m told they are prepared to complete 150 in total. Or at least, that is how many lenses they have brought with them.

When it was announced that surgeries were being offered this week, people came from far and wide.

The first official day was Saturday. The eye team flew in from Nairobi and immediately got to work. After setting up and coordinating staff, they were still able to complete a dozen or so surgeries.    

But by Monday morning the word was out. Would-be patients were starting to line up at 2 in the morning. They sent 50 people away that first day and at least 100 more this morning.

Every day it seems more and more hopefuls are coming to see if they might be considered.

They queue up, wooden canes in hand and wait. And as a new patient is ushered in to be anesthetized and preped the queue happily slides forward.

Hopeful. Eager. Scared. Excited.

One woman came in shaking --her hands trembled as much as her voice. I couldn’t tell if she was nervous or had a bit of Parkinsons. Once on the table though it became clear. She was frightened.

It took two staff to hold her in place and constant reassurances for her to endure the 15 minutes to sight. I wasn’t sure she’d make it, but she did.

And this morning when her bandage was removed, I imagined she shook again --but this time for joy!        

I wish I could have seen it.

Those who were there tell me it was a celebration --a celebration of new sight!

Please continue to pray for us this week. These are long days with unique tasks but we are excited for it all the same. Pray that everyone that comes would hear the gospel with joy and be saved.

Thank you for praying...  and thank you Tenwick Eye Team for coming!