Friday, November 20, 2015

All the sweat is worth it.....

The last couple days of clinic have passed really quickly, yet each day feels epic and cinematic.  And super sweaty!  So many things happen in almost every moment, and over the course of a day you go through a full range of emotions.
 Ready to see the cutest kid ever? 
He is 4 years old, and is already a -12 diopter myope. We actually saw him when we were here last time directly after the typhoon, and gave him his first pair of glasses. His mom (who of course is also highly myopic) brought him in this time to show us just how well he is doing.  She waited in line all day with him, to have him checked again, to thank us, and to deliver a handwritten letter she prepared to express her feelings. Since getting his glasses he is excelling socially and is one of the top pupils in his elementary school. He is blossoming. In a way that would never have been possible.  His presence was so refreshing to the team, and inspired us in the middle of a hot, challenging day. 
The same day we saw a man with the most horrifically gnarly glasses tied around his neck. The people I work with will particularly appreciate the appearance of the nose pad/bridge area of his frame! 
Zoom in for full effect
At first glance, of course, the first reaction is: oh, gross!  But with some reflection, it highlights the importance of those glasses in his life. They have been repaired and torqued so many times they are almost unrecognizable as the frames they once were, but to this man they are of vital importance. Of course we provided him a couple of replacements, and will hold onto the photo as a memory of the importance of vision correction in daily life. 

Today I had one of the most amazing experiences of my entire professional career.  A 28 year old woman, named Cherita (very close derivative of my own sister's name) went through Walley's station of auto refraction and he brought her to my attention.  She lost her glasses in the typhoon two years ago, and her uncorrected distance vision is what we call "counting fingers", which means quite literally she can only tell how many fingers you are holding up 2 feet from her eyes. 

Her glasses are only one small part of what she lost in the typhoon: she lost both her parents, her husband, and her three year old child. Her life had been literally stripped bare of everything.  She feels the only reason she survived is that she is a good swimmer.  It is essentially impossible to imagine how she must feel.

In addition to all of the heartache she has had to endure, she has been living functionally blind over the last two years. She had a complicated prescription, -9 in one eye and -11 in the other with oblique astigmatism in both.  It is a very unlikely Rx to find in our inventory, but I found an absolutely perfect match for this woman. And I found it, amongst the thousands in our inventory, almost effortlessly.  This has happened on several previous occasions on these trips, and I cannot describe the experience as anything but a spiritual moment.  

The glasses that someone back in Canada had donated were not only the exact complicated prescription, but fit her face so perfectly that they instantly appeared to be her own. I will hang onto that moment for the rest of my life. In an instant the entire effort of this trip was made completely worthwhile.  
            All our love, Brad McDougall OD


  1. Your story of Cherita proves to me that God was with you. It's too much of a co-incidence.

  2. These story's make all the hard work worth while.
    An encounter such as this can be a life changing experience. Great job team.