Thursday, April 19, 2007

They call me....Dr. Colby (not Mr. Tibbs, although either will do)

Shocking or not, I got the call this morning.

Not an actual phone call mind you, but Valerie was feelin' a might bit peekish last night, and so to be there ready to attend to my wife, I did not go out early to the gym/run to be there when she awoke, lest she was not able to perform her doctorly duties. She's got the viral conjuntivitis ye see? Well, she does not see, at least not very well out of that swollen eye.

I bluntly said, "well, you can not see patients today looking like that (and of course carefully added the part about her being contageous too)". She concurred and said, "but you can go for me and see patients." I chuckled but quickly noticed she was not laughing...and I remembered she did not feel well at all...thus not a time for jokes. I was taken a back, but made the necessary arrangements and off we went (Valerie had to stay home).
Then it hit me...what am I doing? I thoroughly enjoy optometry, everything I get to do and learn, even reading all the great magazines we get, etc. but actually giving exams...alone? Surely I can add along with those African villagers from the movie and tweak it a bit to say "God must be crazy!" Not to mention that the normal job of seeing patients is complicated enough, but Valerie informed me that her ret head (an important piece when our autorefractor suffered a TKO) was broken. Ah, ok, no problem.

The day started with the first picture you see, a referrel back for someone that needed a visual field (long story short (LSS)...a test for glaucoma). I had not used this machine before, but was familiar with the process in general. LSS, we got 'er done.

A few semi-normal patients, and then the 85 year old you see above. At this point the projector "broke", and I had to wing several things at once until I could get time to get it fixed. She was nice...and we had the discussion I have had so often before LSS "cataracts... you... surgery... expensive.... worth it? ....glasses won't help much...etc."

I had a very nice man who needed some new glasses as he lost his (a repeat customer...we got his glasses from the US from help from a friend who does glasses for us there in such cases, as he could not afford to pay. He also happened to be my first declared HIV/AIDS patient). I had half my patients who for them today was their first eye exam.

My last patient was a six year old. My bag of tricks had run out. She needed a dialated exam, and the "ret" that was broken...I could not get around not it this time...I needed it. So I talked to the mother about coming back next week after we get it fixed. After of course I wrote her a note she requested for her school to tell them why her daughter had not been doing her homework very well (her prescription was very high...and probably needs a big bump to keep her seeing well).
So, things went pretty well with God's help, a few calls to Valerie, and the Wills Eye Manual. No deaths, no blindness, and actually some happy people at the end of the day. God provided just enough to keep me busy (six or so total) between looking at a car we bought for the mission in Sampedrana, helping coordinate plans for the new gate for the Church, and trying to fix what was broken, or not trying to break what was working, after arriving to work more than a 1/2 hour late due to some mysterious protests on the main road. Nothing to do with the hospital strike though....they stopped all surgeries and emergency room service today.
When I think about it...Yep, just another standard day in Honduras.

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