|The ophthalmologist's office|
The four-hour doctor visitThis past Thursday, Sonya took two St. Vincent’s students—Frenel and Geraldo—to see Dr. Reginald Taverne, one of the most highly regarded ophthalmologists in Haiti. In true Haitian style, the waiting room was hot and already brimming with patients. Thankfully, we were ushered into Dr. Taverne’s office right on time. As we completed paperwork and waited for the boy’s extensive eye tests to begin, we passed the time with stories, jokes, Kreyol lessons and drawings.
|Genie, Geraldo, and Frenel|
During our wait, Frenel put out his hand toward the sound of Sonya’s voice. She touched his hand and he pulled hers into his soft grasp. His nimble fingers explored every nook and cranny of her fingers, hand and arm until his hand landed firmly in hers. It was almost as if he, this boy of 12, was reassuring her that all would be fine.
Which news do you want first?The testing process was fascinating! Through these procedures, Dr. Taverne was able to see the tiniest details of each boy’s eyes to determine if either would be eligible for further treatment to restore any bit of sight.
However, the news with Frenel was quite different. An illness at the tender age of three took away the majority of his sight, leaving him only the ability to distinguish color and light sources. After a sonogram on his eye, Dr. Taverne offered a glimmer of hope for this child. While his left eye is completely lost from the sickness he sustained, his right eye may be operable.
Dr. Taverne explained two very different procedures that might be an option for Frenel, following the results of one additional test that will be performed at a later date. Both surgeries present serious risk factors that need to be considered before any course of action is decided upon, discussions that will involve the surgeon, Frenel’s mother, St. Vincent’s, and The Red Thread.
A smile and a handshakeAt the conclusion of the appointment, Sonya had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Taverne about The Red Thread’s care for these boys. She explained that we treat each child as though they are our own flesh and blood, doing everything we can to improve their health and wellbeing. She clarified that we would seek specialists in Haiti to perform any recommended procedures, and, only when all in-country options have been exhausted, would we put a child through the potential trauma international travel for treatment.
With this reassurance, he smiled broadly, and shook Sonya’s hand. It was the start of another new relationship.