JB, 6 months old, has been fostered for the past 2 1/2 months from the local orphanage and has congenital cataracts and glaucoma (eye defects). He has been unable to see anything since birth. He has also had severe malnutrition and was originally permitted to be fostered in a hospice capacity because he was deemed so close to death.
As he has slowly been gaining weight with his devoted foster parents, the eye doctors were more ready to do surgeryto remove the cataracts and correct the glaucoma. However, each time he showed up at the eye clinic to be cleared for surgery for the past 4 weeks, there was a hold up, whether they thought he had a lung infection, or a cold, or still didn’t weigh enough, or whatever.
The tension in all this is that the longer one waits to correct the problem, the poorer the likeliho0d that the child will regain visual function or the ability to train the brain to recognize what it is seeing.
Last week finally the local docs approved him, but then the procedure was delayed again because they needed the correct size anesthesia equipment for such a little guy. Finally, on Monday he was admitted to the hospital, for 2 days of “pre op” treatment, and the surgery took place on Wednesday morning.
He was sharing a room with two other babies and their mothers or grandmothers, and one of the other infants was also not allowed to drink anything after 1 am. So it was a restless night for everybody involved.
After the surgery he was evaluated, and the eye doctor was pleased to see that he had promising responses to light in the right eye, and somewhat less in the left. At this point, only time will tell how much function he regains, but we are sending many thoughts upwards on his behalf.
JB will have to stay in the hospital for 5 days following the surgery, in the same room. When his foster parents approached the roommates about foster dad staying overnight with JB, one woman immediately balked and said, a man can’t take care of such a little baby! He won’t know what to do!
Of course, JB’s caregivers have 3 biological children and J, the dad, is very involved in their care–even knows how to change diapers! So everyone was pleased to hear the roommate’s report the following morning, with dramatic descriptions of how wonderfully J took care of JB, and how impressed they were with his abilities!
A door to the hospital room does not necessarily mean privacy either. People were either pressing their faces to the windows for a closer look at the babies, or just coming in and striking up conversations with all the inhabitants on the status of their children. Everyone on the floor was basically tuned in to everybody else’s business. No HIPAA rules around here!
We are eagerly waiting to hear more news about his vision in the coming days and weeks, and will continue to keep you posted as well!