So it’s been a week and I think I can now share this. I had to process it over and over until I could get my thoughts sort of straight.
Remember the little guy I was so excited to help? Yeah that was incredible.
<insert Paul Harvey voice> and now the rest of the story: on our way home that day, one of our missionary hostesses Becki said “do you think his eyes got that bad really fast?” All my eye doctor buddies will agree: no way. Then we started talking about going to the hospital to see the new parents and I forgot about it.
As we were finishing up our time in Cambo, Becki said, “it’s weird. I had that kid marked as good vision from last year.” <insert Scooby Doo voice> ruh roh shraggy. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I like to think we’re doing a good job. It’s always a balance between how deep to dig into diagnoses because the more time I spend with each patient, the fewer patients get care. I know that. And then the downside to being efficient was shown to me in ultra high definition in this case.
Frankly I missed it. Last year was a blur at the school seeing community members, students and staff. And you know what? I missed that guy. Not that I didn’t see him but apparently I said he was fine. And he’s cried doing homework for the past year. And his teachers have thought he was slow. Ugh.
Latent hyperopia is tricky and one of the reasons eye doctors beat the drum of comprehensive exams vs. screenings is because of situations like this. I would have picked this up in my office. School screening may or may not have caught it. Fortunately no one died and the kid can see now.
We try to uncover what we can help and not simply treat these trips like a journey to the human zoo and finding every crazy incurable problem with each patient. This one however is a glaring example of missing something that should have been caught. Got some thinking to do before the next go ’round.