29 Apr 2023

"He was playing in the house and something fell in his eye," the father explained. The patient’s older sister stood by, looking a little sheepish and guilty. Maybe she felt responsible since they were playing together. Maybe just an oldest child feeling responsible for her younger brother—what oldest child doesn’t feel excessively responsible for everything and everyone—particularly for younger siblings? And now he was in this terrifying place with a scary problem involving his eye. Maybe she was just nervous and shy being in this strange building with these strange people asking the family questions.

"Let’s go to the operating room where we can really get a better look at it." Lights. And supplies for whatever I might try to use to get it out—whatever it might be. I was still forming plans mentally for various possibilities. I also wondered if there really was something still inside or if it wasn’t just a scratch on the eye that still felt painful like something stuck inside.

I asked the boy to lie on the operating table and dripped a drop of tetracaine into the affected eye. This would make the process of examining it a bit less miserable for him since it would numb his eye. I asked him to keep looking at his dad, which kept the offending spot in view for me, and kept what I was doing (with scary-looking tools) less in view for him. I used an otoscope lens to magnify my view of the spot, then took a needle from a sterile syringe and gently touched the spot under magnification, without directly poking or scratching his cornea. Was it just a hole in his cornea? No! The speck moved, and glided gently across to his sclera, the area where the clear part of the eye ends. I carefully picked up the speck with the end of the needle. It was out! No scratches, pokes, or debris left inside to get infected! So simple and so exciting! The dad and his two kids celebrated that it wasn’t anything worse and now it was out, just like that. He wanted to directly pay cash to me and the evening nurse on pediatrics out of gratitude for saving his son’s eye from this speck. We told him no, this is our job. He could pay a small amount for this tiny procedure through the pharmacy, if anything, but we don’t take money for our own pockets. So much gratitude for the smallest procedures! But an eye is pretty crucial to anyone, anywhere.
Alhamdulillah! Thanks to God!