A series of captivating stories of our Beneficiaries.
Operating in a new environment in Xuyi with fellow ophthalmologists that I had never worked with before was a challenge. It had been a long day. So glad that the last cataract patient, Grandpa Fu, laid down quietly on our operating table. I was tired.
Then, all of a sudden, Grandpa Fu started thrashing about, sat up on the operating table and started complaining. He insisted that he did not want to proceed with surgery. Anyway, it was impossible to operate on a patient as unwilling as this one. He left the operating theatre in a state of confusion.
Then, as suddenly as he left, he came back again the next morning at 10 am! This time, he had calmed down.
But why was he in our theatre again? Why did he change his mind? I was eager to find out. Grandpa Fu has a wife and children but they did not accompany him to the hospital. Blind in one eye, he came alone. Not knowing what to expect, he panicked and refused surgery the night before. When our volunteers found out, they spent hours reassuring him and explaining to him that the surgery was completely free and there was no cause for any worry. On hearing this, he was very consoled and broke down. He decided to give surgery another go.
A volunteer continued to keep Grandpa Fu composed with gentle words of encouragement and compassion and he held Grandpa Fu’s hand throughout the 20 minute surgery. The surgery was a success, in spite of a more complicated medical history.
I visited Grandpa Fu that afternoon in the hospital ward after we finished all the cataract surgeries for the day. He was still very emotional. His eyes welled up with tears when he recalled how a stranger knelt by his side throughout his surgery, offering support and encouragement. It later transpired that he was concerned about the medical expenses and was amazed when he learnt that surgery was free, and thankful that people had come all the way from Hong Kong to bless him and others like him. I believe that this act of love will have a lasting impact on his life.
I will always remember Grandpa Fu. This was my first medical mission. Operating in China was new to me. Grandpa Fu was initially a reluctant patient with misconceptions about surgery at our eye camp. An act of love on the part of our volunteers who took the time to understand him also changed him. He is no longer confined to a life of blindness. My experience with Grandpa Fu will have a lasting impact on my life.
Dr Janice Cheung