Thursday, June 24, 2010

Claudine---cutest name ever?!

Ok,  before we get to Claudine, First things first: meet Gafar and Tani.......they are fixtures on D Ward and have developed quite a brother/sister relationship. Bubbles? yes, they blow bubbles together. Crafts? yep..they do that together too. A few days ago they had movie time and watched Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs. Good flick :)



Gafar had a tumor removed from the right side of his face. A few days ago he saw out of his right eye for the first time in 4 years. Hearing about it gave me chills!!
Tani is a very special young girl. She fell into a cooking fire when she was young and had burns to her face and hand...and lost an eye. But let me tell you---this is the most spirited child in all the world. She has received several surgeries, and will come back to the ship in Sierra Leone so doctors can continue to re-structure her face, and give her a glass eye :)

Calling America? "Hi, this is Tani, can you come pick me up?"


There are ALWAYS fun things going on in Ward D. Ali is the Charge Nurse and there is only one word to describe her: freaking awesome. (ok, that's 2 words) .....

But, I like to go down to D ward to hang out with Tani and Gafar and all the other kids coming in and out receiving quick eye surgeries. As a writer, trying to capture a great story about an eye patient on board is very difficult. This is because our rockstar surgeons churn these people in and out in no time...so there is little opportunity to meet the patient, talk to them, gather enough info for a story AND get pictures of them! It's a challenge!!
Well, thanks to Ali's help, I was able to capture a couple good stories, and here is one of them:

Claudine.

I know I stated it in the title, but what a CUTE name?!?! it's going on the short list for sure. Here is Claudine's story, and a some adorable pics to go with it------Ali...I owe you one :)



When Claudine, a precious 2-year-old, was born her eyes did not open. She was lucky enough to be born in a hospital, but the doctors did not know why her eyelids remained closed. Her mother brought her home and waited. Days passed, but the eyes remained closed.

Seven days after she was born, Claudine’s mother took her back to the hospital. The doctor put eyes drops in her eyes, and finally, her lids lifted and she took her first look at the world around her. Her mother was saddened to see that Claudine was cross-eyed.

Being cross eyed means having a condition called Strabismus in which one’s eyes are not aligned correctly. Claudine’s case was congenital, meaning she was born with the condition. As Claudine grew it was a blessing for her mother to realize that the condition only hindered her vision a very small amount.

Her mother, Akouvi, comments, “Whenever she looks to the outside she has limited vision and her right eye goes deep inside toward her nose, limiting what she can see. But she never ran into things when learning to walk. When looking straight ahead she is ok.”

Early treatment of strabismus can help prevent depth perception problems and developing even more serious visual issues. But living in places like Lomé, Togo, Akouvi had trouble finding a doctor that could solve Claudine’s problem. Akouvi took her to doctor after doctor. Hospital after hospital. Every time getting the same answer: “We cannot help her.”

“I became fed up and exhausted,” Akouvi said, “I decided to stop trying. I thought, ‘Maybe it’s only God that can save her. Maybe God made her like this for a reason.’ I had completely given up.”

When God closes a door, he opens a window. Akouvi felt the door had been slammed in her face. Her husband came home one day, however, and said he received a phone call from a friend. The friend, Paul, was a day volunteer with Mercy Ships. “This is a hospital ship,” Paul said, “that performs eye surgeries, and the ship should be able to help Claudine.” God opened a window.

Akouvi took Claudine in her arms and walked to Mercy Ships’ Hospitality Center. The eye tech team informed her she must first go to a field screening, and they would determine if Claudine was a good candidate for surgery. Claudine made it through the first screening and was considered a candidate for strabismus correction surgery.

“Mercy Ships was an answer to my prayers. We tried every way, and couldn’t get a solution. I know God’s hand was involved with Mercy Ships coming into our lives. Through God things become possible—things like curing Claudine’s eyes. I am so grateful.”

Claudine arrived for surgery, and the next day she had corrected eyes and was seeing perfectly out of them.



Claudine before her surgery hanging out with one of the nurses, Jenn Carrol.

Claudine after surgery with her mom, Akouvi.




I mean, are you kidding???
{Uh-door-uh-bull}

Au revoir Claudine and Akouvi!

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