UPDATE (Friday 9/2, 10:00 am) — Ker had his exam at Wills yesterday. Dr. Haller said his eye pressure was good and was in the high teens, low twenties so that was good. He can see a hand waving without an additional lens but can’t tell the direction of the wave. His retina looks good and he is keeping his head down although he still has the sniffles and watering of the eye. We will not really get a handle on how much vision he will have for six weeks. Part of that as a corneal transplant it takes a while to connect to the eye. He is bothered by bright sunlight which is a good sign. None of this would be possible without the work of the team at Wills Eye Institute.
On another front, Ker is still a teenage boy from a different culture. He was a slave, his life was not his own and he is illiterate but very fast to pick up English. He is having trouble having a woman doctor even when I explained that she was the most famous retinal surgeon in the world. He did ask in English the other day. “Dr. Haller, how are you?” When I remarked to him that I had to keep my head down during all my retina surgeries (4 in all) he remarked that he was ” a man and could take it.” I have to say it is a lesson for me as to how ingrained culture is —both the Dinka culture and the Arab/slave culture he grew up in.
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UPDATE (Monday 8/29, 4:00 pm) — Some more photos of Ker, post-surgery, courtesy of Roger Barone at the Wills Eye Institute:
He’s coming along steadily. Could see best view yet of attached retina today. Inflammation decreasing. Pressure is still mid-20s since tube still closed to keep bubble in, but it is holding and not increasing. We are seeing them back on Thursday morning. We will not know about extend to vision before six weeks.
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UPDATE (Thursday, 3:05pm) — Here are some photos and another update from Thursday morning. Again, all photos come courtesy of Roger Barone from the Wills Eye Institute:
Great news from Drs. Haller and Hammersmith:
Follow up exam this am shows no infection, no complications, no swelling in the wall of the eye, no bleeding in eye from overnight. He does have raised Interocular Pressure. He’s also coming out of anesthesia nicely. When Dr. Hammersmith waved her hand in front of his naked eye this am he could notice something moving. Dr. Haller says, “He looks fabulous.”
“It’s great – we’re taking one step at a time,” she added.
Ker still has to keep his head down because there’s a gas bubble that was put in the eye yesterday during the surgery that pushes the retina to the back of the eye so, as it rises, he needs to keep his head low.
Dr. Haller believes part of the worst is over – he still has a little ways to go but so far so good!
Doctors want his eye to continue “marinating” in anti inflammatories. His cornea is also getting “plenty of nourishment.” He’s scheduled to return for another follow up tomorrow at noon here at Wills with Dr. Haller. Medication-wise, he’s on a drop and a pill for pressure in the eye, he’s starting Acutane to reduce the chances of the retina detaching, he’s on antibiotics, cream for the cornea, and steroids.
No restrictions on what he can eat. He can bathe or shower – just as long as he protects the eye with a cover so he doesn’t bump into anything or get an injury during this crucial recovery time. Still needs to keep his head down. At least for a few more days.
They were leaving to return to the hotel to rest.
PS: One other nugget of good news, Ker complained of the bright light when he left Wills Eye Institute today. That is very good news!!
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UPDATE (5:45 pm) — Here are a few photos from today’s surgery, all courtesy of Roger Barone from the Wills Eye Institute:
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We are in Philadelphia and Ker will be getting surgery at 7:30 am. I met Ker on one of my trips to South Sudan. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) introduced Ker to me as they knew I had eye contacts and had lost most of my vision in my right eye. I became very attached to Ker.
(CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT KER ALEU)
For those of you new to this, Ker is the teen that was taken to slavery with his mother as part of war booty during the war between the North and the South that lasted 22 years. The North is Arab Muslim and the South is Christian. Ker’s slave mater was afraid his mother would leave and hung him upside down from a tree, lit a fire under him and rubbed hot peppers in his eyes. That, I am told is like pouring acid into his eyes.
After much pushing we finally got him a visa to come to the United States. He came a week ago and is having surgery at Wills Eye with a glaucoma surgeon, a retina surgeon and a cornea transplant surgeon. The outcome we have been warned will most likely not be good and the most we can expect is useable vision — shapes, colors but not the ability to read. However, useable vision at this point would be a vast improvement.
He was alsoevaluated at Lighthouse International and will get services for low vision soon! The head of this team is my Surgeon, Dr. Julia Haller, who is the chief at Wills.
Most of you know I am a Spiritualist — I believe in distant healing — please send good, thoughts, energy and prayers if that is your belief to Ker — I will be updating though the day.