Saturday, February 9, 2013

Julissa's Not So Good Very Bad Day

This was certainly an interesting day for one of our girls. It began on a good note with the Girls' Group at church. Twenty-three girls gathered for a time of worship, great singing, a wonderful lesson on love, craft time spent making necklaces, and then lunch. Deleea gave each girl the same assortment of beads and stretchy cord and we watched 23 completely different necklaces being made! No copycats in this bunch! And they were relatively quiet!!

                                                          Julissa and Wendy

                                 Tanya (in purple), Leidy (head of table), and Julissa in orange.

                                                           Greicy, in the middle, concentrating!

Before we began, I talked to Julissa about going for an eye exam. We have known this needed to be done, and planned to take her a week ago, but extenuating circumstances interfered with those plans.
School is starting in two days, and I know she has difficulty reading from the board.

While the girls were busy, I slipped into the kitchen and asked a couple of the moms who were in there preparing lunch if they knew any eye doctors and whether they would be open on a Saturday afternoon. They knew of several in Coxen Hole but weren't sure if they would be open all day, nor did they know if we would need an appointment. I told Julissa that we would just go try our luck. Our pastor's wife also knew where several eye doctors were.

I have been meaning to have a chat with Julissa about boys, flirting, school and modest dress. Tia had also been wanting to talk to her about wearing appropriate clothing to church functions. She's not exactly overboard on the sexiness scale just yet, but she is leaning that way pretty heavily. We just want to protect our girls for as long as we can. Our wonderful interpreter, Aida, was there today so Julissa got THE TALK, in private, of course. She was a bit upset, but we all reassured her that we have her best interests at heart and want to keep her safe. School is really her ticket to a better future, but if she (or any of the girls) get too friendly with the boys, that future could be derailed. Her older sister (18) already has one child, I suspect she is pregnant again and has no husband.  Not the best role model.

Following the talk, we headed out to the car for the drive to Coxen Hole to search for a doctor. I quickly spotted 2 of them, but there were no parking spots available, and we can no longer park along the road. I drove past a couple more, but they were closed already, so we looped back around, and found a parking lot. A guy came up to us and said he would watch our car. As we walked away, another guy came up and said "no no! He would watch the car!" I asked if he had a ticket (that the legitimate parking lots give out), and he said no, but no worries! Ha!!

The first doctor's office was already closed for the day, but the second one was open and right across the street from the parking lot...I could watch my own car!! The woman at the desk told me it was a free parking lot - don't pay them! She turned out to be the doctor's wife. I asked if we needed to make an appointment, and she said the doctor could see her in just a few minutes if we could wait. So, we did. While waiting, Julissa looked at the frames but was, understandably, unenthused.

The doctor spoke only Spanish, which was fine for Julissa but not for me so his wife came in the exam room to interpret his findings. He was very thorough, taking a medical history, asking about her family (I understand better than I speak!), asking many questions. Then, using less-than-state-of-the-art equipment, he began his exam. He checked for any signs of diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, and color blindness. He then gave her the vision test, which was very interesting to watch. She did fairly well reading the chart, only guessing on a couple of numbers on the very last line, but when he put the corrective glasses on her and began inserting the lenses and asking "which is better...this one...or this one?" she had no answers! Only one lens made any difference at all.

When he finished, and his wife came back in, he explained that her vision was just fine, but, she still had a problem. She has a sensitivity problem which affects her vision. She is apparently sensitive to light, especially sunlight, wind, dust, smoke, smog (none of that last one here!). These things irritate her eyes and coupled with decreased tear production, cause her vision to be blurry. Her family cooks over an outdoor wood fire, so there's the smoke. We live in the tropics so there's plenty of sunlight and frequently wind and dust.  He gave her a prescription for eyedrops to use twice a day for one month. He thinks that when the month is up, she will be able to tell a big difference. He also recommended glasses - not corrective, but protective Transition lenses. He said the biggest problem for her was light and that she needed to wear the glasses ALL the time (except while sleeping). She DID NOT like that.
So, we had the second talk of the day. I told her that unless she agreed to wear them, I was NOT willing to spend the money on glasses for her. She most reluctantly agreed to try them. The doctor thinks she will see much improvement.

I let her pick out the frames, and they really do look cute on her. She is so pretty and will continue to be pretty, even with the glasses, but it was hard to convince her of that; she is 15.  I told her that she would be totally cool out in the sunlight with her sunglasses! The frames are very flexible and seemingly indestructible, which is a good thing since she has younger half-siblings at home. The glasses will be ready at the end of the week. I told her to tell her teacher on the first day that she was having vision problems and that glasses were being made. The total cost of the frames and lenses was $150. The exam was free with a purchase of glasses!

No photos from the eye exam. Darn! Left my camera under the seat of my car!

We went out to retrieve my car. One of the guys had put a piece of cardboard on the windshield. Nice! But I still didn't pay him. As we drove to the pharmacy, I tried to reassure her and told her that when I was just about her age, I had to get glasses because I couldn't see the board. I wasn't happy and I didn't want to wear them (and I didn't unless I absolutely had to! but I didn't tell her that!), so I understood what she was feeling, but I hoped that she would give them a fair chance. I don't know if she understood everything that I said. If we get a chance to see Aida tomorrow, I will ask her to relay my message again. We stopped at the pharmacy and got her eyedrops which were about $5. All of this was certainly cheaper than in the U.S.! Now, if she'll only wear the glasses.

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