Two: The Results of Dr. Bock’s Efforts
In spite of rather rustic facilities and unexpected complications, such as by a water failure and the accidental burning up of the operation gowns in our make-shift sterilizer, the eye operation – which were illuminated by a hand-held flashlight – went well. During his eight day visit, Dr. Bock examined over 260 patients and operated on fifty-five eyes. The majority of these operations were the removal of apterygial (opaque growth over the eye which gradually extend over the pupil, and if not operated upon, may lead to the obscuring of the vision and blindness.) Most miraculous, and among the most difficult of the operations which Dr. Bock performed were on the eyes of three persons who for up to six years had been completely blind with cataracts. One man in his sixties, named Beto, whom I had to lead by the hand over two miles of trail to where I could enter with my Jeep at Campanillas, had been blind for six years. When a few days after the operation, Rudy took off the bandages and put glasses over his eyes, Beto looked about and began to laugh with the uncontrolled wonder and delight of a child who wakes up to his first snow-storm. But unhappily, we could not give the same pleasure to all the blind patients who came to us with the hope of seeing again. The biggest disappointment for all however, was that blind Ramón, my host in Ajoya, proved to be a victim of glaucoma and has no hope of seeing again. Ramón took the news with apparent stoicism, but later, when he thought no one was looking, turned to the corner, weeping.
Glaucoma proved to be the biggest threat to eyesight in the villages, there being twelve incidents of blindness due to glaucoma. Rudy deplored the fact that this disease, so easily checked if caught in time, was so prevalent, and composed an article about it to be translated and published in the Sinaloan newspaper, in the hopes that it may stir up some action.