Well, I took Gerald to the eye doctor, and he was a good one. He had a big, modern machine through which he could see that Gerald's lens from his former cataract surgery had slipped into the wrong place and that an infection had occurred and caused the cornea to die. He let me look, and I could see it was true. Also he had one of those eye models and he explained to us that the nerves at the back of Gerald's eye were all pretty much dead and useless, and even if we replaced the cornea, that eye would still be able to see very little. That was bad news. I was wondering if this trip was in vain.
All this was taking place in English, so I asked the doctor, who had some fluency in Gerald's native dialect, to explain it to him. I wasn't sure how much he understood. I watched his face as the doctor explained. It was impassive. But then a single tear rolled down his cheek, and I knew he had understood. That single silent tear really got to me. How scary it must be, to think you may lose your sight, especially when your parents have died, your aunts and uncles have died, and you and all your cousins and your old grandmother are living in a mud and grass hut far from town and any doctors, and you have no way to contact this white lady, and anyway, is she really going to stick with you?
But I AM going to stick with him, and although we have used some of the money we raised to fix Gerald's eye, we still have a lot left. We have enough to do the surgery when it is needed. And I told Gerald that. He's not used to hugs, but I gave him one anyway. And I took him shopping. And swimming (first time ever). And out for fast food. He learned to play pool. I think he fell for my son's girlfriend Effie, who was helping me with language and logistics. He didn't want to leave Kampala.
I started telling the doctor that we were here for regular checks, but that when his eyesight began to deteriorate, we were going to go to the hospital in Kampala for surgery. She said, why don't you have the surgery done here? We can do it." I'm not always the most diplomatic person. I pointed to his blind eye, and said, "because that eye was done here." She got quite huffy and defensive, and finally I said, "I can save your feelings, or I can save his eye. I choose his eye." So she tested him, and she looked into her big machine, and guess what? She did not see any spilled milk in the back of Gerald's eye. She said that eye was just hunky dory. Do I believe her? Not a chance. I am so glad that we have raised enough money to take Gerald to a good doctor and a well-equipped hospital when the time comes. As I keep telling him, we are lucky God gave us two eyes. Losing one is hard, and we won't let him lose the second one. Thanks to all who have given to save Gerald's sight.