Saturday, October 5, 2013

Knowing What Constitutes a Win

2013 10 05
Marina Bouregreg, Sale, Morocco

For years now it has been obvious aboard Meredith that what seems like a loss or a failure at first instance is so often a win if you have the right perspective.  Now this is not a counsel of always looking on the bright side of life, that is just pathetic, although quite humorous when done by Monty Python. 

It is just that a little perspective rapidly changes a loss to a win.  Our recent experience stands as an example.

Thirteen days ago I lost the sight in my left eye.  Connie and I were walking around Casablanca with friends when large dark circles first appeared and then totally obscured my vision.  It turned out that I had a detached retina in that eye, a correctable problem but one which needed immediate expert attention if sight were to be preserved.

Knowing not what was wrong, only that it was something serious, we went in search of an ophthalmologist.  Luckily our boat was docked in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco.  Services were available that may not have been at Wahim's Saharan Tent Park.  

Knowing no one in the city we went first to the toniest pharmacy we could find and asked for a recommendation for an ophthalmologist.  That in hand, and willingly given by the pharmacist, we headed for the most expensive looking optician shop we could find and repeated our request.  We had a match on the recommendation and an appointment was made for the following day.  How lucky for us there was an opening that soon.

After being examined by the ophthalmologist the man gave the diagnosis: detached retina. He did not practice retinal surgery but referred us with urgency to a colleague who did.  This colleague saw us at once.  She scheduled surgery at once.    Seeing her on Thursday she arranged surgery for the following Wednesday, the soonest she could arrange delivery of the materials she needed to repair the detachment.  This woman Dr. Nadia Essakalli, had experience, skills and clout.  How lucky for us.

Dr. Essakallialso prescribed a strict and very uncomfortable position in which I had to lie continuously for the entire time I was out of her office.  This position actually helped correct the displacement of the retina and prevented worsening of the condition. More than unpleasant it was near hell in the heat of Morocco to lie still with my head blocked by two pillows and the rest of me immobile, but it was a lot better than going blind.  Prescribed early enough further damage to the eye was prevented and the "position" actually restored some vision.  Once again, luck was on my side.  

The clinique where the surgery was peformed was only one block from the marina.  

Dr. Essakalli's office where all examinations were performed was a hundred feet from her tram stop, our marina was a hundred meters from ours. No change in trams required.  Lucky?  You have no idea when your overtaxed wife is dragging her one eyed dopey husband around a foreign city.

A small hitch arose when the necessary materials were not delivered in time and surgery was delayed one day.  This was used by Dr. Essakali to take more extensive maps of the retina and macula and better plan the re attachment.

With that delay surgery was on schedule, fast and efficient.  A three hour operation followed by a day in the private clinique and I am now home.  

The surgeon was first rate and personable.  And boy was she competent.  She is Paris trained, a full professor of Opthalmology at the King Muhammed V/VI University at Rabat and has performed retinal surgery since 1996.  I think she may have introduced the procedures to Morocco.

The clinic where surgery was conducted was staffed with pleasant efficient helpful individuals who smiled every time they entered my private room.

The initial results of the surgery are extremely optimistic and it looks as though the reconstruction will be as close to perfect as any reconstruction can be.   

The cost was one twentieth what it would have been in Canada and one hundredth of what it would have been in the Excited States.  

Had the detachment had happened while we were at sea there was nothing could be done.  I would be blind in one eye without recourse.

I tally this one under the BIG WIN category.

My thanks to Dr. Nadia Essakalli and the staff at Clinique Beausejour.  I am in your debt.

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