Sitting patiently in the waiting room of the MV YWAM PNG’s day procedure unit is YWAM Medical Ships oldest patient, Felix. Felix is 103 years old, and is about to undergo a cataract surgery on his right eye.
Felix sits with his granddaughter, Nancy, who calms his nerves by holding his hand while she whispers to him that soon he will see much better.
Nancy is just one member of Felix’s large family. He has six children, 32 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He is greatly loved and looked after by his family in his village, Tufi.
As Felix nervously waits for his surgery, he tells stories to his granddaughter from World War II. He points to a spot across the bay and says he remembers treating Japanese troops on the beach during his time as a medical officer.
The YWAM Medical Ships team become aware that sitting there in their waiting room is not just another patient – but a legend. It is an honour to operate on an eye that has seen so much during Felix’s 103 years of life.
Finally, it is Felix’s turn for surgery; he’s escorted into the theatre with Nancy by his side. He lays down on the bed and trusts the surgeon’s hands to work their magic.
Within 15 minutes, the surgery is complete and Felix is ready to return to home to rest.
The next day, Felix returns for his post-op assessment. The patch is removed and his sight is assessed. The ophthalmology team reports that the surgery was a success. Felix’s vision was 6/60 in both eyes before surgery, and is now at 6/36 – with some post-surgical oedema (swelling). Felix and his family are told that his sight is expected to improve over the coming days, as the oedema reduces.
Felix is fitted with reading glasses and sunglasses and educated on how to care for his eye before he is sent home.
Felix, who once walked with a walking stick to help guide his steps, stands up and pushes away his stick before he walks confidently home with his family.
At 103, Felix still has a bit more life in him yet. 🙂