Two Good Eyes: Jocelin’s Story

15 March 2016

Jocelin wore a look of intense concentration. He surveyed the Jenga tower over and over again. Slowly, he prodded the blocks, trying to find the loose piece, methodically working from the bottom of the tower to the top and back down. Finally, one piece budged. Jocelin smiled and looked up at his competition sitting across from him. Nurse Emma Morrison had never beaten Jocelin at Jenga – and she wouldn’t beat him today either.

Just two months earlier, Jocelin came to the Africa Mercy with a golf ball-sized tumor growing behind his right eye and pushing his eye out of its socket. Because his right eye was more exposed to the elements, it was more sensitive to light and dust. So Jocelin wore a hat and sunglasses, even indoors.

Jocelin’s final hope rested with Dr. Gary Parker, Chief Medical Officer and maxillofacial surgeon onboard the Africa Mercy.

Dr. Gary was hopeful, but cautious. The procedure to remove the tumor was risky. There was no guarantee that Jocelin would even be able to keep his eye, much less regain the sight in it.

But Jocelin thought the surgery was worth the risk. And his brave decision paid off. Dr. Gary successfully removed the tumor, and Jocelin kept his eye.

His eye was swollen shut for a few weeks. Finally it began to open . . . and Jocelin could see!

Two months later, Jocelin returned for a check-up. To everyone’s delight, his eye was almost completely open. More importantly, Jocelin could see well out of the eye.

“I can see. The only problem I have is I cannot read small print. If I cover my left eye, I can read what is written on your badge with my right eye. But if it is smaller, I would not be able to read it,” Jocelin said.
Not bad for someone who nearly lost his eye.

There were two constants throughout Jocelin’s stay on the Africa Mercy: his friendship with Matt and Emma Morrison and Jenga. Matt and Emma are both nurses. They formed a special relationship with Jocelin from the first moment they met him. To entertain him ahead of his surgery, Emma pulled out a Jenga game – and thus began a marathon. During Jocelin’s three-week stay, they played hundreds of games of Jenga – each game more intense than the last.

“I could never beat him when he had only one good eye. Now that he has two good eyes, forget it,” said Emma with a laugh. “I’ll never win now!”

After being crowned Jenga champion by the Morrisons, Jocelin shared his new outlook and his excitement for the future: “Before the surgery, I could not have too much of a relationship with people. Now I can do that perfectly! I can do everything I want to do in business because I can communicate normally. I’m sure every pain is gone now, and my future will be full of happiness and peace.”

Story by Tanya Sierra