75-year-old Lucresia Comedero availed of the free cataract operation provided by Tzu Chi Foundation, Philippines’ eye clinic on June 21. Comedero and seven other patients were operated on by Tzu Chi International Medical Association volunteer ophthalmologist Dr. John Solamo.
Mary Jean Comedero, grandma Lucring’s daughter, lauded the incomparable care and service Tzu Chi gives to their beneficiaries. She added that she will also tell other people about the goodness of the charitable organization.
“Your smiles ease all the tiredness we felt. We never felt, even for an instant, that you don’t want us here; instead you attend to each patients’ needs very mindfully. May you continue to help more indigents like us,” said Mary Jean Comedero, 35, daughter of cataract patient Lucresia Comedero, 75, to the Tzu Chi volunteers right after her mother’s operation.
According to grandma Lucring, as she is fondly called by those close to her, she noticed that something went wrong in her eyes some time in 2000. She reminisced that after making sampaguita garlands and feeling a little bit tired, she absent-mindedly washed her eyes, “I was feeling exhausted back then, in my wants to ease my tiredness, I splashed some water on it but instead of comfort, I felt something different. It seemed like my vision became cloudy.”
The mother of six sells garlands to augment their family’s income when her children were still young, because her husband who works as a driver cannot provide all their needs. She continued the trade to make better use of her time.
She was 63 when cataract inflicted her eyes, as per medical research, cataract is mostly related to aging.
From that point on, her vision gradually deteriorated and she had to stop selling sampaguita garlands because she cannot navigate on her own, adding salt to injury, she hurts herself at times.
“I feel like a pig, I just sat in a corner and cried. I don’t want to be useless,” she reminisced.
Two of her daughters, pooled their efforts to have their mother operated on, working at Kuwait at that time, Josephine Comedero, the eldest daughter of Lucresia, told her sister, Jean, to find the best doctor that could operate their mother’s cataract.
With this, Jean searched for doctors that could help her mother, luckily they saw one and later in 2000 her left eye was freed from cataract, “The doctors are great, they treat me with kindness. When I was on my way to the operating room and I was crying, one of the doctors said that there’s no need to cry, they say to leave it to God and everything would be fine.”
But in 2007, her right eye which was already inflicted with cataract lost vision completely, leaving the grandmother in the dark and helpless add to it that she needs to look after her sons welfare.
With her situation, “Some of my neighbors tell me that at my age I should be the one being taken care of, but what can I do? I don’t want them (sons) to be causing any problems. Besides, I just prepare the things they need; it is really not that hard for me.”
Two of her sons need to be taken care of because one had a nervous breakdown, while the other had stroke leaving the right side of his body paralyzed.
With this sad situation, grandma Lucring prayed ardently to have her right eye operated on of cataract, “I want to see clearly again. I want to continue taking care of my sons. How will they live without me? I am just glad that someone referred me to Tzu Chi.”
One of her neighbors who had also availed of Tzu Chi’s free cataract operation some time in 2010 told her that she could have her eye operated on.
“During her left’s eye operation, the expenses we had amounted to P28,000. In only a month’s time we consumed that kind of money for fares, laboratory examinations, and food,” Jean disclosed.
When asked how much money they had to produce to have her operation in Tzu Chi, grandma Lucring said, “We only think about our fares and that’s it!”
A day before her operation when some of the Tzu Chi staff visited her in their home in Bagong Silang in Caloocan City, grandma Lucring already extended her gratefulness to Tzu Chi Foundation, “Thank you for giving me a free operation. I am truly happy now that I will be able to see clearly again.”
And so on June 21, after almost five years of blurred vision, the septuagenarian’s right eye is finally freed from cataract which was operated on by Tzu Chi International Medical Association volunteer ophthalmologist, Dr. John Solamo at the Tzu Chi Eye Clinic in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
After less than 20 minutes, the cataract that hindered the loving mother from doing things for her children was successfully removed.
Grandma Lucring could only utter word of thanks to the Almighty as well as to Dr. Solamo, Tzu Chi volunteers, and staff.
“Thank you very much! I am very happy now that I can see clearly. I can now continue taking care of my sons and grandchildren,” she said.
Jean on the other hand cannot stop thanking the charitable organization’s help to her mother, “Thank you to all of you. I will also tell to those I know (who have eye problems) to go here in Tzu Chi. Thank you very much! Tzu Chi is the best!” she concluded.
Grandma Lucring and seven other patients were operated on for free of their cataract by Dr. Solamo. 11 volunteers and staff exerted their efforts to give the best medical service that Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi Foundation, wants everyone to have.
The operation took place from 8am to 12noon.