With apologies to Johnny Cash.
I can see clearly now the pain has gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are those cataracts
That had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun shiny day.
You can sigh a breath of relief. George is alive and doing well back with his brother Yame.
Well its been a long day over here. George has certainly travelled a lot for such a young lion. We loaded him into the back of my vehicle as we felt George wouldn't do well in a crate. We stuck Jade in there too for comfort.
With film crew in tow we set off for Ondestepoort, some 60 odd km away. Initially he was stressed but settled down quickly with Jades words of comfort.
It was here that Dr Venter noticed that George had a very small lens in the right eye. The left seemed normal and what he would've expected. Its not really understood as to why there would be such a difference, but its unusual.
Then while George was being intubated for surgery, the rest of us got changed into attire suitable for surgery. We all met up prior to moving into theatre to discuss the plan.
The surgery went off without a glitch. I found it most fascinating and interesting and learnt a stack about the eye. It was truly incredible to watch such a skilled surgeon at work. Dr Venter made it look really easy, however I'm pretty sure that we were witnessing decades of dedication and passion in action. Having completely removed the cataracts and having stitched up the tiny incision made in the cornea, Dr Venters job was complete. It was now time to get George out of theatre, into the vehicle and back home.
Dr Tordiffe reversed the one drug and then we all waited to make sure he was coming around. We wanted him slightly sedated for the trip home but obviously not too deep. Driving home was stressful as once he started to wake he wanted to get up but couldn't and therefore thrashed around abit. Poor ol Jade was on the receiving end of a now 40 something plus lion cub wanting out. She performed her lion whispering and George calmed down. The trip back seemed to take forever but was uneventful.
Once back at the sanctuary although I initially thought of putting George back on his own, I decided that it was more prudent to put him back with Yame. Isolating him would've stressed him out more and probably caused damage to the eyes that needed to be rested. Yame was really happy to see his mate and it was probably the longest the two have been apart since they were tiny. They settled quickly and George went to have a drink of water.
All in all it was a good day, but especially so for George whose life is about to change for the better again. Thanks to everyone for all their thoughts and prayers. We felt them today and so did George. A huge thanks as well to all those who have been involved in making this surgery possible. We are truly grateful. If I've left anyone out I'm sorry. Its been a long day.
Same goes for typos!
Over and out
We would like to thank Ange Lemon and her team at Painted Dog Conservation, Australia, for once again raising the finance to give George his sight back.