“I remember Fred, he had sandy coloured hair and was a very nice gentleman, very caring towards people. It was wondrous the things he could do with such limited resources,” said 72-year-old Margaret Law from Tennant Creek. “Humanity is in my system too. You got to help other people out. I’m still looking after others even 10 years after retiring from health care.”
Margaret worked as an Aboriginal Health Officer for many years “going out to communities on the stations with the health team”, before a decade-long career at Tennant Creek Hospital. During this time she would regularly make the 500km trip to Alice Springs Hospital for training.
But on this occasion, Margaret was in Alice Springs to have her cataract removed by Dr Tim Henderson, the only ophthalmologist in the Central Australia region.
“I’ve known Dr Tim for years when I used to work at Tennant Creek Hospital, I would never have dreamed that now I would be on the other side of things,” she said.
Margaret first noticed a problem with her eyes many years ago. “My vision just started to go blobby and when I was writing the progress reports at the hospital my writing was all wobbly,” she said. “I got my eyes checked originally because I thought I needed glasses, and that’s when they noticed the cataracts.”
Margaret’s experience in health care meant she knew the importance of getting her eyes fixed. “I knew it would get worse if I left it and didn’t have the surgery. I knew my vision would deteriorate,” she said. “I’m glad this eye is finally going to get fixed. It’s going to be a pleasure to be able to see and clear picture and focus on things, instead of seeing blobs.”
Just 24 hours after surgery Margaret’s patch was removed. When she opened her eyes, she turned to the nurse and said, “Oh you look beautiful! Thank you!”