Thursday, September 15, 2011

Emma's Surgery

Emma had surgery last week. It was a stressful day as I have never had that kind of worry before. My hat is off to parents of chronically sick children, because this was such a simple procedure for a very non-threatening condition, and I was still stressed out about it all.

Emma has funny eyes. We have been noticing them wandering off and on for about 18 months now. I watch my kids' eyes a lot because of the problems that run in Ross's side of the family. When the problem started to get worse, we took her in to get tested.

Sure enough, after two exams and a specialist, we were told that she has Intermittent Bilateral Exotropia. This means that both of her eyes wander out from time to time. Hers was pretty significant.

The good thing about the problem being in both eyes was that there was less chance of loss of vision since it wasn't just one eye with the weakness. The bad thing was that most of the regular treatments for one eyed problems don't work as well when the condition is bilateral. We tried patching for 6 months, which was a disaster.

She had to have a patch on each eye for at least 2 hours a day. That is 4 hours, folks. This wouldn't be so bad, but she hated to have a patch on in public because people would always ask her what was wrong. We were pretty faithful about it at first, but it started to peter out as her protests got more violent, and there was no improvement that I could see. We still did it, but it wasn't as rigid as it should have been.

In the end it didn't matter. It didn't help. During this time, she was having regular eye exams to make sure that her vision didn't suffer. At her last appointment her vision had changed slightly, but her depth perception was suffering. This got the doctor really worried as it is harder to regain lost depth perception than vision. I was worried as well since the wandering eyes were getting more noticeable even with the patching. We scheduled a strabismus surgery for 3 weeks later.

On Wednesday morning, we dropped Sara and Jack off at a friends' house (thanks, Mandy!) so we could take Emma to the hopsital. She was so scared, the poor thing. I thought it was just about the surgery in general, but it turns out what she was really worried about was getting shots. Funny girl. She relaxed quite a bit when she was told they wouldn't give her any shots at all until she was asleep.

When we got the news that she was out of surgery and was doing well, Ross ran to get the kids while I went back to be with Emma when she woke up. I had been stressing out all morning, and had not eaten breakfast since I was already on edge and nauseous and Emma couldn't eat breakfast before the procedure. I decided to show her a little solidarity, and we didn't eat while the little kids got their breakfast.

That was a bad idea, folks.

As soon as Emma started to wake up, I felt so much calmer. My baby was just fine and all my worry vanished. Then so did everything else.

I woke up on the post-op floor with a buzzing of nurses in pink Dora scrubs all around me. They hoisted my semi-conscious form into one of the tiny children's beds and brought me kid-sized portions of juice and crackers while I tried to figure out where the heck I was, and what the heck had happened to me. I was super embarassed to be taking medical care away from my child. Don't skip breakfast. Don't be a dummy like me.

Then Emma started crying. Poor thing. She was scared coming out of anesthesia and in a bit of pain. I guess having your eye held open and sliced at for an hour isn't the most comfortable thing in the world to come back from...

I fought through the barrage of peppy nurses trying to keep the Mama Bear down, to hold Emma's hand just as I felt myself about to faint again. The PA noticed my second helping of ghost-white paleness and told me to lay down with Emma in her bed. That worked lovely! I could snuggle with my Roo and let the fuzziness in my head abate a bit without having to worry about silly things like standing and walking and speaking without a slur.

Everything else has gone fine. She is healing well- almost too well for my taste! She is supposed to not run or jump around until Monday. This is because it could make her perspire which could introduce dust and sweat and gunk and stuff into her healing eye. It could also mess with the stitching on her cornea which would be no good at all. That was fine for the first day, but after that she wasn't hurting anymore getting her to be still became a HUGE challenge.

My amazing visiting teacher brought over some of her spare Pre-School stuff to help her have entertainment that didn't involve a TV screen or a play-ground. (I have never known a child more adverse to sitting in front of a TV...) I have the best ward.

She also has to wear sunglasses at school because of the light sensitivity. She has liked this. It allows her another chance at accessorizing. In all honesty, she would probably be fine without the glasses in the classroom, but since her eye will look swollen and red for at least another 3 weeks, I would rather she keep them on so no other moms think we are spreading pink-eye around.

There is the update. Sorry it didn't come sooner for those of you who didn't have all the details about what was going on. It has been kind of a stressful week and a half. I really am not cut out to be the mom of a sick child. You families that handle things like this on a regular basis are incredible!


Southern Spud said...

Yay! I've been looking forward to this post!

Dealing with surgery is NOT a fun thing, although I have yet to experience it as the mom. (which I'm not looking forward to, but I'll deal with it if it comes with H's strabismus or anything else that may cross our paths)

I have to admit I couldn't stop laughing all through your description of what happens when the momma doesn't eat. I had a similar, although milder, thing happen when S cut his finger open making cool stuff for the Scouts late one night. We were in the waiting room of the ER for six hours, and I'm a person who needs to eat every three. When the newbie resident checking out S's finger ripped it back open, without even bothering to ask if he wanted a shot of anesthetic, the pain on my hubby's face sent me to the floor--into a sitting position in my attempt to not pass out despite the urge. They got me some juice, and I had to sit in the busy hallway while they stitched the poor guy up, still without anesthetic. (Is that normal?)

Anyway, I do hope Miss Emma continues to do well and that you are able to figure out ways to help keep her content through her recovery. The books I found for H are My Travelin' Eye and Jennifer Green the Cross-eyed Queen. I love both for different reasons, but the characters only went through patching treatment. They may still be worth checking out, though.

Carrie said...

glad surgery went well.

mostlyprobably said...

Why are you not writing an autobiography?