Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Comic Relief

Is there anything worse than hearing that something isn't quite right with your child? Even if you have known in the pit of your stomach, that something is wrong, is there anything worse than finally hearing it? In as much time as it takes for a doctor to say "Hmmm, how long have you noticed this?", your cloud of blissful denial shatters and you are forced to acknowledge your perfect, precious baby's obvious-to-everyone-else flaw. The thing you knew wasn't right, but that you chose to view as a cute characteristic. The thing you felt in your heart might be a big deal, but outwardly acted as if you weren't worried in the least.
My reality hit last week. My little boy has ptosis in his right eye. This basically means his eye doesn't open all the way. Sometimes he looks a little stoned in one eye, sometimes he looks like he's winking at you. When he grins really big, it closes all the way and I think it's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. He didn't open his eye for a whole day when he was born, but the pediatrician at the hospital said he was fine. Mommy Instinct told me he was wrong, but it was easier and more comforting to believe him. People have asked why he had a lazy eye or if I had had that checked. I always responded with "Oh, the doctor said it was no big deal." Because I knew it wasn't ok, I didn't ask his regular pediatrician about it at his 2 week or 2 month checkups. I told myself that, if it's a big deal, his doctor will mention it. He never did. Until last week. His 4-month-checkup was last Tuesday and we were about 5 minutes into it when his doctor looked at him and stopped. "Has his right eye always been like that?" Yes. "Have we discussed it?" Well, either you or the pediatrician at the hospital said it was no big deal. "That wasn't me. I never would have said that." Oh no. What is it? "I've only seen two cases of this in my entire career, so I need you to see a specialist immediately to see if he needs surgery now or if we can wait." Oh no. I can't believe I didn't ask you about it earlier, I feel like such a bad mom, I just thought it would go away, one of those things they grow out of, I'm so sorry, I hope he's ok, I hope waiting didn't make it worse...

I was fortunate to get in to the doctor he recommended within two days, due to a cancellation. We spent an hour and a half at the pediatric opthalmologist's office last Friday as doctors and nurses asked questions, shined lights in Rhett's eyes, put drops in to dilate his eyes, blew in his eyes, magnified his eyes, and in general, got in his face and poked at him endlessly.
The good news is that he seems to have good motor control over his eyelid for now. He may have to have glasses early and he may need to wear a patch from time to time to keep his muscles strong, but he doesn't have the worst case of ptosis he could have. He will have to have surgery, but not for several years.

The even better news: They have cataract glasses for babies.
I don't know if that's the technical term for them, but you know what I mean. I laughed when the nurse handed them to me and she said, "Anyone who's big enough to have his eyes dilated is big enough to get these glasses." I put them on him for a joke...he was a big hit in the doctor's office. I couldn't stop laughing at him. But then, when I tried to take them off, he squinted his eyes and cried, so I left them on him. Everywhere we went, people laughed and smiled. It was a fun day.
I guess it's true what they say: Every dark cloud has a silver lining. My boy has an eye problem, but hey, at least we have baby cataract glasses now, right?


Lauren said...

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh baby Rhett...he looks so cute with those on!! I am sad for him though...I thought his eye was cute...and I liked that he winked at me...lol...anyway it will all be alright!!

Patricia Stuever said...

Baby Trever (who is 19 mos now) has the exact same thing. It is genetic. I have it (although not as noticable) and my Dad does also. They checked him out the same way basically. Did they use the cards with the hole in them to look through in conjunction with the pattern cards? Did they use all the funny rotating toys? It was a very interesting visit for us back in March. Trever's is not causing him any vision problems so far he will have to have a yearly check up to see how it goes. Which is a 3 hour trip both ways for us. Our Doc was the best Dr I've ever seen so interesting and patient for such a small child. He said that they don't actually recommend surgery until they are a teenager(unless it is causing serious problems) so that they can be partially sedated instead of fully and they can wake up and see whether the eyelids are even or not when they tack them up. I don't know if they told you any of that but that was a particular relief to me.