Family · July 2017

Our Strabismus Surgery Story

Last week, my daughter had Strabismus Surgery.  Her eyes were not tracking together.

Since she was 2 months old, I noticed her tracking was not where it should be.  We began going to eye doctors to get suggestions of what to do to help her.  We tried exercises, looking at black and white images, like all parents do in the early months.  We tried patches, which we found would not work with her type.  We tried glasses, which were not for her site, but only for her muscles around the eyes.  Over the last year or so, we were told surgery was inevitable, we just had to make sure everyone was ready, everyone meaning the doctors who needed to make sure the measurements were staying consistent.

In February, our doctor suggested we come back in June, which is only 4 months apart instead of the normal 6 month apart appointments.  She wanted us to see the surgeon as a second opinion early in the summer, to allow for time to have the surgery and not be in the school year.

End of June came and the appointment happened.  The surgeon did suggest surgery.  Sharing the comment that this was inevitable.   Surgery was set for July.  We began talking about what was going to be happening.  As it got closer, we began watching videos about kids going into surgery.  We were even given a video of the hospital we were going to, so that she would be familiar with the look of the rooms, procedures, and materials.

The day before, we were called to be given our presurgery info.  This info included that we would be starting our surgery about 4 hours earlier than originally scheduled.  A little bit of a shock to me.  We were not able to go down (3 hours south) until that morning, so we got up at 3:30 AM to dress, do hair, and pack up the truck.

 

Getting into our prep room, we had the family specialist come in to help Miss A know what was going to be happening. Unfortunately, the nurse had just come into the room to give her meds that would help with anxiety and remembering all that was happening. So, that meant that Miss A was a bit goofy already.

She was giggling, saying funny nonsense words, telling us her finger was stuck to her lip, and her leg kept falling off the bed! We ended up putting up the second railing on her bed to help with safety!! Here is a picture of us together being silly! She said she was pinching her cheek! At this point, all of us in the room were crying from laughter!!

The doctor came in to check in with us, and to see how we were doing. He also had heard she had a loose tooth, and he had to check it out. He told us that since it was so loose, it probably would have to come out prior to the surgery, to make sure it didn’t get knocked out and swallowed. Fast forwarding a bit, as soon as the surgery started, we were given the treasure box with her tooth.

I’m going back to the point after the doc came in. When it was time for us to go to surgery, I was nervous. I wanted to go back to make sure she was ok going under anesthesia, but the doctor said we should see how she was doing first. Her dad and I walked her down the hall, as she was riding on the “bed with wheels”. When we got to a corner, the nurses said “we’re at the kissing corner, time to give kisses and to say see you later!” We did as we were told, and they went through the door, leaving us behind. My tears started then.

I luckily had a village behind me, so when I went to the waiting room, my parents, grandparents and my mother in law were waiting for us. They kept me talking, laughing and eating. I am so grateful for all of them! I also had my village back at home and on Facebook praying for us and giving me words of encouragement. LOVE my family and friends sooooo much!

When the tv said she had been in surgery for over 1 hour and 20 minutes, the doctor came out to say everything went great. They only had to fix one muscle on one eye. Originally, they wanted to do both eyes. They also talked about doing the surgery to fix the DVD, which is the up and down deviation. Through more examination, they did not feel that one was not necessary at this time. They think that this one muscle surgery will fix the other issues. I learned that eyes are not like arms and legs. Arms and legs can be told by your brain to do different things at the same time. Eyes, on the other hand, work and do the same thing at the same time. So by fixing the one muscle, the other muscles will correct themselves.

I did not take any pictures of her in the recovery room. One reason is that this mommy was crying silently too hard to control the phone. Another reason was that I was holding Miss A. She was not a happy camper when I first got there. I even asked my hubby if we had done the right thing. He said of course, she needed this to be successful. Some morphine was added to her IV, and her pain subsided. She relaxed in my arms. We covered her eyes with a cold wash cloth to help with the pain and itch. They told us her eye would feel like there was a bunch of sand in it, resulting in her wanting to itch it. We had to keep her hands out of her eyes. At this point, I’m wondering how in the world can I do that!? The nurse sitting with us, looked at Miss A and said “do you want some apple juice?” I was thinking, are you crazy? She is sleeping! But sure enough, she answered “YES”. The nurse laughed and said, see she is awake! Her vitals were looking great. The anesthesiologist thought everything looked great, and signed off on his part. Before we knew it, they were saying we could get her dressed and get ready to go home.

When we got in the truck, she started to cry, she said she hurt, and she felt sick. I was almost going to jump out and ask my mom to go in and get a nurse!! I was a little over reacting. I see this in hindsight! But look at this face. This face is one I don’t like to see in my baby. I do love the people in the background! I love this family of mine! They were so happy to be done with the surgery!

Within a few minutes, she was sleeping! She continued to sleep till we got to grandma’s house, and we put her in bed, covered her up, and she slept for another hour until we needed to give her more Tylenol. Then she slept for another 3 hours! I was so happy she slept so well! She woke up, we called her sister on Facetime, so she could see her and talk to her. That was so great for both of them! After her phone call, she said she was hungry. Doctor’s orders were to eat bland stuff, so her belly could handle it better. We offered her toast, apple sauce, and apple juice! She ate it all!

After dinner, we alternated watching movies, covering her eyes with a cold cloth, and playing with babies. It was great to see her doing so well right away!

That night, I woke her up every 3 hours to piggy back the Tylenol and IB profin, just so she wasn’t in much pain. The only time she was up longer than it took me to rinse out the cup, was at 2:30AM when she just wanted to chat, fix blankets, give me kisses and be silly! That luckily only lasted 45 minutes.

At 2:50PM the next day, we had our Post Op appointment to check everything over. They said she looked great! Just as she should look! Her eye will be red. It is the bruising that occurs. In the eye it looks red, when under your skin it would look blue/purple. But that is all perfectly normal.

Now, almost a week later, we are days into saying “how do I keep her calm? How do I keep her laying low?” Because she is doing so well, she thinks she can play like normal. Unfortunately for her, the doctor said “normal activities” may resume in a week. As of right now, she has 2 days left of laying low! And 2 more days of eye drops!! She is very excited about that! One drop 4 times a day is not a fun thing to do.

Miss A is doing well. Her eyes are tracking so well together! Glasses are not needed anymore! She feels great!

I’m so happy everything is going as planned!! I have to call the doctor on Tuesday to tell him the drops have been completed, everything is good, and then I’ll see him again in October!! I pray that no more surgeries will need to be done, but it is always a 1:3 chance one will be needed.

Thankful for family. Thankful for amazing doctors.

— Becky

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