Yesterday we had a followup appointment at Children’s Hospital and we got good news! It looks like DS will not need surgery to correct his eye crossing! That is the good news. The bad news is that we had to see 3 doctors to get to where we are. That is why I feel so strongly about sharing our experience with other parents (through this blog and by word of mouth). I can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that WE ARE ALL HUMAN. Doctors are human too. Some doctors have more information than others. Some may have read a study that another missed. Go with your gut as a parent. If something concerns you, ask questions about it and get second (and third) opinions if necessary.
When I first took DS to the eye doctor about a year ago, I had noticed that his eye seemed to cross in when he was tired. When I took him to the local eye doctor he suggested that nothing was wrong with DS and that he “just had that kind of face” where it appeared that his eye crossed. (It’s called pseudo strabismus.) This immediately felt wrong to me because I had never before thought his eye looked crossed and it was only at certain times. This led me to find another specialist an hour further south of our home. After she examined DS, (a much more thorough exam) she found crossing and prescribed him a mild prescription for glasses. After further exams, she determined that DS needed surgery to correct the muscles in his eyes. Because I was concerned about him having surgery, I wanted to make sure this was needed and got a third opinion at Children’s Hospital LA. After several exams, (one where we put Atropine drops in DS’ eyes for three days prior to his appointment) his doctor at CHLA wrote for an increase in his glasses prescription. This increase in prescription has corrected his crossing and he will not need surgery. It really does pay to be a worry wart momma sometimes!
I’m so happy that we have been able to spare DS from surgery. He has had enough hospital experience. He fell and broke his arm last summer (probably due to the crossing of his eyes and not having correct depth perception), has had SO MANY visits to eye doctors, and with this recent week of high fever and urinary tract infection, had to be catheterized twice for urine. He’s pretty much over doctor visits. (So am I!)
My point to this post is not for you to lose faith in doctors. We NEED doctors. We also need to trust ourselves because we are with our children more than they are. I should have immediately followed up that first eye doctor’s visit with a second opinion instead of waiting 6 months to “see if it goes away” like he suggested.
P.S. I mentioned to the eye Dr. at CHLA that I was very grateful and wrote a blog about our experience. She was very interested because she has had many parents get very nervous about using the Atropine drops in their child’s eyes. This is where you need to ask lots of questions. Don’t assume that because you went on the internet and looked up Atropine that you know what your doctor is talking about. There are different forms of medications and medicine in general can be very confusing because many things have similar names. (For example: The Mastoid Process is a bone at the base of the skull behind your ear and is named such because it is shaped like a breast. The Mastoid is a honeycomb of air cells in the ear. Mastitis is clogging of the milk ducts in the breast. There are many examples like this in anatomy/physiology.) So voice your concerns with your doctor and ask lots of questions. And, no, the Atropine eye drops are not the same form as the life saving Atropine used in resuscitation. Although Atropine is described as a poison, there are many definitions of what a poison is. In chemistry it means “a substance that retards a chemical reaction or destroys or inhibits the activity of a catalyst.” It’s derived from the belladonna plant and you will find belladonna in many children’s remedies for colic, teething, etc.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, ask your doctor about rechecking your child’s vision after Atropine drops before going in for surgery. Atropine drops are pretty “old school” so many doctors have gotten out of the habit of using them.
Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life! I had to get the kids and myself up early to get DD to school. DS didn’t go because he has been pretty intolerant of light with his 3 day dilated eyes. So, off to preschool for DD, to the store for DS & I, and then run run run over to the site of our Great Cloth Diaper Change event. There DS “helped” me layout the entire festivities so that we could turn our plans in. Whew. Run home to meet up with the hubs (who worked from home so that he could pick up DD from school) for lunch. It was a nice lunch. I’m not sure if the three of us have ever went out to lunch with out DD. We missed her but it was a special day to focus attention on just one child.
After lunch, we packed up our diaper and meal bag and off to Children’s hospital we went. DS and I made great time which meant that we were there VERY early. He didn’t sleep in the car and wouldn’t sleep in the carrier so we toured the hospital. We attempted to play on the equipment outside but the light was too bright for his sensitive dilated eyes. After we checked in on THE BUSIEST DAY OF THE YEAR, we waited another hour to be seen. DS was so well behaved, especially for being napless. I was so proud of him. The doctor asked him if he was always good and he said yes. The doctor and I got a good laugh out of that.
It turns out that DS does need a stronger prescription. So, for now, no surgery. We will order his new lenses and then check back to see if this has eliminated his eye crossing. I am grateful not only for this respit from the possibility of pending surgery, but for all of you who took the time to send us good thoughts and prayers. Many thanks to you and may you and your’s be well!
I last wrote about my son’s accommodative esotropia in September. I can’t believe it has been that long! After a follow up appointment with our pediatric ophthalmologist she suggested that DS needed surgery. In order to be diligent parents, we decided to get a second opinion. This wasn’t because we didn’t trust the doctor, but this is one of my babies and I need at least two people to tell me he needs his eye cut open before we let it happen.
On to Children’s Hospital LA for our third opinion (second for surgery). We have been to one appointment for an initial exam. It took us a couple months to get in because DS got sick before the original appointment and it took another month to get in again. It also took a couple months to get in for tomorrow’s appointment because DS got sick again. You can’t bring a kid sick with a cold to CHLA. Your cold could kill someone undergoing chemo. While it’s quite a drive and turns into an all day event to take DS there for an appointment, I’m glad we did it. The Dr. at CHLA checked his vision and got readings close to what our previous doctor got. (They were both very thorough so this didn’t surprise me.) The difference was, the doc at CHLA offered one more step before suggesting surgery. Torture. She asked us to torture poor DS with eye drops. (OK, so she never used the word torture – but you know how I got there.) Have you ever put eye or ear drops in a toddler’s eyes or ears? AYE. I remember my parent’s having to hold down my brother (with my help) to put ear drops in his ears. NO FUN. While I was not looking forward to putting eye drops in DS’s eyes, I surely wasn’t going to trick him into it so that we started to have trust issues.
Why drops? Doc suggested that we go old school and dilate his eyes over three days with Atropine drops. So for three nights we have tortured him with eye drops. These eye drops are supposed to give a more accurate dilation and prescription reading. He tells me “No want eye drops mommy.” I tell him that “I understand and I don’t want to put eye drops in your eyes either but the doctor needs us to put medicine in your eyes so that she can check your eye owie.” He gives me a sad look an nods his head yes. He melts me. So tomorrow is our appointment at CHLA. We have to give him eye drops again in the morning and drive down in the afternoon for an eye exam. If the doc gets the same prescription reading that she got before, he will need surgery. If the prescription is different, we will try new glasses.
So, as you can imagine, tonight I’m wondering how I will get everything I need to get done tomorrow, and sleep tonight, and stay strong for my big brave boy. I know this isn’t cancer, or any kind of life threatening disease but, every surgery is a big deal. Every surgery is risky and I can’t even let myself think – I can hardly write – there are risks. I’ll just say that. So tomorrow we learn if we will face risks or if DS gets new glasses. If you pray, please say a little one for DS, if you visualize good happening – I’ll take that too. I’m even happy with a few crossed fingers. I’ll let you know how it goes!