It seems that I am just now recovering from the holiday craze – enough to have the mental capacity to recall and recount my son’s eye surgery.
At the end of October, KJ had strabismus surgery to correct his esotropia. Historically, anticipation has always been much worse for me than the actual thing when it happens. And so anticipating the surgery for months and months was nerve-wracking, and when we were given the opportunity to move the surgery a week earlier, I said, “Yes please, can we do it yesterday?”
I expected to be a nervous wreck on the morning of the surgery, but I was surprisingly calm (I attribute this to much information gathering and well, God). A friend of ours, an anesthesiologist, walked us through what to expect on the day of the surgery, which tremendously helped in calming my nerves. It also helps when your kid is in great spirits and is too young to have a clue. The nurses were fantastic (I love nurses), bringing a fresh array of toys to keep KJ occupied and entertained while we waited for the doctor. The entire procedure lasted about 45 minutes, and then we were called to KJ’s bedside.
When he rolled up, his eyes were covered in ointment. It took him a few minutes to wake up, and though he didn’t wake up screaming like some people warned me, he seemed genuinely pissed off. And when he opened his eyes, he looked like a different baby. And maybe he felt like a different baby. I’m told that with the straightened eyes he would have added depth perception and be able to see things in 3-D, whereas before he did not. This might explain the clumsiness the first few days, but he adjusted rather quickly.
Even though I knew he would look different after surgery, I wasn’t prepared for how drastic the change would be. It took about a week for us all to get used to his “new” eyes. After all, we only knew him with his crossed eyes.
After the surgery, we had a series of follow-up appointments – the day after surgery, three days after surgery, and then six weeks after surgery. The first couple appointments were to rule out any infection, and the six-week appointment was to determine if he would need a follow-up surgery.
His eyes have adjusted very well and the surgery was a success! There is always a possibility the eyes may cross again in the future, but I am hoping he won’t need any additional surgeries in the future. For now, the plan is to meet with the pediatric ophthalmologist every four months, and then if everything goes well, twice a year until KJ is school-age. The entire process was probably more traumatic for us parents (as most things are), but he seems to be doing just fine.