Besh was born with a cataract in one eye. We found out when he was about 2 and his eye started to wander. Since his body wasn’t using it as much (the cataract is right in the middle of the visual field) then the eye was starting to lose functionality, muscle control, etc.
So the local doctor, billed as the best option for children’s eye stuff in Austin, told us to keep checking it and to start patching his good eye an hour a day. That way we could try and train his brain to keep using the bad eye until his eye fully forms (around 10) and then we could do a surgery and be done. Still scary, but a viable option. That is unless the cataract starts to grow, because if the eye loses more functionality just patching won’t work and you can do enough damage that it can’t recover later.
So the last check-up with local doctor, he mentions the cataract may be growing. But doesn’t follow up on it. Sara does, starts asking questions, the doctor gets weird (well, weirdER. He’s already weird. Really, really weird.). Sara brings up options that the doctor had first mentioned 2 years ago and the doctor points out how good her memory is. He’s probably annoyed. Right back at him.
Ultimately we get a recommendation from some friends on both coasts who are eye doctors to take Besh up to Dallas for some nationally recognized experts in pediatric cataracts. That happened yesterday. Yup, the cataract is growing. Oh, and patching an hour a day won’t do diddly. He should have been patching 2-4 hours a day. So they’re recommending surgery. The somewhat good news is that they’ll be putting in a new lens that will target his fully grown eye. Meaning for many years it will be purposefully far-sighted (which we’ll correct with glasses) but the hope is that it hits right on target when the eye is fully formed. May need another surgery later, but we’ll hope not.
And for the last two years we thought his bad eye was at least staying the same, holding at 20/30 vision. Not true. His vision is actually 20/50 in that eye, probably getting worse. What happened was that Besh memorized the eye chart the first time he saw it and just repeated back the symbols, leading the Austin doctor to think he had better vision. In Dallas, they use a computer that displays random images and gets an accurate result. Which also led to some humor when a picture of a Christmas tree came up and Besh didn’t know what it was. Sara had to explain to the tech that we were Jewish–when Besh looked at it with his good eye he said, “I don’t know…a zipper?”
So now we’re looking at a surger in October. Travel up to Dallas, pre-op on Day 1, surgery on Day 2, follow-up on Day 3. Even though he’s under general for 2 hours, it’s an out-patient operation. So we don’t have to deal with a hospital stay, but do have to deal with everything else, including the fun of a surgery under general anesthetic, the pain from correcting the muscles, yadda yadda.
I know this pales in comparison to other issues in general, even some of the ones other personal friends deal with every day. Still sucks. Still scary.
We told Besh yesterday. He probably knew something was up with the trip to Dallas to visit the doctor earlier in the week anyway. But we told him that the doctor was going to do an operation to fix his eye. The look on his face was both heart-melting joy at repairing the eye and heart-breaking to see how much it meant to him. He was on a bit of an emotional roller coaster after that, worried about it itching (if only that were the physical discomfort!), etc.
The one bright note is that he is absolutely THRILLED about getting eyeglasses after the operation. Over the moon. Insists on getting Clark Kent glasses, which I’m sure we’ll do. So we’ll focus on eyeglasses and a non-fuzzy eye and hope all the rest passes quickly.