Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Will Squeak for Grease

Remember my agonized howls back in March, when Joy got referred for an appointment with the same pediatric opthalmologist at the same clinic where two years ago we'd had the worst clinic experience EVAH?!

We had the appointment this morning.

It went fine.

SO many things were different.

  • Today we had the first appointment of the morning, so no crowded waiting room.

  • This time I explained our situation up front to anyone who would listen.

  • The waiting room itself was tidy and whole, as opposed to the construction that was underway in September 2007.

  • We had a minimal wait before being called the first time (a short enough wait that Joy was entertained by the waiting-room goldfish the whole time.)

  • The doctor came promptly after the tech was done.

  • We knew in advance that Joy's eyes would need dilation so didn't have that element of surprise.

  • We got to wait for the dilation to take effect in a private exam-room with low lights.

  • They came for us in EXACTLY the 30 minutes allotted, rather than the hour-plus we suffered through last round.

  • No seizures. As expected, but it helped so much! (We were so much in seizure-mode last time, it didn't even occur to me to TELL the doctor that it had happened. She was surprised not to find it in her notes when I recounted the experience this time around.)

We were outta there in an hour and a quarter. What a marvellously well-oiled visit!

The point of the visit was a concern on our part that we keep seeing episodes where Joy's eyes don't track well together. It seems worse when she's tired or out of sorts. Fortunately she performed for both the tech and the doc, so they could see what I was talking about! (Joy was, in fact, remarkably cooperative with the whole appointment.)

The diagnosis is strabismus, but not serious at this point. The key seems to be that she can pull her eyes back into focus on her own. Given that state of affairs, the doctor doesn't want to do anything beyond watching and waiting.

It's a brain thing rather than a physical-structure thing -- her eyes themselves look healthy -- and nothing that they have an easy reliable fix for. The next step up would be an eye-patching routine (yeah, she'd love that) and the escalation beyond that would be surgery on the eye muscles (about a 70% success rate, and I neglected to ask exactly what constituted "success").

We're to go back in a year, unless things get outta control and we have to go sooner. But for now, Joy's overcoming it all by herself. So very much this kiddo has to contend with. I'm very proud of her, and will gladly squeak on her behalf whenever necessary!

P.S. Tomorrow is the first blog-o-versary of Elvis Sightings. Hard to believe it's been a whole year since I first asked, "Is this thing on?"


datri said...

Kayla has intermittent strabismus. We're using glasses and when she keeps them on (for about an hour at a time) her eyes stay straight and her head doesn't tilt so much. Surgery was mentioned but I don't think it will be necessary.

Glad to hear you had a good appointment!

Niksmom said...

A couple thoughts (in random order):
1. If you try patching, let me know; I have BOXES of disposable ones that we tried on Nik.
2. You can do exercises/games with Joy to help strengthen the muscles. It's awfully early for them to be thinking about surgery IMO. Need ideas, email me. :-)

JoyMama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoyMama said...

So interesting to hear what others were told! It didn't sound as if our doc was recommending glasses unless there were an additional issue like near-sightedness (which there isn't) and didn't mention exercises at all. I don't think she'd have said anything about surgery at all if I hadn't gotten all pushy with a ton of questions...

Niksmom, we'll definitely keep you in mind as a resource. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Glad the appointment went well and that Joy was such a good patient! How far she has come.

Happy Blog-o-versary!


mama edge said...

Bravo on using last year's nightmare to shape this year's dream appointment. Isn't it wonderful when our accommodations make all the difference?! Good job, JoyMama.

AuntieS said...

Wow, what a difference a year or two can make!! I am glad that Joy's appointment went so much more smoothly this year. It sounds like it was a good combination of Joy having matured and made strides forward in her behavior, better physical conditions at the facility, and much more experienced and informed parents!! Good for all of you!!

Anonymous said...

so many lessons we've all elarned in the last year - and the best part is that we share them!

joy has come so, so far. she is one incredible kid.

happy anniversary!!

pixiemama said...

Reilly wears glasses for his strabismus ... and breaks the bank when he needs a new prescription up to three times a year. So, I guess it just depends on the patient, the age, the amount of strabismus, etc. We've talked exercises but NEVER patching and surgery. He also has nystagmus (where it looks like his iris is rolling round in the whites - freaky!) when he's extremely fatigued. Totally unrelated to the strabismus.

Isn't life fun?