Thursday, 2 December 2010

Preparing for Sam's eye surgery tomorrow

Hello, Lovelies. I’m so pleased you now share my love of Booko! Perfect timing for Christmas, don’t you think? Anyway, back to more pressing matters on Planet Baby. This will be a shorter post tonight as I’m anxious and need to get as much sleep as I can tonight. Tomorrow will be a long and stressful day for us. Mr PB has the day off. Unfortunately, it’s not for pleasure but necessity. We have Sam’s eye operation to fix his squint. He had one in July which corrected most of the problem but now needs another to (hopefully) complete the process. Sigh. Seeing your little baby go under a general anaesthetic before surgery is just ghastly.
My gorgeous, rambunctious*, teething little trooper last week
This will be the seventh time we’ve had a pixie operated on (not including their caesarean births). Yes, the seventh. That’s a lot of surgery in 5 years. Four ENT operations, one dental and now two for the eyes. We hope that our luck will turn with this operation. His eyes are almost tracking together perfectly, but not quite – just enough to be noticeable. However, our surgeon has warned that a third operation may be necessary. Oh, and there is no guarantee that the surgery will fully fix the problem. Great.

Tell me, do any of you know about squints? We didn’t until about a year ago when Sam turned 4 months old. In the Mother Baby Unit, a nurse noticed his eyes had started to wander a bit. The paediatrician agreed and referred us to an ophthalmologist. He told us that babies’ eyes can wander a bit up until they are 4 months old but then settle down as the eye muscles strengthen. If they still wander after 4 months, it is likely that they have developed a squint and will require surgery. That was Sam’s diagnosis.

Talk about complicated!
But what did that mean? I’d seen adults with ‘lazy eyes’ before – you know, people who have a ‘wandery eye’ so you’re never quite sure which eye is looking at you? Well, we were told that surgery at an early age would probably prevent Sam being like that when older. Probably, mind you, not definitely. Oh, and even if the surgery corrects the squint now, there’s no guarantee it won’t reoccur later in life. Maybe in 3 years’ time or even 20. Hmm, that’s a little too imprecise and random for my lawyerly brain, let alone my motherly one. We’re talking about his eyesight here, for goodness’ sake, not just mere cosmetic reasons.

Have any of you been through this ordeal with a little baby? It has been stressful, I must say. First of all, there was the distress of not having Sam able to train both his eyes on me. I was never quite sure where he was looking. I worried about whether his vision was affected and if so, whether he would have to battle with that throughout his life. Then there were all the public comments and strange looks people gave him. I tried to ignore them but that was hard. I also found myself fussing over the angle at which I took photos so that I could minimise the ‘wild-eyed’ look of my darling boy for future posterity.

Then there were the numerous visits to the ophthalmologist and the orthoptist to attempt to measure each eye’s degree of turn. I had lengthy waits with an over-tired baby who had to have eye drops and undergo so much testing, so many flashes of colour and toys in front of him, moving this way and that as they attempted to document how his eyes moved. Fortunately, the squint swapped between both eyes, one more than another. That meant at least that the nerves in both eyes were continuing to develop. If the squint settled in one eye, the risk was that the nerve development in that eye would cease and the brain would effectively switch off transmission to it, rendering him one-eyed. At least we avoided that.

Maybe I should have bought him one of these!
However, it meant that for many months, I had to patch his good eye every day for a couple of hours in an effort to encourage the ‘bad’ eye’s nerve to continue to develop. Easier said than done when your baby wants to rip the patch off at the first opportunity! I learnt the trick of applying the patch just before he went to sleep and was too tired to pull it off. Then when he woke, he wasn’t aware of the patch. The patching helped but it wasn’t enough so he had to have surgery. Mr PB accompanied him into the theatre while he was given anaesthesia. He’s such a great man – I just can’t bear to see the pixies go limp like that. So he’s gone in with them all 6 times. Tomorrow he’ll do it again.

So, PB friends, tonight I’ll try to get some sleep and not worry about how it will go. Or remember how hysterical he was for hours after the surgery. Let alone the fear and worry I have that the problem won’t be able to be fixed. I just have to trust in the skill of his surgeon as he cuts and reattaches muscles to my baby’s eyes. Oh my.

I may be away from Blogland for a couple of days, depending on how the surgery goes. I hope you understand.
* I'm playing along with sweet Felicity's Word of the Week.


  1. Good luck PB family - wonders of modern medicine will always astound me.
    Have a great recovery, and hope the anaesthetic isn't too traumatic, nor the patched up eye.
    Thumbs up to Mr. PB, I don't think I could go into the surgery either !

  2. All the best for little Sam's surgery tomorrow - thinking of you all and sending good thoughts & prayers. xo

  3. Jane, I'm afraid I don't know anything about squints so can't help there, but I will be thinking of you all. Plenty of hugs. X

  4. thinking of you and your little pixie tomorrow..sending big hugs down your way xoxo

  5. My thoughts and prayers for the pixie, you and your family. It's hard to watch the little ones because they don't understand. Positive side is they bounce back so much faster!
    Sending hugs...Cathy

  6. Will be thinking of you and your gorgeous Sam with lots of love all day xxx

  7. oh good luck to all of you! gosh no operations here but might be finn's tonsils coming out next year! and I'm dreading it!


  8. All the best Jane! Only grommets and tonsils removed in this house. My little niece has Nystagmus and lazy eyes and has been operated on once for now! I know it is not nice but she was amazing and so strong. Letitia x

  9. I hope it all goes very very well Jane.

  10. This WILL be the one Jane, all of my positive thoughts are tracking your way for success with this most beautiful of little fellows.

    I'm watching Gift.2 jumping around and singing after her nose operation yesterday and visualising that outcome for Sam too ie: happy and bouncy after a couple of hours.

    My love and best wishes to all the PB family.
    Big big hug dear one,

    Felicity xx

  11. Good luck Jane. I know it can be tempting to leave these things but actually it is often better to sort it out when they are younger.

    You have had a bad run with surgeries. We have been much luckier. Am thinking of you xo

  12. Lots of love coming your way to pull you through. Sounds like you know the routine by now, not that it makes it any easier. It's really hard and I think you'll need to take some 'recovery' time for yourself when Sam is home and as good as new.
    X Briohny.

  13. Good luck Jane. I will be thinking of you and Sam. Remember modern medicine is such a wonderful thing. The surgeons these days are so skilled and the equipment truly amazing. I wish Sam a trouble free surgery and a speedy recovery. Make sure you pop a couple of wines in the fridge before you leave!

  14. I hope all is going well with little Sam... and you. Sometimes worse for the mothers I think, Look forward to hearing it all went well. A x

  15. Thinking of you today Jane and hoping all goes well for Sam's surgery.
    I can only imagine the stress of all of this for you guys as parents.
    Will send lots of positive, healing vibes your way.x

  16. Seven operations - that is a lot of surgery for a mum to endure. All the best for today, thinking of you and Sam.

  17. Besties to little Sam. Hope ths is all the surgery he needs for a looooooooong time. Thinking of you all. x

  18. Wishing your family the very best outcome with today's surgery Jane. Sam is a gorgeous little man - I love that cheeky toddler shot :)

  19. Noticing you posted this yesterday, so now hoping he has had the surgery and all went well. How stressfull. Wishing you all the best. Gx

  20. Oh man! How did it go? Poor little Sam. It is totally worth a try I reckon though (as awful as it must be to have him go through surgery). I hope it is successful but even if it isn't he will do absolutely fine in life with great parents like you two :)

  21. Hope it all went well for Sam today and that all is calm on PB!

  22. Oh my...I have only just caught this post today and hope all went well for your gorgeous boy..Thinking of wishes Kym x

  23. Hope it all went well. I don't know much about squints but unfortunatly i know alot about children's hospitals and I know what you mean about the anaesthetic. The only good thing about the process is being in the children's hospital you realize that maybe you are actually lucky and although your child's problem seems big it is not as big as others. So for me even though my child can't walk or talk, feed or toilet herself I know she doesn't have a terminal illness and my stays in hospital are brief. thinking of you cheers Katherine xx

  24. Oh sweetie, I can imagine how worrying this must all be for you, not only with the surgery but also with all of Sam's appointments and having to patch his eye and so on as well as worrying about how it will develop or progress in later life. I'm not familiar with squints in littlies, although I think my cousin had one as a little girl which was corrected through patching and so on. Sending you much love and best wishes to get through Sam's op and the following days. I was only thinking today that it had been ages since I'd commented over here on your blog - must have a little catch up now on your last few posts xx

  25. Oh, I hope everything went ok for you little sam (and you for that matter). I couldn't imagine how worried I'd be if that was me. we've only had the rare A&E visit from stunt-man behaviour only resulting in minor cuts (thankfully). Sounds like you've had it rough with all the hospital happenings. I just hope all went well x

  26. Hi I just found you through your comments on art by Karena. This eye situation runs in my family. The underlying cause of the wandering for us is that the brain will only accept one image, instead of the two, which causes alternation. At some point one eye wants to dominate, so surgery goes into the works. My brother's was done over 40 years ago and has worked perfectly. Best to you, and let us know how things went.

  27. Jane, I do hope all went well today and you and your gorgeous little Sam are recuperating well...Enjoy the weekend, xv.

  28. Just said a little prayer for the pixie, and will try to keep doing so. Take care, Momma!

  29. Oh my! I am simply overwhelmed for all your kind expressions of support and caring. This is why I love this bloggy caper ☺. Your comments really helped carry me through a harrowing day.

    Katherine, you are an inspiration and you're right about the perspective issue. Thank goodness your daughter has you as her advocate.

    Thanks for stopping by, DCD. Ah, someone with an idea of what is involved here. The surgeon says even if we get his eyes to lock in and track together, he'll never be able to be a fighter pilot ☺.

    Sammy is sleeping now. We'll try to have a quiet day. Mind you, we have to prepare for Miss India's 3rd birthday party tomorrow! J x

  30. Hi Jane, I just read your post and so glad everything went smoothly. It is hard when you feel helpless to fix their problems:( We have only had grommits x 2 and adnoids so far but that is 3 ops by 2 1/2! All my love, enjoy India's party xx

  31. How stressful - hopefully it will be a huge success and a quick recovery (for everyone).

    Popped over to share this with you - hopefully will add a little joy to your weekend:

    Thinking of you - XO L

  32. I had a squint as a child, one operation when I was four years old, exercises for my and glasses. Didn't wear glasses full time until I was an adult, use to just wear them when I was reading. Just fortunate I never wanted to be a pilot, firewoman, policewoman or any jobs that require excellent eyesight otherwise I get to do everything I want to do. Take care. Cheers Charmaine

  33. Hope he is on the mend - my youngest daughter, now 17, had three major operations before she was three months old, one at 9 and the last earlier this year when she was 16. So I know all about the anxiety and fear.

  34. My thoughts are with you all, I hope that he is now settled and everything went well with India's birthday. Take Care.
    Helen xo

  35. Thanks, ladies. Your kindness has really moved me. I've felt uplifted by all your support.

    Simone, yes, the pixies' 4 ENT operations probably deserve a post of their own. You can relate to how I feel.

    Ooh, Laura, thanks for that, Sweetie! Will have a look soon. How fancy ☺.

    Thanks, Charmaine - that's reassuring. You're the first person I've heard of who's had the surgery.

    It's definitely something I'd rather do without, Loz, that's for sure.

    Thanks, Helen. The birthday's tomorrow. Presents wrapped but no cake made yet...J x

  36. Hi Jane, I hope everything went really well.
    Best wishes.

  37. oh my! you are one awesome brave mum!

    I don't know if my heart could take that many operations in such a short time - so glad to hear that everything went well and here's to a speedy recovery and permanent fix!

    hope you can find some time to rest up to.
    my thoughts are with you :)

  38. DEAR Jane,
    Yes, that moment
    when they are put
    under and look so
    tiny and vulnerable
    on the gurney got me
    We've had five surgeries
    for various things between
    the two kiddos but no
    eye problems. It's amazing
    how well your little man
    has responded and I am sending
    him {and you!} big bloggy
    prayers that this positive
    trend will continue.
    Happy weekend and a speedy
    recovery to little Sam!
    xx Suzanne

  39. Hope it all went well with your little one's op.

  40. I hope it all went well...take care lovely Jane and so pleased you found that sweet little book. Enjoy reading it to the Pixies!

  41. Fingers crossed everything went well and that this will be the last operation for poor little Sam!


  42. Thanks again, ladies. Your support means the world to me.

    Yes, Naomi, I am hoping that is the last operation for them all. Sincerely.

    Suzanne, you know what it feels like. I am so relieved Friday is over.

    Thanks for stopping by Planet Baby, Jo - you're very kind to comment like that.

    Thanks, Sarah. Yes, I'm now waiting on the postman ☺.

    Signe, you're a sweetheart. I have my fingers crossed as well. J x

  43. Jane,
    this is the best thing you can do for him! I know it's heartwrenching seeing your baby go under anaesthetic. I've seen mine on a number of occasions. And I know the doctors know how precious their patient is ... in fact, I think they realise they have two people to look after your son and you!

    As a toddler, my brother had a number of operations to fix his squint, and that was more than 35 years ago. His eyes are fine now. He's also now a doctor! So remember, this is just one step in a long life for little Sam, and it's the best thing you can do for him.

  44. Glad all went well. There is nothing worse than when they are not well. Hang in there doctors work marvels and each little thing helps. Thinking of you all. Love Jo xxxx

  45. Glad all whent well Jane, I cant imagine seeing one of my little ones 'go under' either. I hope this one does the trick for him.

  46. Thanks so much for the reassurance, MMMC - it means a lot to me.

    And, Jo! How cool to see you here ☺. Thanks so much. He's a little trooper, thank goodness.

    Yes, Bec, all fingers and toes are crossed on Planet Baby. Thanks for your concern. J x

  47. Oh Jane! Seven different surgeries? The little pixies! Oh my! Off to read how it all went... xx

  48. Yes, Honey. I'll post on that one day. I truly value your compassion. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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