Sunday, September 11, 2016

Removing the patch

September 12th, 2007. Yesterday the boy with the dark blue eyes had surgery on his right eye. Pediatric glaucoma. His eye pressure had risen to an unsatisfactory level, and continued pressure in the eye would damage the optic nerve and eventually lead to blindness. The best surgery to manage his pressure was to have a small tube implanted in his eye. The tube would allow fluid out, maintaining a safe eye pressure.

Surgery went well yesterday, and we spent the day in the hotel resting. We awoke today and ate a bit of breakfast in the hotel. Then we walked on over to Dr. Walton's office for his first post-op check up. The boy slept propped up on a pillow, the cloth covered metal eye patch still covering his right eye.

When we arrived at Dr. Walton's office, there were other patients waiting. We sat down and made small talk with some other parents of children with eye problems. Glaucoma? Yes. Surgery was yesterday and went well. He's three weeks old. Born with glaucoma. It's a drag.

Dr. Walton manages his own office. No receptionist, no nurse. It's just him, walking from the exam room to the waiting area, making appointments, chatting with parents and patients. When he exits this time he calls us in and asks us to sit down. As he is walking out of the exam room for a moment to greet another patient, he asks us to remove the patch that the boy has been wearing since surgery. The doctor exits the room for a moment.

My wife slowly peels the tape away from the boy's face and forehead, exposing his right eye.

Red, swollen, bruised.

Holy shit. We look at each other. Is this normal? Holy fuck this looks bad. Should we call Dr. Walton back into the exam room right away? Jesus, this looks bad.

We wait.

When Dr. Walton enters, he is calm and confident. He asks how the boy is doing.

Quick! Look at his eye! Is this normal?

He assures us that his eye is fine. The redness and swelling are totally normal. He checks his eye and assures us everything is fine. Protect his eye, but no need for the metal patch. Everything is fine. We make an appointment to check in again the next day, and then make our way back to the hotel room. If everything is ok, we should be able to head back to Albany tomorrow.

We hang around the rest of the day, eating lunch and relaxing, keeping the boy upright and his eye protected. I need to leave Boston and head back home - work in the morning.  But 3 pm rolls into 4 pm which rolls into dinner time. I leave after dinner, following the GPS map around the Prudential Center about 6 times, lost in Boston. (They put an entire highway underground in Boston! This can make driving with the aid of a GPS difficult. I can see the road on the map, right there! But the road is not in front of me, it's underground.)

I finally get on the highway and head for home. I arrive in Albany, have a bite to eat, and get some rest. Early morning. Work at 7 am.

My wife stays in Boston with the kids and her parents. Another checkup with Dr. Walton on Thursday and then they should be heading home.

The boy is checked by the doctor on Thursday morning. I get the call from my wife telling me they won't be coming home that day.

There's a problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment