Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Second time around

We named him Owen before he was born. Young warrior. Middle name of Jacob, after his great grandfather. He carries another middle name: Bauer, his mother's maiden name. German, to maintain his heritage.

There is no doubt that he was born blind. His eyes looked like they were blind. Pediatric glaucoma.

September 14, 2007. Second surgery for Owen, the boy who was born with cloudy eyes. On Tuesday, he had a tube shunt surgically implanted in his eye to regulate the pressure. He was born with glaucoma, and he would be blind if something drastic wasn't done. The surgery went well on Tuesday, but too much fluid drained from his eye, and the doctor needed to go back in and "reform the anterior chamber."

We rose once again in the pre-dawn hours, sneaking around the hotel room to get ready, careful not to wake our sleeping daughter. Our help, my wife's mother, was summoned from across the hall. She would stay in the hotel room to watch our daughter while we went to the hospital with the boy.

Here we go again. We gathered up our diaper bag, the stroller, and my young son with the tube in his swollen eye and headed down the quiet elevator to the deserted streets of Boston. We walked once again to the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary. Past the Yawkey Pavillion, the parking garage, the bike rack. Hospital on the right. Through the big glass doors. No need to stop at the information desk - we knew to take the elevator up to the 8th floor to pediatric surgery. Slowly, the routine makes its way into your muscle memory, and you just know how to do it.

Floor number 8. Exit the elevator, push the call button and wait to be granted access to the floor. We check in at the desk, and are led once again to a hospital room where we change Owen into the world's smallest hospital gown. The thing is still huge on the boy; he's only 25 days old.

We wait.

The transportation guy arrives and takes my son and his mother down to surgery. Again, I've never made the trip, and I likely never will. Again, Dr. Walton takes the infant from my wife, and assures her that things will be fine and that it is best if she doesn't stay for the anesthesia. Calm, confident, simple. The doctor takes the boy, and my wife returns to the hospital room to look over the Charles River with me.

We head to the nurse's station, pick up a pager so they can contact us if needed (we know the routine), and head down to the cafeteria. Coffee, tea, maybe a snack. We share quiet conversation about everything and nothing.

Back to the room, and then surgery is done. Much less invasive, and things went well. Owen is retrieved by his mother, who nurses him in the surgical recovery area and then brings him back to the room.

His eye has been returned to its normal shape. Tube shunt in place. Discharged by nurses, we remove the world's smallest hospital gown. We are told to follow up with the doctor tomorrow. We walk back to the hotel, past the bike racks, parking garage, and the Yawkey Pavillion. Dinner in the hotel again, and then bedtime.

We visit Dr. Walton on Saturday morning, and things are looking good. Owen's eye is swollen, but it will get back to normal soon. Keep him healthy. Go ahead, check out of the hotel and head for home. See you next week.

Dr. Walton told us the day we met him that caring for Owen's eyes will be a marathon.

We're just getting started, but this is Owen, a young warrior.

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