Our Journey with a Cross-Eyed Child
When our fourth child was about two and a half her left eye started to turn in. It may have been subtle for months but when you see someone daily it can be hard to notice something like this until it is fairly obvious. And at its worst it was very obvious. It runs in my family; Lazy eye, cross-eyed, or the technical term Strabismus Amblyopia. For our daughter, the way the Doctor put it the muscles on the inside of each eye were too tight or shorter than the opposite side causing them to turn in. There are multiple things you can do to treat it but most eventually lead to surgery. We did start with the less drastic option and had her use a patch over her stronger eye for a few hours a day. Originally she hated it, but being a girly girl we found some with princesses, mermaid, teddy bears, and fairies, all with glitter to boot. This helped a bit but being three at this point and telling her to basically wear sticker over one eye was not easy. Eventually we moved on to glasses, at first she hated it, but eventually realized that she actually could see better with the glasses. Still after the less evasive options were done she still had a significant eye turn. Next up Surgery. Naturally this was done while my husband was away at some sort of training. It’s been a few years since so I can’t remember where he was that time, I just remembered that he couldn’t be there. I opted to not tell our daughter what all was about to happen because she was going to be asleep for the whole thing. I didn’t want to scare her. But the plan for surgery was for the Doctor to adjust the inside muscles on each eye so they could turn back out. I am sure there are more technical terms for all that they did but that is the gist of what I understood.
On the day of surgery, thanks to a wonderful church family, it got to be a mommy daughter day. I was able to get her to the surgical center and we got to snuggle and I got to help her into a fun gown and some grippy socks that she loved and still wears despite how much she’s grown. At this point I started to tell her about what was going to happen, sort of. I said she was going to get to go take a walk with the nice nurse and get to breath into a special mask and get to take a long nap while her Doctor did his thing. I made sure to repeat myself that Mommy was going to be here the whole time and be there as soon as she woke up to give her as many cuddles as she wanted. Then the nurse took her away and that was that. I had to stay in a tiny little room that she had changed in the whole time, felt like hours but was really only just over an hour. When the nurse came to get me she looked stressed, but reassured me that baby girl was ok just not coming out of the anesthesia in the best of moods. Now in my past experience with her daddy’s surgery’s the person waking up can be a good source of entertainment. Not my child. Apparently her response is to scream. She screamed for a total of forty-five minutes. forty-four of those minutes were in my arms. I honestly didn’t know I had that in me to sit there for so long and console an inconsolable child. The nurses kept reassuring me that some kids just react that way when waking up, but still doesn’t make it much easier in the moment. Eventually she did calm down but that was a moment that I will never forget. It is never easy to do what you know is best for your child when you know it will cause them any sort of pain. Thankfully though she really wasn’t in too much pain from the whole thing. Thanks to having it done at an early age, the only thing she remembers is getting her grippy socks.
The surgery for the most part was a success, but she will need glasses for a few years if not the rest of her life. This week she had another annual check-up to see how her eyes are growing and if there is any change good or bad. Her eyes still do turn slightly but the glasses seem to be doing their job in correcting it. She did receive a new prescription but thankfully it wasn’t too big of a change.
My reasons for sharing this with everyone is that if you are facing the same situation with one of your little ones. I’m here for you, I’ve been there with all of the doctor’s appointments, patches, glasses, eye drops, and surgery. This situation was a little hard at first because a fair share of people around us were trying to convince me that we could just pray for it to be fixed and it would be fixed. That is not always the case. I do believe in miracles and that sometimes prayers get answered that way, and this was just not one of those times. We did pray, and prayed for guidance and asked what to do. Within the next week we had four different people from very different parts of our life all telling us to go see this one doctor. In other words, there was our answer.