So I know just the other day I said I’m no longer a worrier. But… no sooner had the keyboard cooled from my from my frantic ‘write everything quick before naptime ends’ type-fest, did I start worrying about the thing that I’ve known was happening for a while but put to the back of my mind to avoid bursting into tears because last Tuesday Henry had surgery to correct his squint.
Everyone around me was so calm about it, it’s a common procedure, you’re home the same day and you’d probably be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know of someone who’s had squint surgery. His doctor – who’s incredible – was so blase about it, although I’m not sure I’d want any other attitude as there’s no way I’d let anyone with an inch of doubt as to his capabilities anywhere near my baby’s eyes with a sharp object. Nevertheless my heart actually hurt everytime I thought about it.
Despite having fasted, Henry was in such good spirits before the surgery, playing in the waiting room blissfully unaware of what was to come which made his pain when he woke up all the more heartbreaking. He’d been relieved of his hanger when he drifted of to sleep, alarmingly quickly and I left the theatre in tears to wait out the longest 90 minutes of my life. He woke up with closed, swollen eyes covered in ointment and his tears were blood stained, crying hunger, confusion and pain. We gave him his milk, having to restrain his arms from rubbing his eyes – let me tell you, preventing a child from rubbing their eyes is up there with trying to cut their toenails; nigh on impossible.
The rest of the day was a blur, we went home he spent most of the day asleep, or trying to open his eyes and immediately crying. Although he ate a chicken dinner with his eyes closed which I thought was pretty impressive, clearly it’ll take a bit more then strabismus surgery to put Henners off his food.
Watching my baby in pain was the hardest thing I’ve had to do so far as his Mama. I felt guilty that I’d chosen for him to be where he was. I’d chosen for him to be put to sleep and I’d chosen for him to wake up sore and confused. We could’ve chosen to wait until he was a little older, when we could’ve explained what was happening to him. But we’d decided to do it now, when he’d not understand why he’d gone to sleep and woken up uncomfortable, in hope that he won’t remember anything when he’s older.
It wasn’t just the surgery we want him to forget, we’d chosen to operate earlier to avoid Henry hearing comments we’ve heard about his eyes. A few weeks ago we were in a coffee shop with my mum and she overheard two fully grown women whispering about Henry’s squint as we were leaving. When she told me, after the initial mother-bear-protecting-her-cub style rage, I felt a little more confident we’d made the right decision for our little boy. It wasn’t the first time, and it’s only a matter of time before Henry hears comments, whispers and stares. He’s a growing into a happy, sociable and outgoing toddler and I can’t bear the thought of his confidence being knocked before he’s even found his feet in the world.
So I hope that when he’s older Henry feels we’ve made the right choice for him. We had a tough few days but by Saturday he was back to his usual cheeky self, terrorising the feral pug and generally making himself very busy running up and down, doing his best to dodge his four-times-daily eye drops. He was quite happy revisiting the hospital for his check up on Friday so I’m hopeful that he’s already forgotten the experience and it’s not one that he’ll have to go through again, although we’ll have to wait until his check up in a few months to see.
I’ve never spoken about it here before, I’m not really sure why. I think it’s because I know that it’s a drop in the ocean compared to what some families are going through and I’m conscious of that. But I found the experience tough and I’ve not seen alot in the blogosphere about squint surgery, despite how common it is so thought I’d share my thoughts just on the off chance that my ramblings might be of help to someone else.
Has your little one ever had squint surgery? I’d love to hear your experiences.