My mom had it done when she was about 19 years old. My grandmother, apparently, sat in the hospital room crying, convinced that my mom would go blind.
I had it done when I was in kindergarten. I remember being in the hospital for maybe three days or so. I remember waking up and seeing everything in a green haze. I also remember getting in trouble for keeping my eyes open after hours because my hospital roomie was watching The Flintstones (I wasn’t even a big fan but it was TV!).
Theodore had it done three years ago. While in recovery he just kept falling asleep. Then he ended up with a really bad cold and a last-minute revisit to the surgeon the Sunday after his operation.
Tuesday — it was Olena’s turn.
What did we all have? Lazy eye. Strabismus surgery. Weak muscles that needed to be corrected surgically.
Both Theo and Olena had their surgery handled by Dr. Leon-Paul Noel. Dr. Noel has been following the triplets since they were in the NICU. He’s seen them grow and mature. In Theo’s case, we caught the lazy eye early enough that we were able to patch it for a while to try to correct the alignment. But, ultimately, he needed surgery.
Olena’s condition was already too far to be patched. The next step was surgery. It was a planned procedure that she was supposed to have in October, but a nasty virus caused us to postpone surgery. We at least got to wait until after the holidays to get her scheduled…which was fine.
Olena was aware of what was going on. “I have to have surgery on my lazy eye,” she’d tell people. We knew that recovery would be relatively quick since Theo had it done a few years back. We knew that she also could be able to return to relatively normal activity in a few days. She also knew that she’d have a pink eye which Gretchen kept reassuring her would be great because, “Olena, you LOVE the color pink!” That morning Olena was quite the trooper. While she avoided the breakfast table (she could not have any solids past midnight) she also refused to drink anything. She was scheduled for surgery at 11:15 but was pushed off schedule by about 40 minutes or so. She was calm and cool, and kept busy coloring until I carried her into surgery. She saw the nurses and anesthesiologist, and assorted others in scrubs — and the daunting medical equipment, and started to panic. Unfortunately, we’ve done this before (I can’t even count the number of times with her). So I held her head against my chest, looked the other way, and continually talked to her about her upcoming nap, and how when she wakes up we would go home and play. I talked to her about her growing My Little Pony collection, including the one little green horse her Uncle Bohdan has since dubbed “Grape Nuts.” She went under and I received thanks from the nurses for doing what I did… (I was just trying to avoid the laughing gas.) It seemed like we waited to hear from Dr. Noel forever, but it was only about an hour. He came out and told us how great Olena did, and how well the surgery went. When we finally got to see her she was very groggy. Very. And cranky…but drifting in and out of sleep. Her eye, what we could see of it, looked great! Her stomach after anesthesia, however, not so great. Plus, who knew, strabismus patients are most likely to get sick to their stomach following surgery. (Add to the fact that Olena would be seeing double for a few days…that doesn’t help at all!) Complaining of pain, and drifting in and out sleep, and having an upset stomach PLUS an IV that was bugging her (she was starting to swell) just got the best of her. She wanted out. She wanted home. nausea or not she was not staying put. The staff at Madison Irving Surgery Center was great with Olena and with us (we even remembered some staff from when Theodore had his surgery). They took the IV out and she fell back asleep, but they agreed to discharge her. Recovery for her took a lot longer than when Theo had his surgery. And poor honey had a hard time keeping anything down. So we just let her sleep it off…and let her lead the way in asking for water and food. We let her sleep on the couch…and I sat/slept with her. She only woke a few times, complaining of eye pain. She at least began tolerating the Motrin.
She slept relatively well. I was up a few times (ironically, with Theodore who seemed to be picking up on what Olena was going through. And, fast forward a few hours, and Gretchen tonight told me that her eye hurts just like Olena’s! Triplet power, activate.)The morning after she awoke and her color had returned. She confessed in a half-pain, half-whiney voice, that she really didn’t “like eye surgery.” But she was able to have breakfast and juice. We took a nice nap on the couch before she went back to see Dr. Noel.
And — the verdict — she did GREAT!!! Other than having a pink eye, and still feeling uncomfortable, she can go back to school tomorrow. She just can’t play gym for a month.
More importantly, she got to have her favorite — DUNKIN DONUTS with daddy after the visit.
I am so proud of my little girl. Yet another milestone, hurdle, that we have encountered…successfully 🙂
Until next time…