Monday, November 22, 2010

Do You See What I See? Part I

Thursday afternoon, Emma (11.5), said to me that she was having trouble seeing things on the computer. "It's been going on for a little while now, where straight lines look wavy and round objects look squished and oblong."

I led her over to a small cabinet. "Does this look wavy?" I asked. "Yes," she said, and so do the blinds and the lines between the tiles."

Now any mother of any child is going to react when the child starts having weird visual disturbances, but Emma is already blind in her right eye. When she was born there was a vein that grew into her field of vision. On that vein is a calcium deposit and a bubble of fluid. These things combine to block the center of her vision. She has peripheral vision and a little on the inside of the eye, but dead center is blank, blinding that eye. But this wasn't a huge issue, because aside from being a bit farsighted, Emma could see just fine out of the left eye. Until now.

I quickly called a few doctors and got her an appointment first thing Friday morning. The first appointment that was available in the morning was with a friend from high school. My mom had seen him and was impressed, so I was delighted that he had an opening early.

We explained to Dr. Lloyd what was going on with Emma. He had her eyes dilated, scanned and examined. As he showed us the scan he explained, "As you can see here there is fluid and debris under her retina. This fluid is bending the retina which distorts her vision."

He paused and looked at us. "Now the question you have to have is, does this have anything to do with the right eye? I don't know. But logic says, it has to."

Emma looked at me with some panic. She knows very well that she's blind in her right eye and if the same process was happening in the left...

Dr. Lloyd left to call the retinal specialist and see if we could get in now. Emma slumped in her chair and said, "I'm scared." I went over to her and hugged her. I wanted to cry and was fighting against the tears that were swelling. Someone had just told me that my little girl, my avid reader, was going blind. Or might be going blind. I wanted to sit down and just have a good ol' cry. But I needed to be strong for Emma. We had so little information at that point and my friend, Mike was trying to get us into the specialist who could give us that information. Mike came in and told us that the retinal specialist would take us right now and one of the nurses would walk us over to the specialist's office.

As we left, Dr. Lloyd looked me in the eye. Despite my chipper disposition, he could see that I was fighting back the tears and the worry. "Call me," he said, "and tell me what they say." I nodded, shook his hand and thanked him.

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