Saturday, February 05, 2011

Preparing for Treatment

Last Friday, my brother-in-law and his wife had twins.  Over the weekend, Wendell and I visited them in the hospital.  Despite the fact that we were there to rejoice in the birth of two sweet little babies (Andrew and Amanda), the conversation turned to our kids and the concern about their eyes.

We talked about Emma and how she was due for her next treatment and how high her terror level had been at the last appointment.  I worried how I could get her to sit still and calm down enough for the shot.

As we visited, my brother-in-law said that when his wife had received laser eye treatments, to correct her vision, they put her on Valium or something, so that she wouldn't worry about the procedure.  It seemed like a brilliant idea.

First thing Monday morning, I placed a call to the pharmacist.  I explained the situation and asked about the Valium.

"No way," he said. "She'll sleep for the next two days."

"I had been hoping that she might be able to take something that would get her through the treatment, but still allow her to do her homework afterward."

He made a couple of recommendations, the best of which was Xanax.  He told me that it could stay with her for a couple of hours, but she should be fairly functional.

"Lots of people take it to fly," he explained.

My next call Monday morning was to my retinal specialist, wondering if they could please give Emma something, Xanax perhaps, to reduce her level of stress and terror at getting a shot in her eye.


There are two retinal specialist at the clinic here in Utah County and, unfortunately, both of their last names start with C.  So I'm going to number them for you, to help you keep them straight.  Dr. One is the original retinal specialist here in Utah County.  Dr. Two is his partner who has joined the practice fairly recently.

The day after Emma first told me of her visual distortions, we saw Dr. Two.  Emma had seen Dr. One twice before, so I didn't really want to see Dr. Two.  On the other hand, Emma had a problem and need to be seen immediately.

When Dr. Two came in the room, he seemed rushed.  He would ask questions like, "Why are you here?", then say, "Uh huh, uh huh," all the way through my explanation in a way that made it seem that I was giving him redundant information.  He wasn't particularly interested in listening to anything Emma had to say (mostly about loving school, loving to read and wishing she was there).  I tolerated Dr. Two, because he was my only option that morning and looked forward to seeing Dr. One next time.

I waited on the phone for the tech, Chadwick, to come back on the phone and tell us what the doctor had said.  I was surprised when the voice on the other end said, "This is Richard Two."

Dr. Two, himself had come to the phone, so I asked him about prescribing Xanax for Emma.  He thought that it was a good idea for her to take it, but was hesitant to prescribe.

"I'm nervous prescribing for her.  I frankly don't know how to prescribe that for a child.  I'm not trying to push you off, but I think that it would be a good idea if you called her pediatrician for a prescription."

I instantly felt bad/nervous because it was Emma's pediatrician's day off.  I happen to know where he lives because he's been my parents bishop for the last 5 years.  Still, I hate to call him at home.  Yet I felt sure no on-call pediatrician was going to give me Xanax for my 11-year-old.  I think I may have audibly sighed, because Dr. Two apologized for the inconvenience again.  Then he shifted topics.

"I ran into Dr. Lloyd on Friday as I was leaving," Dr. Two informed me.  "He told me about your other children."

He seemed intrigued about them from a medical standpoint.  It's rare enough to ever know one child Emma's age with this condition, let alone three in the same family.  The odds against this are astronomical.  But he paused with compassion.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Thank you," I replied.

He stayed on the phone with me for 15 minutes discussing the best course of action for my family and his willingness to work Nathan and Annika in immediately.  I appreciated the conversation, his interest in helping my children and even the compassion from someone who had struck me as rather cool and clinical.

After making several more calls to the Moran Eye Center, Dr. Lloyd's office and the pediatrician, I called the retinal specialist back.  I was unsure when the docs at the Moran would see my kids, but I knew Dr. Two would see them that week.  I called the receptionist.  True to his word, Dr. Two had left a message that I would call and they worked Nathan and Annika in on Friday, even though Dr. Two's schedule had been full for weeks.

The pediatrician was so kind when I called.  He had heard about my kids' condition on Sunday and was more than happy to help.  He asked about Emma's height and weight and was only slightly irritated that the other docs wouldn't prescribe for her since she's adult size.  He had some Xanax at his house and if I could come right over I could have it.  Bless him.  I threw on some clothes (I'd been making calls in my PJs) and rushed right over.  Emma would get to try her shot the next day all hopped up on some good stuff and I was hopeful that she wouldn't be screaming this time.

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