Saturday, October 29, 2011

Morning Glory Syndrome: 1200 Miles Later

After our first appointment with Dr. Bradford in February, you can read about that here, we started regular visits to his office every 4 weeks. 

We developed a pretty steady routine: leave work, go home, grab our clothes and NG, drop GG off somewhere, and get on the road.  Approximately 3 hours later we would pull into LE and D's driveway where we would spend the night.  The next morning it was up and on into Little Rock for NG's appointment and then straight home to unpack, meet GG at the bus stop, and get ready to go back to work the next day.

I'm going to stop here for a moment and give a completely inadequate but absolutely heartfelt thank you to the wonderful people that have been so generous with their endless support and help.  L's sister LE and her husband D opened their home to us on a monthly basis, and later when NG actually had surgery they allowed us to stay with them indefinitely so we could be closer to her doctor.  My mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles took care of GG and although I couldn't honestly tell you exactly who she was with all of the time I did know she was always in good hands.  T, a friend of L's from the SO, came and stayed at our house and took care of our animals. When he wasn't available my friend C was always happy to help with animal sitting.  Our church members, friends, family and coworkers have always been, and still remain, close offering encouragement, prayers, concern, and any tidbit of helpful information they might come into contact with. 

But some of our greatest support has come from our oldest daughter, GG.  Not once in all the time that we have dedicated to NG and this Morning Glory Syndrome has GG ever implied, either by word or action, that we should do anything less.  She has never pouted or sulked about the time and attention given to NG, she has always taken everything in stride and with a maturity beyond her years.  I asked her about her feelings toward the situation this summer.  And her response to me?  "Momma, I wish it wasn't necessary but not that you wouldn't do it."  Yep, she made me cry!  Now back to the story...

In March we returned for the second appointment and Dr. Bradford thought it looked like there was less fluid behind the retina and in the center point of her vision.  Now the chances of this reversing itself were slim to none but not entirely impossible.  So it was decided that we would wait and see where we were in a month.

In April we returned for the third appointment and the examination showed the fluid level was back up.  At that point Dr. Bradford decided to try some laser surgery.  It's painless and could be performed right there in the office before we left.  The idea was to use a laser to seal the edge of the retina on one side and hopefully it would push the fluid out the other side and lay back down.  So we did the laser surgery and returned home to wait and see where we were in a month.

In May we returned for the fourth appointment and our second round of laser surgery.  Dr. Bradford couldn't really see much change and decided to attempt sealing the edge from another angle.  So again we did the laser surgery and then returned home to wait and see where we were in a month. 

Can I just say this is one the most difficult things to do as a parent?  I've mentioned this time to wait before, but it's hard!  As a parent your instinct is to be proactive, unfortunately when your child has a medical condition sometimes the only action available to you is being reactive.  It stinks!!

On June 4, 2008 we returned for our fifth appointment and the examination showed no significant improvement. It was time to move on to the next course of action, a complete vitrectomy.  A vitrectomy is basically this: remove the jellylike substance from the eye, inject a gas bubble into the eye, and place the patient face down for 10-14 days.  The concept is to allow the gas bubble to push the fluid out from behind the retina, sort of like pushing air out from behind wallpaper, and then it will apply pressure while allowing the retina to re adhere to the eye.  Simple, right??  Did you happen to catch that part about being face down for two weeks? 

We scheduled surgery for the next week, left the doctors office, and drove back to LE and D's house to discuss particulars before going home.  We had seven days to make arrangements for GG, the pets, the house, work, and of course NG's recovery. 

Since surgery was scheduled on a Thursday we drove down on Wednesday night and L stayed until Sunday afternoon.  Then he returned home and to work, but NG and I remained in Central Arkansas with LE and D for some (face)down time.  Yea, I know it's not a very good play on words but it's all I had.

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