two three weeks since Little was wheeled into theatre for her second Bilateral Strabismus surgery and while I’d like to see it was smooth sailing unfortunately I can’t. This time ’round was less gondola by moonlight in Venice and more rubber duck with a puncture tossing about on a choppy sea with a great white circling beneath. Okay, maybe not quite worthy of the Jaws soundtrack but you get my drift.
Check-in at Hotel Eye Hospital went smoothly enough. As smoothly as a 4am wake-up call and 1-hour drive to Pretoria can with a toddler who has been ‘nil by mouth’ since midnight. I think she suspected something was up when we walked into the ward and she went from happy camper to cling-on in about the time it takes for me to need to pee these days*. And when we put on the hospital-issue t-shirt**, well, her expression while I tried to take a selfie says it all…
Being the second youngest*** patient that particular morning, we didn’t have to wait long for the (always wonderful, super caring, extraordinarily efficient) nurses that never fail to put us at ease to get Little prepped and good to go. Then it was my turn to get theatre-ready in ‘Size L’ standard issue blue scrubs (rather snug around the mid-section****) and do my best brave mom impression as I was instructed to take a seat beside the operating table, hold her tight and let the anaesthetist do his thing. “Be prepared, she’s going to resist, so hold her tight. And don’t be alarmed when her eyes roll back,” he said. Well, resist she did and alarmed I was.
“Alright mom, you need to leave her now,” said the surgeon. “We’ll take good care of her. See you in about an hour.”
Then we saw the surgeon, heading towards us. We stood up. He smiled… “Mr and Mrs Winderley, it went well,” he said. “What we found fit the picture of what we suspected. Both obliques were extremely tight. We had to work a bit harder to adjust the muscles as they are atypically ‘fleshy’… not your ‘standard issue’ obliques.***** She may be a little more swollen than usual as I really had to manipulate the muscles quite aggressively.”
Relieved to have Little back in the ward, now all that was left to do was wait for her to wake up. The worst was over. I mean, after the first op she popped up, a little bleary eyed, demanded her ‘Bun‘****** and guzzled down the box juice supplied by the nurse in what can only be described as a new land speed record. Um, yeah. Those were the good old days. This time ’round she woke up screaming…
… and as she screamed she cried. And as she cried, little bloody tears rolled down her cheeks. And as her little face took on the attributes of an amateur boxer who had gone up against a pro (and lost) her mom and dad felt like #worstparentsever … suffice to say, those were not my favourite couple of hours and I will forever be grateful for the daddy/daughter specialness that calmed her down and convinced her to have a much-needed power nap.
And then we were through the worst of it. She woke up. Drank something. Didn’t vom. Started making demands (“Done Mom. Home. Done.”) and at around 13h00 we got the green light from the nurse on duty to fill out the discharge paperwork. Collective nerves a tad on the shattered side, we made a bee line for the parking lot, strapped Rocky in her car seat and were only too happy when she put in a request for “Sweets, mom, sweets.”
Somebody was feeling better by the second, had quickly sussed out that the situation warranted a guilt trip or two and had her poor, hard done by, baby panda impression down to a fine art by the time day turned to night.
The next couple of days comprised of her and I co-existing (mostly in our PJs) between her bed, my bed and the couch; watching, re-watching and re-re-watching ‘Pups’ (a.k.a Paw Patrol); justifying ‘sweets’ for breakfast and reaching the conclusion that having to insert eye drops in bruised/bloodshot/”eina!” eyes three times a day is tantamount to insisting a vigilant vegetarian eat biltong for breakfast. Not. Gonna. Happen.
Thankfully, her post-op appointment 72 hours after the op was a roaring success and with zero sign of any infection or post-op complications we got the ‘all clear’ to abandon the nightly two-parents-one-toddler-extreme-sport wrestling match that was Operation: Eye Drops.
And that, #littlelenses readers, is where I shall end this blog post because despite the rocky ride ******* (and the possibly too honest ‘pic by pic’ play-by-play) all truly is well that ends well.
*As I type this I’m 31 weeks pregnant
** Too little for a hospital gown
*** Surgeries are scheduled according to age from 8am, so the littlest ones go first.
**** As I type this I’m 32 weeks pregnant. Yes, it’s taken me a week to pick up where I left off in a coffee shop seven days ago.
***** Of course not, I mean, what part of this journey has been ‘standard issue’?
****** Her beloved Lily n Jack Snuggle Bunny
******* excuse the pun