Porter is now attending the rival school of the one I attended growing up. We are fortunate to have choices with the boys’ education and we feel like it is in Porter’s best interest to go to the school to which we’ve just enrolled him. But it feels a little like he’s “gone to the dark side,” as my dad put it. Enough about local school politics, though.
Now, the rest of this post won’t be about the dark side at all. It’s about how fortunate we are to have Porter as healthy and smart as he is.
And you’ll undoubtedly notice something different about Porter, above…he got glasses yesterday! I took this picture late at night when he was exhausted, so it’s not the best picture, but I assure you that he is thrilled with his acquisition. I had put an applique on our apartment wall that has rhinestones on it when we moved in several weeks ago and Porter’s question this morning was, “What is all that glittery stuff on the wall?” His eyesight was bad enough that he hadn’t been able to see the shiny bits on the wall.
Now, this glasses issue is a huge relief to me as a mother. Porter’s eyes have been a looming concern since he was born. Porter was on a ventilator from just about an hour after he was born until he was 39 hours old. Then, he was on oxygen for nearly 4 weeks. All of that saved his life and I am forever grateful to the University of Iowa Hospital’s NICU doctors and nurses.
However, the intubation and oxygen put Porter’s eyes at risk for retinopathy of prematurity. So, he had an eye exam at 6 weeks old. I will never, ever forget the sound of his screaming as they had to pry his eyes open to be able to look into them. The doctor said that the health of Porter’s eyes was great, considering what he’d been through.
When he was 18 months old, though, his right eye started to turn inward. For a while, we had a bonafide cross-eyed child. We took him to the same eye doctor that had seen him as an infant. He had to wear a pirate patch for a while to strengthen the eye as much as possible before surgery, and then she did perform surgery to correct the strabismus. All was well instantly after that, though he’s never had perfectly blue eyes since. His only scar from that eye surgery is that there is a slightly brown streak toward the bottom of the iris of Porter’s right eye. I’ll take it, gladly, to have his eyes aligned properly!
So we forgot about it for a couple of years. Then a mom from Porter’s original playgroup posted a picture of her Kindergarten son in glasses and I knew it was time to get Porter in for an eye exam given the fact that everyone in our family wears glasses full-time. That was a year and a half ago and when we first took him to the doctor, he couldn’t read the big E on the chart with his right eye. The doctor said it wasn’t even worth putting him in glasses, the vision was so bad. It was 20/400 vision out of his right eye.
We asked around and took him to a local doctor in the same practice who did the original surgery. He prescribed putting a patch over Porter’s left eye and so we did so for several months. However, at appointment after appointment, there was negligible difference. The local doctor referred us to a doctor in Atlanta. Still, he said there was no reason for glasses.
This “no glasses” thing worried me as a mother. It didn’t make logical sense to me that there was no prescription that could help.
At this point, I have to admit that we dropped the ball on Porter’s eyes for a few months, much to my own shame. However, we got him into a new optometrist yesterday, for a baseline with the intention of following up with the original referral afterward. I explained Porter’s history and this doctor was very, very patient. He did a thorough exam and dilated Porter’s eyes. Poor Porter, he must remember subconsciously that 6-week old exam…he screamed through putting the drops in his eyes, for the dilation.
The result of yesterday’s exam is that this optometrist thinks that Porter probably needs another year of patching. He referred us to a different practice than the original referral, out of the same children’s hospital system in Atlanta, though. In the few months since Porter’s last eye exam, his left eyesight has faded a little, probably due to the strain of not being able to see out of that right eye. This optometrist also had the opinion that there should be optimal sight out of the weak eye even while patching, so he prescribed lenses for both eyes.
I called this morning and made the appointment with the Atlanta doctor. Porter goes in next Wednesday.
You know what? This is all a big hassle and it won’t be easy socially. But Porter is brilliant…he can read just about anything, and that was before he got glasses. I’m a tad afraid of how smart this child will be when he doesn’t have to struggle with his sight! I’m thankful for the hassle, though.
It could be so much worse. Porter could have been like Baby Easton in the NICU, whose lungs were destined to get worse instead of better. Porter’s neurological issues could have never healed. His swallowing issues when he was a few months old could have translated to a feeding tube, as the pediatric gastroenterologist warned, instead of growing out of the problems.
As always, my mind goes to Joey, the angel whose mommy was brave enough to support me online while Porter was in the hospital so far away from everyone I knew. And to the other BabyCenter mommies in our miscarriage group, some of whom I still keep up with on FB. You ladies were my prayer warriors when I needed them and you kept me grounded. I will be forever grateful.
As it turns out, Porter’s “bad” eye has progressed from 20/400 vision to 20/100 vision. Otherwise, Porter is healthy, smart, loving, sensitive…I could go on forever about my firstborn, whose pregnancy and first few weeks were terrifying to this already anxious mommy.
It could have been so much worse. Bad vision? I’ll take it with open arms.