Ben’s 1-year check-up appointment was mostly a success. He weighs 20lbs 9oz, up 5xs his birth weight. He’s clapping, pulling to stand, eating table foods, walking along furniture, and saying simple things like “mama” and “dada”. These are all right on track with what a 12 month old should be doing and we couldn’t be happier.
Getting 4 shots and a finger poke sort of sucked the big one, but he got lots of snuggles and kisses after.
We’ve noticed over the past 4 or 5 months that Ben’s left eye dilates much more than his right when in low light. We mentioned this at his 9 month appointment and were told we’d come back to it if it was still an issue at his year. Ben’s right eye also has near constant drainage and often needs warm compresses to clear out.
We were referred to an eye doctor and miraculously nabbed the one open appointment in 2014 for Friday. (We’ve met our deductible and then some, so anything we can get in this year, the better!) I was warned it would be a 2 hour appointment and Ben would have to have his eyes dilated.
You know that episode of Friends where they have to pin Rachel down to put drops in her eye? That gives you an idea of a FRACTION of the fear I feel when it comes to eye doctors. I cry, I sweat, I shake…my personal hell would be an eternity of math classes and eye examines. I do not exaggerate here, friends.
Like always, Ben was a champ, even when the nurse put in the drops that stung his poor little eyes. The most traumatizing thing for him was when I had to take his bottle away to go back in the exam room. Oh, were there tears and screams.
When it comes to the dilation issue, the eye doctor didn’t see anything scary pressing on the nerve, or nerve damage. He referred it back to our primary doctor to decide what to do next; wait and see, pursue further testing, neurologist, etc. We will talk to her Monday so I’ll know more then. It’s a little unsettling to wonder what is causing his eye to not work properly, but I guess for now that I will be grateful there was nothing immediately concerning that he could see.
The clogged/underdeveloped tear duct is the immediate issue. The odds of it healing on its own now that he’s a year old is 1-2%. A simple surgery is needed to put a probe in Ben’s duct to open it up. He won’t need full anesthesia and the procedure will take next to no time.
But still…haven’t we already done enough sending him in to surgery once?
I called the coordinator immediately after the appointment with the slimmest of hope that I could get Ben in this year (remember about the deductible) but of course, they were full up. So I scheduled the surgery for January, called Dustin to fill him in and then sat in the car for a good twenty minutes while Ben napped in complete, numb disbelief: we will be $6 grand in the hole before the end of January.
Deductibles are our worst enemy. We met our 2013 one, then met our 2014 one under my insurance, then when we switched to Dustin’s we met it again thanks to PT and the helmet. That friends is how you can become so far in medical debt even when you have insurance.
Disbelief is the best word I can think of to describe that moment. I wasn’t angry, sad, scared…just numb to it all. Resigned to a life always under the thumb of medical debt.
A half hour later the coordinator called Dustin and I to say that the doctor decided to do surgeries on Christmas Eve morning and would we like to switch our appointment?
Gee, let me think…YES!
I hate medical insurance! I hate that we are choosing to spend Christmas Eve in the goddamn hospital because it means the difference of $6,000. Waiting 3 weeks would mean we would owe $6,000 of what I’m sure will be a $10,000+ procedure. Doing it on Christmas Eve means it’s under our deductible.
So that’s that. Surgery on Christmas Eve. Unanswered questions about his other eye. I’m grateful and numb and tired and feeling so sorry that Ben has to do another surgery.
But we’ll be home for Christmas morning, and in our little family, that’s progress.