Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Sight For Sore Eyes

Yes, I am sure that this could be said of me lately, what with all of the running around and babysitting and craziness and all of that going on and me just trying to keep up with it all. Sigh. I wish this post were about me actually. But it isn't. It's about my day on Monday.

If you remember in this post I was talking about Oralee's doctor's appointment and the fact that they did the quick strep which came back negative. Guess who got a call at noon yesterday and was told that the cultured strep test came back positive? Oh yeah. That was me. So I had the pleasure of calling the school to have them pull her from class after telling them on Monday that she was cleared to go back to school. Yeah, total fail. That really upsets me. It makes me look like I don't know what I am doing as a parent (and you know, quite honestly, there are times when that is ABSOLUTELY true!)

So I walked up to the school (because Hubby left my keys at his mom's house on Monday when he was over there with the kids while she and I went to that Pampered Chef party) and called Hubby at the same time to ask him to drive over to the school so that Oralee doesn't have to walk home.

I get there to pick her up and she is distraught. I mean ABSOLUTELY distraught. Why? Because she will miss out on "Plan-Do-Review", the highlight of the Kindergarten day. Basically it is a play time where they get to Plan which area they are going to play in, then they get to Do it and then afterwards, they Review it with the teacher. And I made her miss out on it by having her pulled from class. Whoops.

I try to make it better for her by taking her out for lunch. She had already eaten, but I hadn't yet, so she had a strawberry shake with extra strawberries (because the bartender loves her - we went to Hubby's work, a neighborhood bar and grill) and fries while I ate my lunch. I think it made up for missing Plan Do Review just a little bit. At least, she didn't say anything more about it.

Wow, that was a bit of a side note. That wasn't even what this blog post is about. It's about Koren actually. You see, Koren has bad vision. As in really really bad vision. He wears glasses and in his good eye, his vision is 20/70. In his bad eye, it is 20/200. That is WITH correction. Without correction, it is more like 20/200 and 20/400. In essence, he is legally blind in one eye.

We have tried a few different things to improve his eyesight. Patching his good eye to make his bad eye work harder didn't really work very well because he would cheat and look through the corner. His optometrist intentionally wrote a stronger prescription for his glasses on the good side to make it a little bit blurry so that his other eye would have to work even harder. Neither option really helped much.

We went to see the pediatric opthamologist and his recommendation was one of three things (really there is a fourth option but it is connected to one of the other options.

  • Patch the good eye. We have done this before. It didn't work well, so he doesn't really want to repeat this option again.
  • Put dilation drops in Koren's good eye. It's a long-lasting drop that we would give to him on Saturday and Sunday and it would last the whole week. Basically, it would make his good eye dilate for the whole week and his bad eye would need to work harder to compensate for it. Koren can't cheat and see around it. The only problem is that there are side effects to doing this. Right now, we do not know what the child can actually see but he seems to be doing fairly well compensating on his own. I mean, he is now reading at grade level and everything. His grades and work ethic are outstanding. If we do this, he may not be able to see anything. He may not be able to see to read, might not be able to do his own work, he will likely have headaches and he will have sun sensitivity. He may have depth perception issues which could include off-balance, light headedness, nausea and even vomiting. But he might not have all of this, or most likely just some of this. The doctor said that most likely only his vision directly in front of him about two feet (roughly the length of his arm) would be affected. He should still be able to see from a distance. The doctor would want to re-evaluate him in three months to see the difference if any.
  • Use the dilation drops and remove the lens from his glasses on the good side. This is so that the good eye has NO additional help at all. Same side effects as the second option.
  • Give Koren an oral prescription. It is still in the study phase and it is not something that the doctor does lightly. He actually consults with another doctor and together they determine if the drug is the right option for the patient. It is a last-ditch effort for patients with a significant difference between their vision in each eye.
So, we are going with option two, per the doctor's recommendation. I'm nervous about it. But I really don't know what else to do. I mean, we could just let him continue on as he is and not try to improve his vision in that eye at all. As it is right now, Koren will never be able to even drive a car. I know that it isn't the end of the world, but that is a significant thing to consider.

I stopped in after the appointment to talk to his classroom teacher about it and then to talk to the School Coordinator about it. I tried earlier this year to get Koren some assistance from the school with his vision but to no avail. Of course, now the school is tripping all over themselves to try and accommodate him. I guess that there is a vision team for the district and the school is going to make contact with them to have them come out and assess Koren's needs and see how they can help him. We may end up with a 504 plan, which is basically a plan of accommodations for Koren to help him succeed in school. Or he may end up going onto an IEP, based on their assessment. Who knows?

We have a long road ahead of us and I have no idea what it looks like. I'm more than a little bit nervous about this. It just seems like there is a lot of stuff on my plate right now. Cephas and his behavioral/social issues, Koren and his vision issues, Oralee (well, she really doesn't have anything major going on, strep throat isn't that big of a deal) and then Jeriah and the whole preschool vs. kindergarten debate for next year. We'll just have to wait and see what happens and pray that we are making the right decisions for all of our kids.