Friday, January 05, 2007

An Eventful Week

It has been an eventful week, although not necessarily in a good way. My DD#3, who is 6, was diagnosed with strabismus and amblyopia. These are big, fancy words for an eye that turns in and is lazy. Now, imagine my chagrin, as a homeschooling mom who is teaching her own daughter to read, that I didn't even know that her eye turned in. No one else seemed to know it, either. It is subtle and only happens when she is fatigued but since I teach with her sitting on my lap, I was oblivious.

This saga started several months ago when I took her in for her kindergarten check-up. As part of the exam, they did an eye exam. All was going well, since she is a healthy, normal kid, until they had her look at the eye chart. When she covered her right eye, she could read the whole thing. When she covered her left eye, she couldn't read any of it. With both eyes, she had 20/20 vision. Since it was so weird, they suggested an eye exam. No problem.

At the local Target Optical store, the optometrist ran her through all the tests but there was obviously a big problem. By the end of the exam, the optometrist said that we'd better take her to a pediatric opthamologist, since there was more going on than mere glasses could correct. She gave me a name and a number to call. No problem.

Except it took 2 months to get an appointment. In the meantime, I stopped doing reading lessons with DD#3, since she was struggling to see the letters and I didn't want to cause her to be frustrated with school. Math was going well (they make the numbers so much bigger and clearer in math books) so we continued with that and other learning activities.

Well, the appointment was on Wednesday and after an exhausting 2 hour exam, the recommendation was that we patch the good eye for two hours a day while doing some close work (coloring, crafts, etc) and come back in 3 months for a re-check. No problem.

BIG PROBLEM. We patched yesterday for the first time. She cried about putting on the patch. She tried to do the coloring activity we chose to work on while patched. Then she started reacting to the adhesive on the patch. She's allergic to it. We reapplied the patch with a buffer and switched activities frequently, making paper dolls and drawing, taking hot chocolate breaks when needed. She was frustrated with the inability to see out of her bad eye, the uncomfortable patch and the itching caused from the allergic reaction.

We went shopping yesterday after the patch came off to buy some new craft supplies. We've done some research on ways to make the patch more bearable. And we're looking into Vision Therapy as an alternative to patching. And I'm praying that the first day was the worst and today will be a better day.

Other news . . . my DS's team lost their goalie to a snowboarding injury - he broke both arms. The league is desperately searching for a replacement because our team is already short numbers, so we can't pull from the team to fill the net without shorting our lines. We had a replacement goalie at practice from the U-14 team last night or they may need to pull up a goalie from the PeeWee level. We have several tournaments coming up very soon so the season could get real interesting.

On the knitting front, I finished the washcloths for my Bible Study friends and presented them on Wednesday morning. Samus hasn't progressed much but I've been a little busy with little girl's problems, so I'm okay with that. Sometimes you just have to focus on the loved ones and let the knitting slide. It's been a crazy week but I'm hoping for a quieter weekend


livnletlrn said...

Well, my goodness, mama, that's a challenging week. I had a couple of injuries to my left eye as a kid and had to wear a patch each time. All I remember is that it was EXHAUSTING to only see out of one eye, so I'm glad to hear she only has to do it for a couple of hours at a time.

I can't even fathom having a kid with TWO broken arms! I know that one's not yours, but wowza.

Guinifer said...

Oooh - poor baby girl! Could you try tying a bandana kind of pirate like across that eye? No adhesive to react against and she could role-play or buy a pretty girly bandana (if she's a pretty-girly girl.)

Puck's team only has 13 kids on it and one of those kids is their goalie, so I can only imagine how your son's team is doing. Exhausted most of the time, I bet.

My 14 year old has broken his left wrist, right wrist and bruised the bone of his left knee - all snowboarding. Our A team kids are not even allowed to snowboard (another reason I'd never encourage A team ambitions to Puck). I can totally relate to your busy schedule - we are landing there this week also.

Sheepish Annie said...

Vision therapy can be extremely helpful for kids with eye muscles that need a little strengthening and adjusting. The eye losing it's "place" is very common when the child is fatigued. I have a student who has a similar condition and I see a big difference between the morning and afternoon. You were wise to not push visual activities while she is frustrated. Learning isn't going to happen when there is another issue taking center stage. She is learning a new way to "see." That is tiring!!!

It is also not something to beat yourself up over. Unless you know what you are looking for, it is hard to catch early on. You would have noticed it pretty soon as you taught more of the activities that require extended visual focusing. I'm betting that, as a homeschooling parent, you would have seen it and addressed it more quickly than other parents due to the amount of time you spend together doing these types of activities!