Today Brother and Bella saw the ophthalmologist.
One of the crazy rules in Kentucky is that every Kindergartener has to have an eye exam before entering school. (Every good parent knows thorough medical exams and routine dental and eye exams are important. But the fact that my children have been receiving those is irrelevant. Those exams were not done in Kentucky, so they must all be re-done, regardless of the cost, inconvenience, or trauma to the child. I digress….) So we had her exam, filled out her form, and talked about how she crosses her eyes when fatigued. Since she wasn’t doing it during the exam (at 8:40 AM in the morning), he can’t treat it. So we’ll monitor it. If it gets worse, we’ll treat it. Same plan as in Texas.
Nice thing – he knew our pediatric ophthalmologist in Texas. That always makes me feel good.
On to Brother. He needed his Kentucky Eye Report (expected) (had to bring in his Texas one as well) and eye exam to start preschool. (insert sarcastic remark here) The joys of having to take a blind child to the eye doctor. The joys of taking any child with an untreatable condition to any doctor. There isn’t anything to be done. So forcing us to go through these tests so a piece of paper can be filled out every six months seems cruel. Let’s see if you are still blind, insert torture of small child, wow, yes, he’s blind still. Mother holds child soothingly. He hasn’t changed (obviously). He has bilateral optic nerve atrophy. His nerve is dull – gray and non-pulsing. What does that mean? Well, the optic nerve is the roadway from the eyes to the brain. It sends electrical signals down this pathway to be interpreted by the brain. In our case nothing can be seen heading back to the brain, no electrical impulses, it’s gray and dull. No impulses, no sight.
Here is when you know the doctor is human and kind. When he examines your child and then sadly says, “Yes, it’s gray.”
From Wikipedia (the end all of all internet knowledge) (emphasis added) :
Fiber tracts of the mammalian central nervous system (as opposed to the peripheral nervous system) are incapable of regeneration, and, hence, optic nerve damage produces irreversible blindness.
And yet Brother does some amazing things – he can perceive light! How? Digest this juicy tidbit, also from Wikipedia:
Each human optic nerve contains between 770,000 and 1.7 million nerve fibers.
So lucky for us, some of those nerve fibers are still working – not enough for him to have any sight, no images, no faces, but there is light perception. We’ll take it, gratefully! Hang in there little fibers. Keep firing! One of my fears with his shunt, is any further brain damage would destroy those few nerve fibers and he would lose even his light perception. So we are careful and monitor that shunt like crazy (for lots of reasons).
So, summed up, not a thing new, but we are legal in Kentucky now. Yea!