Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chalazion: Another Fancy Word

I recently took Luke to see a pediatric ophthalmologist (read: eye surgeon) because the stinking stye that popped up overnight on his eyelid in December is still there. Crusty and no longer swollen, but still there. At a visit to the pediatrician at the end of February, the doctor asked, "What's up with his eye?" I said, "It's that stye he had in December." Yeah, he sent me on to a specialist because it's no longer just a stye, it's a chalazion and it will need to be surgically removed. I was hoping the eye surgeon would want to try some ointment first, but no, he's passed the point where it would heal itself with or without ointment, so surgery it is.

"Chalazion" is a fancy word for a blocked oil gland in the eyelid. It is a type of stye, and it can start as a regular, old, normal, stye, but sometimes it doesn't go away. Luke's is on the upper left eyelid. It definitely hurt when it was in the stye phase, before it popped and scabbed over, and it still hurts periodically. I know it bothers him, even when it isn't hurting. It just keeps scabbing over. He knocks the scab off, and it bleeds and then scabs over again. The surgery to remove it should only take 15 minutes, and he will have general anesthesia because kids can't be still during that procedure. Obviously. I'm not sure I could be still to have that done to my eye, though I understand that for adults they just use local anesthesia (shiver and cringe). They say he'll be able to go to school the next day, but we'll see how he's feeling. He might get to wear a fun eye patch for a few hours after surgery. Please read that last sentence again with sarcasm.

Since we saw the eye surgeon a couple of weeks ago, I am no longer allowed to touch or look too closely at Luke's scabby eye. As he fends me off, he tells me insistently, "I went to the doctor! No! I went to the doctor!" We've had several discussions about the surgery, and I came to the realization soon after the doctor's appointment that we are in uncharted waters. Both kids have had surgery before, but both of them were only 21 months old at the time. This time, Luke understands a lot more about what I'm saying, and he's worried about it. At bedtime the other night, he asked me, "The doctor will take my eye and give me another one?" I explained that he's not going to take his eye away, he's just going to fix the bo-bo (Where did we ever come up with that non-word?). I talked him through the whole process again, and he responded with, "That's too stary (scary)." Poor little guy.

It will be nice to see him without a scabby eye again, and thankfully, he's first up in the OR tomorrow so his fasting will be limited to the wee hours of the morning. I fully intend to scoop him out of bed and into the car, and I hope he'll sleep until we get there. Withholding that juice cup is hard on everyone.

"No! I went to the doctor!"
Updated 4/15/2013: The surgery went smoothly, and aside from a couple of hours worth of swelling where they injected his eyelid with numbing medicine, his eye looked better than it had in months. Right after surgery. It was amazing. He layed around most of the surgery day and woke up bouncing off the walls the next morning. The actual eye ball stayed goopy and red - almost like he had pink eye - for about five days, but I used the ointment they gave me until it was gone and it healed up nicely. At this point, several weeks later, there is just a small pink spot where the chalazion used to be; it looks great.

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