At the moment Zoe is lying on the floor, wearing her pink polka-dotted Hello Kitty rain boots, watching her new Sid the Science Kid dvd, rolling a ball around, and hugging Ralph. She ate a little lunch, downed her tylenol and antibiotic, allowed us to apply goop to her stitches, and devoured a vanilla pudding reward. Today has already been a much better day than yesterday.
When she woke up this morning, after sleeping through the night (no puking!) she called us in. “Mommy! Come in here! There’s a big problem!” Uh oh. I jumped out of bed and ran into her room. She was sitting up in bed. I asked what the problem was. “My flower night light wasn’t on last night!” Whew. Not actually a big problem. I explained that we didn’t turn the flower night light on because it’s pretty bright (lest you worry that she was in the dark, she also has a turtle night light, a cow night light, and a Tinkerbell night light that were on) and her eyes were very sensitive to light yesterday. She said “when I was falling asleep, and I saw the flower night light wasn’t on, I said ‘oh man!'”
Her energy level is definitely back to normal. We were expecting maybe 50% after she was at zero yesterday following the surgery, but she ramped up to 100% after a good night’s sleep. Her resilience is impressive. Today we’ve played legos, play kitchen, and dolls. And watched some tv. I have completely abandoned my usual guilt feelings about the tv because I think the sitting still is good for her and using both her eyes.
Looking at her eyes is kind of unsettling. Not because of the stitches, which are scabbing over. But because she doesn’t look like herself. For three years we’ve known that her eyelids were droopy, and that the ptosis in her left lid was more severe. But that’s just the way she was. Sometimes her left eye opened more than other times. Now her left eye is open, and open wide. And her right lid, which always seemed normal, now seems like it’s less open than the left. It’s kind of freaking me out. The doctor said that her right lid will probably lower a little as time goes on, but it’s unlikely they’ll be exactly even. It seems so strange to see her eyes uneven now because it wasn’t just the way she was born, it was something that was done to her. It’s great that it was done, because she will be able to see better, but it’s still very unsettling.
It is likely that she will have another surgery in a few years, which will probably be on both lids to make them even. Already not looking forward to that, but I’ll try not to think about it. The reason she would have to have another is because the material they used yesterday is artificial, and doesn’t last forever. When she’s older they would use human tissue, either from a cadaver or her own leg. That tissue would grow as she grows and keep her eyelid muscles opening for good. Thinking too much about all that makes my stomach clench and my head swim.
In the meantime, I am so relieved to see her playing and joking around instead of wailing and clutching to us, or throwing up. Hallelujah.
Randy and I are both feeling buoyed by all the love and support and encouragement we’ve received over the past few days. My parents were at the hospital with us yesterday and picked up prescriptions and lunch for us yesterday. Friends have brought us dinners, snacks, and baking soda. Friends took our pukey rug to the dry cleaner. Another friend is bringing her steam cleaner over tomorrow. And the messages of empathy and compassion and love we’ve received by email and on Facebook and by phone have given us much comfort.
We’re supposed to keep Zoe home for a week while her eye heals. Day one is going well. It helps that it’s chilly and rainy so she hasn’t yet asked to go to the playground, which is prohibited because of the sand. She also hasn’t requested a bubble bath, on one of her favorite activities, also prohibited for a few days so soap doesn’t get in her eye. And rejoining her preschool rugby team is definitely out of the question.
But the bulbs we planted in the backyard have started to sprout, and the two little pots of basil have sent tiny green leaves shooting up through the dirt. We will find new things to do to amuse ourselves.
Pictures: top: the day before surgery. middle: waiting for the surgeon. bottom: the day after.