Not on the Bucket List

Exactly one month ago I mentioned in a post about Carter’s infections, that for the first time we had to remove Carter’s eye and clean it. We were in the middle of a rough patch of infections and Donnie, our Ocularists, said we needed to pull it out and clean it.

And now would be the time I confess that the eye never was touched. We didn’t remove it and we didn’t clean it. Yeah, that’s right, I chickened out. I didn’t see anyone else offering to come over and play with my kid’s eye. FaceBook and Twitter must have shut down because we were not inundated with friend’s wanting to help out in our medical need. Seriously though, we were blessed with kind words and plenty of people saying they would be praying for the situation and events that were about to occur.

That night in question, I told Carter that we really needed to pull his eye out and clean it but as soon as I said it he lost it. The look on his face and the alligator tears started to flow and I began back pedaling. I asked Amy if it was absolutely necessary to don the scrubs and put all of my medical knowledge to test in this arena. As soon as she muttered, “I guess we don’t…” I pulled the plug on the operation. I didn’t even let her finish the sentence. I just needed an out. The next day Carter was scheduled to see Donnie so before you go thinking I put my son’s health/life in jeopardy, we knew things would be better in the morning.

Fast forward to this past Saturday night. Carter was complaining a little bit about his eye not feeling right and when he got out of the shower he said, “my eye is looking left.” Sure enough it was easy to tell that his prosthesis was not moving like normal. In all of our medical expertise, which continues to grow with this situation, we determined the eye had shifted and was “stuck” in place. I had Carter close his eye and I proceeded to try and push the lens to the center but to no avail. Carter was getting squeamish and complaining that I was hurting him. Trying to get a better look, I pulled open his upper and lower eyelids and immediately noticed his prosthesis had rotated and was now sideways. I realize that sounds strange but if you recall our original post about the making of his eye, it is not a perfect circle and Donnie had painted a smily face on the eye to signify the top, which clearly needed to be up.

The Eye

Smily face = This side up

There was no doubt that this could not wait for Donnie to fix and Amy and I agreed that I would take it out. As he did a month ago, Carter freaked out and quickly began crying and saying he didn’t want to do it. He easily admitted he preferred Donnie do it instead of dear old dad. I COMPLETELY concur! Once I convinced him that we had to fix his eye, we proceeded with caution.

I feel like if you’ve read this far you might as well stick around for the details. I took Carter into the bathroom and picked up the little suction cup we received in our goodie bag the day we got his new eye. I squeezed the suction cup and, while holding his eye open, I pushed it up to his eye. It took three or four tries before I finally got it to stick. With a simple rocking motion I pulled up on the bottom and the eye just slid right out. Carter calmed down until he looked in the mirror and saw the cavity that was left behind. It’s interesting how it was just months ago we walked through the surgery and process yet he had quickly forgot what that looked like. I think he was partially intrigued by what he saw but mostly fearful of seeing himself “eyeless” for the first time in months. I held him for a few minutes and we talked about how everything is fine and that one day he will look back and better understand why all this happened. We didn’t take the time to get into all the theology.

Amy (for some reason this was one part I just couldn’t do) flushed out his eye socket with a special solution, also from the goodie bag and I cleaned the prosthetic and lubricated it. It was time to put it back in which was the part I feared the most. Once again, using the suction cup, I held Carter’s eye lids and tried to replace the eye. As I was moving towards him my right hand was visibly shaking uncontrollably. I was trying to use my left arm to cover his right eye so he wouldn’t see me struggling so much. The first attempt was an epic failure as I was pushing both his eye lids in and his eye lashes were getting stuck on his implant. Yeah, you read that correctly.

I don’t know if it was the obvious look of fear on my face or if I verbally asked her, but Amy stepped up behind Carter and pulled his upper eyelid real high. This gave me a huge opening to put the eye back in. Opposite of the extraction, the top part goes in first and then I used my left thumb to wipe the lower eyelid and allow it to pop out and cover the prosthesis.

And just like that it was over. Amy and I tag teamed it and it worked. We conquered it. Now if you’ll excuse me I need some more Advil. It seems I hit my head when I passed out half way through the ordeal. Just kidding – I think. Many of you saw the Tweet/FaceBook post and asked what had happened. Now you know and more importantly you know not to ask next time.

I don’t officially have a bucket list but there are things I would like to do over the years to come. This was not something originally on the list but you can bet I’m checking it off.


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