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First Time For Everything

It has been a really long day. We were up early to get on the road to get to Iowa City for Isabella's first appointment at 3:00. We had left in time that I expected we would hit town at 2:00, but I have a bit of a lead foot and we actually rolled in at about 1:30. Managed to miss getting a ticket, but I did have a trooper wave at me once. I figured that was a good enough warning to shave about 5mph off of my speed.

Since we had some time, our first stop was Iowa Eye Prosthetics to see if Vaugn could work her magic on Isabella's eye. She took it out, put it under a magnifying glass and then looked at us like we were nuts. She said that Isabella probably would have been more comfortable with a rock in her eye and then went back and polished all the tooth marks and scuffs off of it. She put it back in and then we discussed our options for a new eye. Isabella has had this one for about seven months and she is starting to grow out of it a bit. Based on that, and the fact that they are going to be dropping our insurance at the end of June, we decided that we should make an appointment pretty soon to get a new eye made. We'll be back up here for another two day fitting and painting session in the middle of June.

After we were done there, we went over to the hospital for our next set of appointments. The first thing they had us do was to go through the standard pre-op procedures... height, weight, etc... After that, we went back to see Tom, the ocular stenographer. Isabella was very good and let him get all the pictures that he needed to take of her retina, ocular nerve, shunt and bleb. We could see that her retina was attached and sitting pretty at the back of her eye. At this point, we went to the retina clinic to meet with the doctor that was going to be handling all the pre-op work on that side. The important thing here is that this is not the same doctor that will be doing the surgery tomorrow. This was one of his colleagues.

This is where the first came in... This was the first time that I have been less than impressed with how things have been handled with Isabella's case at the University of Iowa. The doctor that came in was not familiar with her case, so I can understand that it would take a few minutes to get up to speed. I also know that they were understaffed and he was rushed to get through his caseload today.

The doctor came in, looked through Isabella's chart and began to dictate to a med student that was with him at the time. During all of his dictation, I heard him say that Isabella had a detached retina. Now, I'm not expert, but I'm pretty sure that we saw the ultrasound and saw that her retina was exactly where it was expected to be. In fact, Tom even gave us a print out of her retina and pointed out where it all was. At this point, the doctor did a binocular indirect exam (the one where the doctor puts on the mining helmet thing and looks through a very big lens to see the back of your eye). He dictated to the student what he was seeing and told him that he saw a possible shallow detachment. At this point, I confronted the doctor to ask what he was talking about. He told me that Isabella had a detached retina, but he could not see where she had any choroidal swelling. It was at this point that I figured out he was looking at the report from back in October and told him that. At that point, he said, "Oh, you are right" and changed his notes to say that there was no detachment. From there on out, it went downhill. He told us that he really didn't see any reason for them to do anything more than the exam under anesthesia tomorrow and that they wouldn't do anything else. I asked him about the membrane that we know is there and he said that there wasn't anything there and that was pretty much the end of the conversation.

We left the hospital and my first reaction was to call Dr. Grin's office and let her know what was going on. She was out of the office, but they called her to let her know what was going on and very shortly thereafter she called me. I gave her the whole story about what was going on and she said that she needed to call and talk to them. About 15 minutes later, I got a call back and she said that she had spoken to the doctor to find out what the story was. She explained to me that she had previously spoken to the doctor that was going to be doing the procedure and that he was fully aware of the situation and that this doctor wasn't looking for what she was looking for. I got the distinct impression that she may have given this doctor a piece of her mind and I can honestly say if that is what happened, I don't envy him at all. Dr. Grin gave me some advice on how to handle things tomorrow and then told me that if anything at all comes up tomorrow that we need her assistance on, to call her and she will do what needs to be done.

So, we are approaching tomorrow with some additional trepidation... That's nothing completely new, there is always something. I'll be sending out text messages tomorrow to keep everyone posted and will make sure to post a complete writeup of what goes on during surgery tomorrow.

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