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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Quiet Contemplator's Strabismus Surgery

Let's start from the beginning. For those of you who don't know, my daughter is farsighted and has stabismus and amblyopia. WTF does that mean? She can’t see things up close and has a wonky eye that she has lost vision in.

Ok, so what is strabismus? The easiest way to explain strabismus is that it is basically a lazy eye. The eyes are not aligned properly and one or both eyes either go outward or inward of each other. My daughter's right eye drifts inward.

And what is amblyopia? Amblyopia is the loss of vision in one eye. Usually done so by the brain as a result of a medical condition, like strabismus.

Huh? Ok, so if you cross your eyes, you basically momentarily give yourself strabismus. This results in loss of depth perception and double vision. To correct the double vision, you can cover one eye. Amblyopia is basically your brain covering one eye naturally. To correct the double vision, it simply shuts off brain function to the weaker eye.

To correct both problems, you can patch the strong eye to help strengthen the weak eye. This helps the brain turn vision back on to the weaker eye (correcting the amblyopia) and can help strengthen the eye to align it (correcting the strabismus).

Unfortunately, though the patching helped repair the lost vision (amblyopia) in The Quiet Contemplator's right eye, but it did not help fix the alignment (strabismus).

Clear as mud, right? Anyway.

So TQC's strabismus surgery day came on Monday, July 23, 2012. 

Her surgery was done at St. Louis Children's Hospital by Dr. Susan Culican and it was an amazing experience from start to finish. The hospital and its staff are just amazing. They really do love what they do and it shows. We never even had a chance to ask a question because they were all answered thoroughly and understandably before we had a chance. They had a play room full of fun toys that we saw being cleaned every hour. Stickers, cool games, etc. I think TQC had so much fun there before surgery that she would request to go back!

To make things a bit easier in the hospital, we got TQC a new friend. Meet Fanny, a vintage 1985 Cabbage Patch doll:

Hi, my name is Fanny.

Once we got to the hospital, checked in and got through the paper trail of surgery prep, we introduced TQC to Fanny.

It was love at first sight.

For the next half hour or so, we just talked to doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, etc. as they came in to talk us through things and we waited for the big event to start. I requested to take TQC back to surgery and be present as they put her under anesthesia. Thankfully, our anesthesiologist was Ok with this. So, when it was go time, I carried TQC back to the surgical suite while Fanny hitched a ride on the gurney (very funny to onlookers).

Once in the suite, I talked to the TQC and told her about the cool lights overhead, pointed out that everyone was in their pajamas like her and kind of helped her take everything in. We then set her on the surgery table and put her gas mask on (on which she had chosen her gas flavor of root beer. ha!). The mask freaked her out a little bit but I held her and started singing, "One little, two little, three little indians" over and over again and she calmed down and went under without a peep. The surgeons complimented my rendition of the "Indians" song. Then I gave TQC a kiss and left the room so the Drs. could do their job. It was hard but I will never be more grateful than for having been able to go through that with her rather than have her carted off by strangers just to be wheeled into a scary room without her mommy to be gased forcefully because she was so scared.

After they put her under, I made my way back to our room where ADD Daddy was nervously waiting. We got some food and pretended to be busy until they came to talk to us when surgery was over. UGH!

Maybe 45 minutes later, the doctor was in our room telling us surgery was over and TQC was in recovery. WOW! I can't get a damn email out in 45 minutes and these people can fix my daughter's eye and stitch her up. I am a slug.

When I requested to take TQC back to surgery and put her under, I also requested to be there when she came out of anesthesia. Since this is kind of an ugly time, hospitals usually wait for the child to be alert and with it before parents are allowed in. They came and got me and though it was ugly and hard, I am glad I was the one holding her and comforting her through it and not a stranger. TQC cried and was really out if it for maybe a half hour. Her eye itched and she was in a lot of pain. They gave her some more morphine and she started to calm down a bit.

Sad girl and mama in recovery.

Once TQC was a bit more with it, they sent us all back to our room. She was still sort of confused and out of it but was starting to get her bearings again. Once she came around, we worked on getting a popsicle down her to prove she could hold down fluids. Since she only drinks milk and water, we were kind of in a pickle and the popsicle was our only "liquid" option. TQC just will not drink juice or soda. Usually not a problem, but it sucks pre- and post-op since milk and water are restricted before surgery and can upset their stomach after.

Mmmm...purple popsicles.

Once she held the popsicles (two) down, it was time for them to kick us out. Crazy, right? Less than two hours before they had my baby under anethesia on an operating table and now they trust me to take her home and take care of her? Do they not read my blog?

So we gathered our stuff, put her back in her street clothes (comfy play clothes, not hooking clothes) and they took out her IV. They then gave me a tube of goop to put in her eye twice a day for a week. The only other instructions were to not let her rub her eye or swim in a pool for a week. They also provided us with some stylin' shades to protect her eyes on the ride home.
What you lookin' at, fool?
The Cool Cucumber also wanted to try out the glasses.
Passed out on the ride home.

Let's just say, recovery at home was a breeze. I shot this video an hour after we got home. She was jumping up and down like a hyena and didn't even take a nap that day since her nap time was during surgery. Kids bounce back like crazy!


The next morning, she woke up and said, "My eye is all better, Mommy. It doesn't hurt or itch anymore." Well, Ok then. Outside of her eye looking a little horror storyish, she was pretty much back to her old self (sans wonky eye, of course). We still kept her out of school Tuesday and Wednesday just to be safe.

This is what the eye looked like the next morning. Just a bit bloody in the corner and a bit swollen overall, but that is it.

The day after surgery she felt so good we hit the botanical garden!

And on Wednesday, The Cucumber was sent home with a 103.5 fever. The end.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheers to Glasses Being Half Full

I may poke fun at toddler/babydom and myself a lot on this site, but let me set the record straight, I am an optimist (or as much as one as I can be while also being a realist). I know that my life is fantastic and am thankful for it every time that I am lucky enough to wake up to another day of it. Do I have bad days? Fuck yes I do, but for the most part, I am a glass half full kind of gal (unless it is beer or wine, then it is best to order another just in case the waitress doesn't come around for a while). Even with the crappy hand I have been dealt this year, with a colicky baby, moving, family troubles, friendships being tested, my brother being murdered, my mother's slow decent into dementia and my daughter's surgery, I feel incredibly lucky. I choose not to dwell on the bad stuff and instead focus on the good in myself and in others. I don't gossip, I try not to be too judgmental and I all around try to treat others how I wish to be treated. Bad words in our house are stupid, fat and ugly, not shit and fuck.

Why on earth am I blabbering on about this, well, first off, I am having withdrawals from Lexapro so I am extra cray cray right now. Second off, I have just read a true testament to how mean people can be for no reason and feel the need to say something. Feel free to log out and tune back in tomorrow. Totally understandable.

I read the blog Enjoying the Small Things. Yes, it is sometimes a bit too puppy dogs and rainbows for my taste, but it is well presented and gives a little light to days that are sometimes a bit too heavy. While browsing through my Google Reader account yesterday, I saw that the blog writer, Kelle Hampton, announced that she is pregnant with her third child. How exciting.

For those of you that don't read it, Enjoying the Small Things is Kelle's story of life after her second daughter was born with down syndrome. Her and her husband had no clue until Nella was born that she would have DS. The first few days that followed were a shitstorm of emotion for Kelle that she very honestly shared with the world. She wasn't all, "Oh my miracle baby. What a blessing." She was more, "Why the fuck me? This sucks balls and I want a normal baby." Good for her for being honest. It took her a few days, but soon she realized that Nella was everything a baby could be and more, and fell in love with her for who she was, not what she had. She now documents the life that she and her husband lead raising their two girls and his two sons. It is sweet. It is light, it is what it is. A blog about enjoying the small things in life, like fat baby feet, and sand, and popsicles.

Well, after reading her happy news yesterday, I was curious as to how old Kelle was so I Googeled it. What I found were a series of mean-spirited blogs that basically make it their calling to hate Kelle and her blog. They comment on her 15-year age gap between her and her husband, is she a home-wrecker, gold digger, bad writer, etc. Just flat out mean things that really have no place in the world. What she is a great mother who takes the time to document the little things that make her life happy and the journey that she is on raising a special needs child.

These snarky bloggers won't be there on the day that she has to explain to her oldest child why the children at school are calling her little sister bad names and making fun of her. They won't be there when Kelle has to sit Nella down and tell her that she may never be able to have children because it is much harder for people with DS. What is the point in pontificating on things that may be "wrong" with her. Sure, she is pretty, well-dressed and seems to live the perfect life. She also has the responsibility of raising a special needs child in a world that isn't always very accepting. Let her have cute shoes. Pour youself a glass of pinot to wash down your chill pill. If you don't like it, don't read it. Don't read it just to be a bitch about it under the veil that is the internet.

I just don't see what being horrible to someone does for anyone. Just be nice. It is much easier and feels a lot better than being mean all the time. Life is hard enough without having to deal with asshats who do nothing but find things to be angry and evil about. If you wouldn't want it done or said about you, don't say or do it to anyone else. Simple. Easy. Even my two-year-old understands it.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox and returning to the brain zaps and dizziness my withdrawals are causing. Carry on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Advice Under the Influence


I follow your blog and just came across a posting about your daughter wearing glasses and an eye patch. My youngest daughter just turned 1 and now has to wear glasses and a patch, but she hates it. How did you ever do it? She started wearing contacts at 8 weeks old but can no longer wear them so glasses are our only option now. She hates the glasses. She was born with cataracts in the right eye so she has no prescription in one lens and a very heavy one in the other. She wears a Pez brand of glasses with cable temples, not the type with a band that goes around her head. She uses the Ortopad patches, they are the only ones that don’t rip her skin off but she can peel them off so it’s a lose-lose situation. We have tried the no-no arm bands but no luck…



Dearest Beth,

Argh, sister. Welcome to the land of toddler piratedom. So it sounds like you have the most comfortable glasses possible. The Quiet Contemplator has the cable-style ones and they just stay on the best. Plus, she doesn't always look like she is heading out for a game of racquetball. No matter what you do though, she may just choose to hate them. We found that praising the crap out of the Contemplator while she was wearing them helped. Telling her how proud we were, how cool she looked, etc. Kids are just natural born narcissists, after all.

As far as the patch goes, we tried the stick-on ones until I found out there were alternatives. TQC either pulled them off herself or they just fell off due to the sweaty disgusting mess that is a toddler. Then I found Eye Mateys. They rock: They are made of felt and just slip around the arm of the glasses and onto the lens. They have a dark backing so no light gets in and they also have sides to protect from peeking. Plus, it is one of the only brands I found that offer infant/toddler sizes.

If your little girl still won't tolerate the patch, have you talked to your Dr about the drops? They dilate the good eye so your child is forced to use the bad eye to see, thus strengthening it and correcting the amblyopia.

In our case, the patching helped improve my daughter's amblyopia greatly, though it did nothing for the strabismus. Hence, her surgery. More to come on that in the future. Hope this helps.

The Beer Bitch
Advice Under the Influence
Not sure of whether to go with Playtex or Dr. Brown's? Looking for a way to keep your toddler from shaving your cat again? Want to know what to do when your husband pees on the toilet seat again? Well, the Dr. is in. Email me your query and I will put on my thinking cap and publish your question, along with my answer. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Quiet Contemplator's Sugrery

The Quiet Contemplator has her stabismus surgery today so I will be off this week. I hope to have a full post soon on how everything went so I can help those of you that might have a child with amblyopia and strabismus.

Love you, Dolls. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

 We all know the posts about what we want to teach our daughters. Love, dance, stop and smell the flowers, etc. That is all fine and good, but I need my daughter to learn a few more lessons that are a little less puppy dogs and rainbows and a little more true-to-life. Such as:

Cigarettes are gross.

Herpes and babies are forever. Use protection.

Stick up for yourself, even if you think it makes you look like a bitch.

Don't take shit from a man.

Don't let anyone make you feel like you aren't good enough.

Sex won't make anyone love you. Love will.

Don't be afraid to take life by the balls.

Don't be too proud to become a wife or a mom.

Never think you are better than anyone else.

Don't judge those you don't know.

Never bully those you feel are weaker than you.

Looking like a hooker never impressed anyone.

Bottom lid liner weaves a fine line between crazy goth girl and well made up. Be careful.

Remember to look up from your phone/computer/television screen every once in a while.

Don't be afraid to show your weaknesses.

Cigarettes are gross.

Never start sentences with the word "like" or end them with "so…". Just don't.

Don't hide your intelligence to make a man happy. If he is smart enough for you, he will think you being smart is attractive, not intimidating.

Don't gossip. It only hurts people and makes you look immature and childish.

Think before you speak. Diarrhea of the mouth runs in the family.

The pounds will come and go. Don't waste your life worrying about them.

Use your vacation time. They give it to you for a reason.

It is ok to smoke a joint or two, but anything harder than that is going to end badly. Trust me.

Never ditch your girlfriends because you have a boyfriend.

Seriously, cigarettes are gross.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Victoria's Secret Models

Dear Victoria's Secret Models,

Please stop having children. Seriously. Stop. Stop wearing bikinis when you are 40 weeks pregnant. Stop saying you gave birth naturally in your bathtub and it was pain-free. Stop posting pictures of yourself breastfeeding. Stop saying bottle feeding should be illegal. Stop saying you did nothing to lose the weight but breastfeed. Stop running the catwalk six weeks after you give birth. Stop giving your idiotic opinions on child rearing.

Just stop.

Let us normal gals retain just a shred of our dignity after we have a baby by shutting the fuck up about your pregnancies and post-birth experiences/bodies. We get it. You have the genes of a God, never gained a pound while pregnant, shot the baby out like it was a fart and put on your size 0 jeans to go home from the hospital (oh wait, you bitches don't believe in hospitals). Us real women gain 50 pounds, go through hours of grueling labor just to end up with c-sections and pour ourselves into our PajamaJeans to head home from the hospital. So there.

From now on, stay at home with your Tom Bradys and Orlando Blooms from the minute the sperm meets the egg to about a year after your genetically blessed little darling hits high school.


All the real moms who want to punch you in the vagina when you go out in a bikini at four weeks postpartum. Bitch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Confessional

Confession from a fellow Boozehound

In a public restroom, my son was looking at my tattoo of my husband's name (located just below my belly button) and announced very loudly, "Mom, that's your PENIS." The lady in the next stall started cracking up. I wanted to flush myself down the toilet.

ILBAB says: Your husband must be stoked that you are badass enough to tattoo his name on his penis. Yikes! Ha!

The Confessional is now open. Have something you need to repent for? Feel free to send me your sin and I will help your purge your demons.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tainted Love

The Cool Cucumber has a new friend. He REALLY loves his new friend. We call his new friend Humpy Bear. Humpy Bear is a bear The Quiet Contemplator was given when The Cucumber arrived. She dons a pink t-shirt that reads, "I'm the big sister."

Humpy Bear has been violated. A lot. Though The Cucumber can not even Army crawl yet, if you put Humpy Bear across the room, he will get to her in two seconds flat. Then proceed to pin her down and suck on her face.

Help me!

I was trying to get The Cucumber to crawl to me the other day and he just looked at me with feigned interest and stayed planted. Then, ADD Daddy put Humpy Bear in front of me and The Cucumber raced to me like I was on fire. Once he got to me, he crawled on top of Humpy Bear and forgot that I existed.

So, to sum it up, in a mere six months, I have been replaced by a stuffed animal that is constantly wet and smells of vomit. Nice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Hunger Games

Dinner time at our house generally makes me want to stab myself in the thigh with a rusty fork. One day, The Quiet Contemplator LOVES fish sticks. The next, she acts like I filleted our cat and served it up to her on a plate made of bat wings when I offer her fish sticks. What gives? Is it just me or is my toddler bi-polar when it comes to eating?

I try to feed The Contemplator a balanced diet of fruit, veggies, grains, dairy and meat--mixed with a healthy dose of cookies and goldfish crackers, of course. The thing that kills me is I have no idea when sitting down to dinner if the plate I have prepared for her will result in her asking for seconds and thirds or her crying, "I don't like this! This is yucky!". It is like setting myself up every night for a terrifying game of culinary roulette and it drives me insane in the membrane.

I have tried all the tactics, hell I even tried to help one of you with your own cuisine crimes. It doesn't help. She is a toddler and most toddlers have an undiagnosed eating disorder called toddlerexialemia. One day they won't touch food, the next day they binge like they haven't seen food for a year.

I am going to start a support group for the parents of toddlers where we all get together and gorge on cupcakes while complaining about how our toddlers eat. Food allergy mammas are welcome, too. I am going to call it Asshole Eaters Anonymous. Feel free to join. We meet every third Thursday at the American Legion. Bring wine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Confessional

Confession from fellow Boozehounds

I was heading home from a 4 hour trip out of town with my 7 yr old, 7 month old, dog and cat...  I had already suffered a flat tire which resulted in me having to unload EVERYTHING to get to the tire (100 degree weather) and it took a solid hour to get back on the road. My 7 year old decided between towns to inform me he was STARVING and I promised him at the next town I would get him McDonalds (a real treat for him). As we came into the town I thought had one, it turned out it didn't. My son went on and on about me promising it and saying "you said" like 15 times. I tried and tried to lovingly explain I was wrong then I snapped...  I turned to my poor son and said, "Well, here's a news flashing for you... I don't f$&@ing know everything." I felt better. He sat stunned :)

ILBAB says: He was probably more stunned at the fact that you don't know everything if you were able to survive the rugged conditions of fours hours in a car with two kids and two animals. Fuck McDonalds. That shit is intense.

When I was five, I poked my babysitter in the boobs with my index finger and said "Ding Dong! Avon calling..."

ILBAB says: Ding Dong! Child protective services calling. Ha!

The Confessional is now open. Have something you need to repent for? Feel free to send me your sin and I will help your purge your demons.
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