On Tuesday, Little Dorrit was scheduled to have eye surgery so I drove back up to St. Louis on Monday to be there for it. Her upcoming eye surgery had been explained to us many times and she'd already had an eye exam under general anesthesia when her Broviac and G-button were placed. So, I was a little confused when the doctor who was going to be doing the eye surgery talked about doing another exam on Tuesday and used the word "if" we do the surgery. Hadn't they already done the exam to determine that the eye surgery was needed? Apparently, a different doctor performed the previous exam than the one who would be doing the surgery. This new ophthalmologist, who was a retina specialist, told me that he would do another exam under anesthesia and then come see me in the OR waiting room to let me know if they needed to do the vitrectomy, which they would be able to do right away. For the past three months, we've been told a vitrectomy would clear up the blood in her right eye allowing her to see out of that eye so I had no reason to think otherwise. She just hasn't been well enough to go under general anesthesia until these last few weeks.
About 20-30 minutes after Little Dorrit was taken back to the OR, I saw the doctor quickly walk out into the waiting room searching for me. I called out his name and he asked if we could find a place to talk. My heart sank. We found an empty corner in the OR waiting room where he then drew a diagram and explained to me his theory of what was happening with Little Dorrit's eye. Here is what he drew with some of my notes written in:
As odd as this may sound, since Tuesday, I feel like I have experienced all of the five stages of grief over the loss of her eye. You think, it's an eye, and it's not even my own eye, but I still grieved that my daughter will have one more thing to struggle with. I felt the same way about her toes when we found out she would lose the three toes on her left foot. The five stages in a few days:
- At first, I felt numb when the surgeon was explaining his theory about the blood clot.
- The bargaining phase of grief is not exactly what I thought it would be but WebMD explains exactly what I felt:
- This stage of grief may be marked by persistent thoughts about what "could have been done" to prevent the death or loss. Some people become obsessed with thinking about specific ways things could have been done differently to save the person's life or prevent the loss. If this stage of grief isn't dealt with and resolved, the person may live with intense feelings of guilt or anger that can interfere with the healing process.
- Throughout this whole experience, it's been hard not to feel guilt, guilt, guilt about everything...like feeling that I did this to my child and wondering what more I could have done to prevent this or even how we could have been more prepared for her birth. In the instance with her eye, I keep wondering if the doctor had operated earlier then would this have fixed the problem?