Staying Informed and Advocating for your Child’s Health Needs

By BlogFrog Bloggers

Dec 9, 2011 4:32pm

This time last year, my husband and I started to notice that our 2 year old’s eyes would start crossing. At first, it was very subtle, but as the weeks went on we noticed it was happening more and more.  I called his pediatrician to get a referral for an eye doctor, who told us they could see him in 3 months.

After hearing that, my motherly instinct kicked in {I’m so grateful we have the motherly instinct!}.  I didn’t want to wait 3 months to see an eye specialist. After doing the worst thing possible when looking for reasons for an illness {Google}, I decided to take things into my own hands. When the original eye specialist could not possibly fit him in earlier, I started calling all of the children’s eye specialists in Saint Louis to see if anyone could see him sooner. There were a few that would be able to see him within the month so I made appointments with them. Then, on a whim I decided to call Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, one of the 10 Best Children’s Hospitals in America according to many magazines.

To my surprise, they told us they could see my son in 2 days. I was shocked and relieved. I vowed to stay off Google the next 2 days and just waited until the day we would meet with the eye doctor.

When the day came, we were full of nervousness. I wanted to be prepared as possible, so I made a list of questions to ask and a notebook so I would remember everything the doctor said. After a few hours of testing and a through visit from the doctor, Hayden was diagnosed with Strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes and one of the most common eye problems in children.

We had two options to choose from. We could choose surgery, which he recommends for children under the age of 2 or we could choose glasses, which he recommends for children over the age of 4. Hayden was two years old and would be turning 3 in a few weeks.

We were torn on what the right decision would be. We didn’t even know if there was a right or wrong decision. We asked endless questions and the doctor was so patient with us. We told him our personal health history, such as my Dad being born with a brain aneurysm. We told him our concerns on how the eye crossing came on so suddenly. I even told him how I was bad and Googled.

To ease my fears and to make sure there wasn’t another reason for the eye crossing, his doctor ordered an MRI to be done. More doctors and nurses came in to explain how Hayden would be sedated for the MRI. They sat through more questions and my crying and reassured me.

A week later Hayden had his MRI, where we immediately found out the results. Everything was normal, there was nothing pressing on his optic nerve. It was a normal case of Strabismus. So we were now back to surgery or glasses. Luckily, our mind was made up when Hayden’s eye doctor told us that if it was his child, he would personally choose the surgery. After that, our mind was made up.

The next week, Hayden was scheduled to have his surgery. Again, the doctors, nurses and staff were so patient with us, explaining everything we needed to know and what would happen with Hayden during his surgery. Then bent the rules so we were able to carry him to the operating room instead of letting a nurse carry him. During the surgery, they kept us updated on everything that was happening and let us know the minute he was out and we could see him. They explained to us how it was a successful surgery.

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I’m so grateful for that motherly instinct kicking in and making me work to advocate for my son’s health. The initial appointment, MRI and surgery all happened within 4 weeks. I’m grateful for the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that spent so much time with us answering our questions and easing our fears. I’m grateful for family and friends who supported us through this.

I’ll never forget what a nurse told us. She told us we were so lucky that Hayden was so healthy. It’s so true. As much as my mind was going through a million different possibilities and outcomes, we are so lucky that Hayden is such a healthy boy.

As parents, our minds are always on our children’s health. Do you have a child that has or had health problems? Do you have any advice on how you got through it? What’s your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby?

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.

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