Monday, January 17, 2011

Clogged tear ducts (sorry it's pretty long)

Alex is clearly practically perfect in every way. And was born that way, thank you very much. But there is one small issue. She was born with clogged tear ducts. Not horribly uncommon, the MayoClinic sys that as many as 20% of babies are born with blocked or under developed tear ducts. In most cases the issue resolves itself in the first year. While waiting for this to happen it sort of looks like pink eye. 
see the redness? that's the blocked/clogged tear duct

Well Alex's didn't clear up within the first year. Research and her doctor assured us it should clear up by 15 months. No dice. 2 years? Nope. 

And at this point the chances of their clearing on their own is growing smaller. It's even becoming darned close to unlikely.
The day after this past Thanksgiving. We though it might be pink eye.

After several attempts to fix what was thought to be infected blocked ducts, then pink eye then infected blocked ducts again, we found ourselves at a Pediatric Ophthalmologist.  Alex was fantastic while she was poked and prodded and weird stuff was put in her eyes. Her eyes were dilated and florescence stuff was put in them so it could be determined how well they're draining. Well the right eye didn't drain at all. But otherwise her eyes looked great. 

So it was decided that she would have a procedure done to correct the issue once and for all. In fact, it was decided that given the fact that her left eye had been an issue in that past the procedure would be done on both eyes. It is a fairly common procedure. Technically it could be done with a person still awake and a local anesthetic, but that doesn't go so well for a 2 year old. Really it would be like convincing a pack of lions to stay still while you dangle a fresh zebra in front of them. 

not my picture

This coming Friday, the 21st, is the day it's getting done. We are due at GBMC at 715am and her procedure should begin at 845am. She shouldn't be under for more then a half hour. Alex will have a breathing tube for the duration of the procedure. The doctor will go in through Alex's nasal cavity and probe the tear ducts. Then she will insert little balloons, think angioplasty, into Alex's ducts and inflate the balloons and leave them be for 5 minutes. 

When it's all said and done there is a 98% success rate. There is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of an issue with the general anesthesia. And a 1 in 10,000,000 chance of complications. The odds are good from a scientific perspective. Also, we choose to believe that God will be watching out for our little girl, which makes the odds that much better. 

All in all she will have gone about 15 hours without eating at the end of it. And we have to start her back on simple plain foods in case her stomach is upset. She should want to sleep and be lazy most of the day, which I've GOT to see because Alex has never been a big fan of sleep. And by Saturday she should be as good as new. After a week of antibiotic eye drops we'll be able to put all of this behind us. 
If only I knew how to crop pictures

I've never been put under for anything. Never had a breathing tube. The only time I've ever spent the night in the hospital was when I gave birth to Alex. The very thought of such things freaks me the blip out. So my brain is telling me that the doctor does this all the time and to trust God and look at the statistics and this is all outpatient. blah blah blah. But try convincing my heart not to worry. That's my little girl that will be n that table. And I'll be there for her every step, we've decided that I'll be the one to go back with her. And I'm doing everything I can to be strong. And trying to explain what's coming has gotten very humorous. Obviously Alex has no reference for what I'm telling her, Jason hasn't told her anything he wants her to be excited while I think she should know what to expect so she doesn't get scared, but her trying to understand is very cute. 

So here we are, days away from a minor procedure that will help Alex's eyes for the rest of her life. Still a little freaky but it's all for the best. Now I wonder what 'comfort' items she'll want to take with her. I think I know what will be chosen.... :)
(this is where I would cleverly put pictures of Alex with her ladybug blanket and the lamb she got at her dedication, were I clever enough to have such pictures)

If you want to know more about all of this. Do what we did, google blocked tear ducts and clogged tear ducts. the interwebs are full of helpful information about it. 


  1. I'll be praying for the little lady, and I'm SURE everything is going to be just fine *hugs* I'm SO sad that you all have to go through this. But it's gonna be so nice when poor Alex doesn't have to tell me about how her eye is hurting anymore. :)

    P.S. I'm in no way joking when I said I ROFL'd at the caption that says 'if only I knew how to crop pictures' *giggle* Rest assured that my house also looks like that, usually at least once a day, I'd say :D

  2. suaieq523@comcast.netJanuary 23, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    jeremy's mom here, God bless you and your baby girl, no matter how routine they say the procedure is, it certainly isn't for you and your child, i'm presuming this remark is made after the fact, but i surely feel your pain and concerns! i'm guessing God looked out for you! best of wishes sent your way!

  3. susieq523@comcast.netJanuary 23, 2011 at 1:02 AM