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the eric update - day 80: ROP surgery

as well as anyone can tell, eric made it through the ROP surgery relatively well. he had a few deep, apneas which is a known side effect of the drugs given to him to induce conscious sedation. they warned us ahead of time, but you never get used to seeing your son turn a deep color blue as you dig your fingers into wall while they seconds tick by. i'd like to say that he'll never have to have ROP surgery again and that he'll forever escape any permanent damage, but we won't have any good answers those questions for about a week.

right before the procedure started they kicked me out, but much to my surprise, the doctor called me back in before he was finished so i could watch the final "burns". he told me several times that he had never, ever invited anyone in to watch him work so i think it was quite a privilege. i didn't get any pictures because i had to wear "laser goggles", but it was fascinating to watch him work. years ago i used to do delicate surgical work on fruit fry larvae ( maggots!) under a microscope, so i have an appreciation for how tight the "tolerances" can be and i was grateful that dr. droste broke his personal rule and allowed me to watch him work.

the doctor had to make about 1,500 "burns" in each eye, but he admonished me to not focus ( no pun intended ) on the absolute number of burns, but rather to note the overall "take rate" which indicates how many of the burns were effective. he likes to have a take rate above 90% and unfortunately, he said that eric was more "challenging" than he had anticipated and thought that he had a take rate closer to 80%. the lower take rate was due to the fact that eric's lenses are cloudy because of a normal developmental process that should resolve itself in a few weeks; the cloudiness makes it difficult for the laser to make effective burns. he was able to get the take rate that he got only after turning up the power of the laser, but he can only turn the power up so far before risking collateral retinal damage.

he noted that the disease had progressed since even yesterday and the plus disease ( the really dangerous part ) was a little more moderate that he liked to see and that there was still a 30% chance that he'd need additional surgery. but he didn't think eric would have any problems recovering quickly and said the he could have the hernia surgery tommorrow for all he cared ( each time he talks with us, he changes his story about how long it'll take to recover, so i'm guessing he's doing his version of managing our expectations ). so it looks like we'll be moving quickly on to learning all about hernia surgery and back on schedule for a release.

many, many thanks to everyone who showed their support in whatever way made sense to them. rop surgery is relatively routine as far as nicu surgeries go, but new intravenous lines, dilation drops, "conscious sedation" drugs and high-powered lasers all provide many opportunities for things to go wrong. certainly versed is nothing to fool around with and having used ketamine in the past to put rats under before i removed their hearts ( don't ask ) i know how, er, challenging it can be to dose correctly. small changes in body fat and metabolism can radically alter how long it lasts and we'd often have rats waking up in the middle of the operation. in fact, the doctor implied how difficult it is to dose accurately by stating that he gets done when the kids starts to move. in any case, it means a lot for us to see so many people in his cheering section.

( i'm not sure how many people who visit here don't go to the see flickr photos, so i'll mention that i often post more pictures over there than you see here. for more rop surgery photos, just follow this link. )

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9/22/2004 11:26:00 PM 14 comments

14 Comments:

I'm so glad that Odin made it through okay, and will keep my fingers crossed that the results of the ROP surgery are good.

Kelli

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:32 PM  

I'm glad he got through the surgery okay. I'll keep my fingers crossed for him that he won't need to have more eye surgery. When will you know?

NordicMamma

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 PM  

Whew, what an ordeal. Odin seems to take everything in stride, though doesn't he? Let us know about the hernia surgery. Keeping you guys in our thougths
C

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 PM  

We've been through hernia surgery and it was a breeze. Hopefully it will be the same way for Eric.

I am relieved to hear that the ROP surgery went well.

By Blogger Becky Sprecher, at 5:06 PM  

aha! just to keep you all on your toes, i edited the post slightly. so now you'll have to go back and read it again :-)

By Blogger e3, at 5:22 PM  

So glad to see that he made it through the surgery and meds without any complications. I am surprised that ketamine was used - I thought it was primarily used by vets and in animal research. I was told that it caused hallucinations during a strange kind of sleep. But - guess it must be the drug of choice with the least side effects. Let us know how he is doing post surgery as time goes by. I am waiting to know that he is feeling himself again. Will the hernia surgery be done through a laparoscope? If so, it shouldn't take much time to recover. Well, in Machias, we are glued to the computer watching the comments as the day goes on - and saying our prayers. Love, Mom

P.S. Grampa Eric brought tears to my eyes with his poem. Has he missed his calling? Just want him to know that his poem was much appreciated by all the family.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:48 PM  

Ohhh, I was so happy to see an update on the surgery. I am even more happy to hear it went well. I too hope there are no more ROP surgeries in the future.

Odin is filling out and looks great. You are truly blessed. (I know you may not feel that way at times, it shall pass) My prayers continue to be with you 3.

Brittany from Florida

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:54 PM  

I'm glad the surgery went well. Versed, while it's nothing to use casually, is actually one of the best drugs I've ever given a patient. The recovery time following the administration is much shorter than some of the other medications available.

By Blogger Da Goddess, at 5:04 AM  

Wow...I googled laser eye surgery ROP...and came across your blog. I think I'll bookmark it & continue to read it. Looks like you have a preemie? My baby was born three months premature in August, and has to have laser eye surgury tommorrow also. Thank you for posting about this, it's very informational, and also good to read about how other preemie moms are handling this.

By Blogger SXYMMA, at 2:33 AM  

HI MY NAME IS LORI MY HUSBAND IS 65 AND GOING TO HAVE HERNIA SURGERY WHEN HE HAS LAPROSCOPIC DO THEY USE STAPLES AND MESH DONT WANT THE STAPLES ALSO DO THEY PUT YOU FULLY UNDER THANK YOU LORI AT HUCKLEBERRY@NVENTURE.COM

By Anonymous LORI, at 5:03 PM  

What problem with his eyes was being fixed? Can anyone explain to me what ROP surgery is?

Whatever the problem was, I'm glad he made it through safely.

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[ rhetoric ]

"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

the complete tales & poems of winnie the pooh

[ about ]

this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.



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