Dr. Worst Case Scenario 


Jake is sick of me. I baby him. I won’t let him stay alone in his apartment. Trust me, Jake. I’d give anything for you to be back in your apartment. Maybe after this week, it will be more like normal for him. But it won’t. We’re not supposed to talk about his vision. “We talk about his vision later. Right now, we save his eye,” his itty, bitty, rockstar opthamologist surgeon commanded in a thick Asian accent. I had to listen carefully to understand her. She is the most “worst case scenario” doctor we’ve ever had. I lectured the junior doctors when she left the room. We don’t need all the worst case scenarios. We are scared enough. Just tell your patients what they need to know right now. Cross that bridge later, if you have to, into what could happen- only if it happens. We are already worried and scared enough. We don’t need to worry about what could happen. But she’s the best…. I understand, but our doctors have protected us. It’s not a bad thing… She smiled after surgery-it had gone well. She wasn’t promising anything. She had never worked with a situation quite like Jake’s. Normally she would have done the corneal transplant immediately, but the steroids complicated things. She was certain his body would likely reject it. After consulting with her mentor from Boston, things changed quickly. “I must cauterize his tearducts now. Then we go to operating room.” Jake screamed with pain. She finished his good eye, but before she continued, “Go to ER downtown now. Tell them he go to operating room now.” Unfortunately there was a trauma ahead of Jake. Jake was anxious to be put under. He had been in pain for a few days, but now he was miserable. The plan was to stitch layers of amniotic tissue over the cornea to hold it while the hole healed. The tissue would be slowly absorbed by the body and eventually he could have a transplant. That week in the hospital, everyone was very cautious and reserved. We were told Jake may spend 3 weeks in a rehabilitation center. It was stressful not being at IU. If nothing else, Dr. S. would stop by and help put things into perspective. We had the weekend without doctor visits. I was anxious for today. Everything looked so good, they don’t want to see him for a week. What? I fully expected to make 3 trips to Indy this week. The only explanation I could fathom was they must have worried Jake would reject the graft or the other eye would be affected by graft vs host. They were so verbal with the worst case scenario, that I’ve not been this scared since the meningitis and the ICU. (They hadn’t given any scenario because no one expected him to live.) Before we turned onto 10th street this morning, Jake took his patch off. Oh my gosh! If I look to the side, I almost have a sliver of clarity. It’s small, but it’s there. Jake’s professors emailed him back today and both agreed to let him finish the summer online classes. Mom, you may need to read to me. Tonight Jake is staying alone in his apartment. I lined up his drops and made a schedule. There are 6 drops he uses 12 times a day. The healing will still take weeks. The membrane has to be absorbed by his body and the contact bandage will eventually come off. There will be permanent damage to his vision. Ironically Molly is practically blind in one eye. She has never known any different and adapted very well.  Jake made an emoji of himself wearing an eye patch. He’s got a great attitude. Once again, he’s presented doctors with something they’ve never seen before, and hopefully he will continue to exceed their expectations…

One thought on “Dr. Worst Case Scenario ”

  1. Oh my 😪 I am so very sorry that Jake, you and your family have to go through this. Hugs to you my friend and continued prayers for all 🙏🏻💗

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