The Canadian Niece - as you may remember - was diagnosed last year with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is what I had/have. It took a few months to find the right med combo and a few more to get her off the steroids - thankfully, because the later-in-life effects from those can be merciless. So that is going pretty well. But as often happens with JRA, she is having eye problems. When you have inflammation in your joints, you can often get it in your eyes too. Her inflammation was so bad that it was causing everything in her eyes to swell up and stick together and they couldn’t get the swelling down enough to separate all the inner workings of her eyes. It was highly risky that she might lose her eyesight. They managed to get the swelling down just enough, but last week my brother called to say that they found a cataract that was causing her to be almost completely blind in one eye, and a cataract just starting to grow in the other eye. (She is so upset that she can’t see well enough to do her puzzles.) I had cataracts as a child as well and they had to take my lens off, remove the cataract and then I had to wear contacts. So will TCN, at least until she is done growing and can have a permanent lens implanted. Problem at the moment is that her inflammation in the eye is still too high for them to actually do any surgery. First they have to get the swelling down and then remove the cataract and hopefully stop the other one in its tracks.
All in all, worrisome for TCN’s future vision, plus a hell of a lot for a kid to go through when she doesn’t really even understand it, at not-quite-5 years old.
Then today my little brother called. Last week he was telling me how they had to remove everything from The Niece’s - 1 1/2 now - walls and shelves in her bedroom because she ‘has gone vertical’. They always used to call The Nephew ‘Monkey’ because they thought he was a climber, but apparently they had no idea. So today they had a pot of coffee and they put it up on the highest spot in the kitchen, but they turned their back for a second and she scaled the kitchen cupboards and pulled the pot of piping hot coffee down on herself. My brother immediately stripped her, put her in a bath of warm water and then noticed that blisters were already forming. So he rubbed antibiotic cream all over her, wrapped her in gauze - (both arms and her forehead/head) and rushed her to the ER. They had to scrub-brush off the top layer of skin and for some reason they didn’t use pain meds - my brother was pissed about this - and the poor sweetie screamed through the whole procedure. Now she has to go in every day and have her bandages redressed and inspected, until at least Saturday, when they will reevaluate. Plus she has to stay quiet, calm and hydrated, which is not easy with a kid that young and means she will have to be kept away from her brother, because she thinks he is a human jungle gym. The doctor has said there will be some permanent scarring, especially on her one arm, but they are doing everything they can to minimize it.
When The Nephew got home from school and saw her injuries and heard what had happened, he burst into hysterical tears and couldn’t stop crying. He takes his job to protect his little sister very seriously, the little man. My sister already had tomorrow off, as a special day to treat herself, but has since decided to drive out there to visit The Niece and take her a care package of quiet activities to do.
Both my girls could use some good wishes, maybe a Luck Dragon, right about now.