Okay, bad news first for ole' Henry:
After making the trip to the doggie opthamologist, we learned that Mr. H is not a candidate for eye surgery - therefore confirming that the little guy is and will be permanently blind for the remainder of his life (which is at least 32 more years, I'm sure.) His impaired vision shouldn't affect his lifespan, as long as we continue to medicate his eyes and keep them lubricated throughout the day. This is to reduce inflammation, which can cause Glaucoma, which could cause Hendo to lose an eye (or two).
Per the opthamologist, he's to get 3 different drops/ointments a day, 15 minutes a part, 2 -3 times a day in each eye. In addition, when we have the opportunity, we're supposed to give him a drop or two of wetting solution...just to keep his eyes from drying out. I told Johnny that we should add "Eye Ointment Administerer" to my business cards. Henry's SO good about letting me put the drops in, though...I couldn't ask for a better patient.
The good news? The opthamologist we saw was fabulous, and he's definitely the right guy to treat our little Henry. While I've never underestimated the value of seeing a specialist for my own health, I never realized how great it would be to see a specialized doctor for Henry. While we weren't dissatisfied with the care we received from our regular vet, it's obvious that the opthamologist is better equipped to educate us on Henry's condition. We now know so much more about Henry's situation and what we can expect moving forward - what a relief to get some concrete answers.
And that's why I'm so happy with my rheumatologist - he understands Lupus, knows what to expect and how to treat it. Even if it's a fever, a sore throat, or a bad flu, my rheumatologist is able to piece together what is Lupus related and what isn't - determinations that my primary care physician is never able to make. But that's okay - I don't mind going straight to the experts. And now Henry doesn't either.
This brings up an interesting question: Who is your primary Lupus doctor? A rheumatologist? A pulmonologist? Maybe it is your primary care physician, or perhaps your gynecologist. Let me know by casting your vote in the poll at the right. Look forward to the results!