Our Story Part 6

Our nightmare — Sisler’s dream

Having been told that Sisler would be leaving for Africa for two weeks starting on May 20, we saw him the day prior to make sure Peanut’s progress was on track. Sisler tells us that everything looks great and that we should make another appointment in “6 to 8 weeks.” We questioned this by saying “but he is still not able to fully close his eye over the swollen conjunctiva.” Sisler dismissed our concern (as usual), saying “Yes. That’s right. But the tears are collecting in that spot, so everything is fine.”

We also questioned Sisler’s confidence that the silicone oil would absorb into the body over time. We told him that in our own research it seemed that silicone oil does not readily absorb into the body. We cited problems with silicone breast implants as an example. He responded by saying that the silicone used in breast implants is a different kind of silicone. (Again, either he was lying or he was ignorant of the fact that silicone oil does not absorb into the body.)

Over the next several days, Peanut seems more and more uncomfortable. He is keeping his eye closed — as much as he can close it — nearly all the time.

On May 24, we pulled down his eyelid to see if something was wrong and we noticed significant inflammation and redness. We called Eye Care for Animals and left immediately to have Peanut seen.

Dr. Gaerig examines Peanut and tells us a new ulcer has developed that is much worse than the first one (30% depth with early malacia). She confirms this is due to Peanut being unable to close his eye. She puts in a NEW stitch at approximately the same spot where Sisler had put in a stitch in on April 18 and later removed on May 8. She does not charge us for anything except medication. She prescribes several NEW medications including morphine, rimadyl, tramadol, blood serum and clavomox. Peanut was at this point on more medications than he was after the retina reattachment surgery itself.

Having been told by Sisler just 5 days earlier that everything was fine and Peanut wouldn’t need a recheck for 6-8 weeks, we were confused, furious and overwhelmed. We asked aloud in the exam room: “Why did Sisler take out that stitch when he still wasn’t able to close his eye?” No one offered us an explanation.

During our crisis, Steve Sisler was in Africa; no one could reach him. We did not know it at the time, but he was there to finalize a plan to give up being a vet and move with his family to Africa to become a missionary. He never told us that he would no longer be Peanut’s eye doctor. We found out approximately a year after the initial surgery when we received a form letter Eye Care for Animals sent to all his patients.

Today, the website for Sisler’s foundation specifically cites his Africa visit in May of 2014 as the experience that launched his dream for a new life. When we received the news from Eye Care for Animals about Sisler’s departure from veterinary medicine, it became clear to us what had really happened. When Sisler performed surgery on Peanut and met with us for the numerous rechecks, he had already shifted his mental focus to the next chapter in his life. Neither we nor Peanut mattered to him or to anyone else in the practice. This explains not only the surgical error but the numerous errors in judgement and the total unwillingness to come up with a long term plan for Peanut.

Gaerig set up an appointment for us with Sisler for May 30 (after he returned from Africa).

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