The Gift of Sight

The other day Matt was getting ready to go to work when Cameron came zooming around the corner looking for him.  Cameron was gasping for breath and all sorts of excited as he takes daddy by the hand, closes his eyes, and says, “Lead me to the car daddy, I’m blank.”  From the closed eyes and request to lead we realized that Cameron meant to say blind instead of blank.  But either way it was hilarious.

Sight has been a big topic of conversation in my house these days.  Cameron went back to the eye doctor in June and we got final confirmation that we won’t need to put an eye patch on him because his glasses had done enough to help correct his lazy eye.  Brendan was due to go back in June as well, but the eye doctor moved his appointment to November because every year after we check him in June we get a note from the school saying that he failed the eye test and need to have his eyes checked again.  Sure enough that note came in the mail last week.  His appointment is in three weeks so we will just get it signed and taken care of then.

The frustrating thing about that whole situation is that we’ve told the school a million times that he’s not going to pass the eye exam given by the nurse.  In fact we have him on an IEP for his vision.  He gets preferential seating at the front of the classroom, and they enlarge his textbooks as needed.  Even with corrective lenses it isn’t likely they’ll ever get Brendan’s vision to 20/20.  With all of these things in place, and the fact that the eye doctor writes that same note onto the note every year, wouldn’t you think they’d stop sending the note home?Apparently not, but at least I’ve now got things in place to take care of it.

Little Miss Kaylee, it seems, is in a different boat completely.  When Brendan was found to be farsighted at 18 months they recommended that if we had any more children to get their eyesight checked early because the type of farsightedness Brendan had was hereditary (I wasn’t aware there was more than one kind…).  They said to have Cameron checked when he turned 3 unless we saw any issues with his eyesight sooner.

We did, and they said Cameron was slightly farsighted but that it should correct itself with age.  Evidently most kids are born farsighted and it regulates as they grow.  We took him back at 4 and that’s when they found that not only had it not gotten better (it had gotten worse) but he’d also developed a lazy eye.  Once that was all discovered they recommended we bring Kaylee in for a checkup at 12 months.

At Kaylee’s first checkup they found she was also farsighted, but within acceptable ranges for her age.  The scheduled a follow up appointment for when she turned three.  That appointment was last week.  I knew for weeks that her appointment was coming up.  In fact last week was pretty much filled with doctor appointments for Kaylee since they were all scheduled for after she turned three.  The boys were going to be out of school starting on Wednesday since it was parent-teacher conference week so I was trying to get her appointments out of the way before I had to worry about the boys tagging along.

Unfortunately Cameron woke up Tuesday morning feeling under the weather…sort of.  He’d complained about a stomach ache going to bed on Monday night and Tuesday morning he was very lethargic and still complaining about not feeling well.  He had no fever and no visible symptoms, but he looked completely miserable.  Even though he’d be out of school for the rest of the week I decided to keep him home.

Well, as it turns out, I was duped by the 5 year old.  It didn’t take long for me to discover that he wasn’t actually sick.  His main problem was that he had refused to eat his dinner the night before so most of his stomach ache was from being hungry.  Once he shoveled in 2 big helpings of breakfast and let that go through his system he was perfectly fine.  By that time school had been in session for a couple of hours and I didn’t much feel like explaining to them why he’d been too sick for school that morning and now wasn’t.  So I let him stay home the entire day.  But I also let him know that he used up his one and only chance and going forward he’d have to actually be sick before I let him stay home.

That did mean though that I would be taking him to the doctor with Kaylee.  I almost wonder if he understood that and planned his “sick day” just for this occasion.  Our eye doctor has a play room for kids and my kids only get to play in there when we are there for an actual appointment.  When we go in for adjustments or to pick up frames there just isn’t enough time.  With that to entertain them I figured, how bad could it be?  Evidently I’ve not yet learned that just asking yourself that question means that things are going to end up being pretty darn bad.

Kaylee was amazingly good at the appointment.  She cooperated with the doctors and nurses so well that they commented she was better behaved than a lot of the adults they deal with.  Cameron on the other hand was a nightmare.  In the initial exam room where they take a computer reading of what your eyes are seeing he could not keep his hands off the equipment.  Unfortunately all I could keep doing was reprimanding him over and over again because my hands were full with Kaylee.  She was cooperative, but also 3 so holding her head perfectly still for the 2 minutes needed for the test was a little difficult for her.  So I had to stand behind her and hold her head steady.

Next we went into the main exam room.  Cameron and I were to sit on a bench while Kaylee sat in the big exam chair.  Cameron could not keep still.  He kept getting up and running around the room, or messing with the doctor’s stool, or going up to the big chair to bother Kaylee.  This time I was able to be a bit more effective in restraining him but that didn’t stop him from getting up over and over again.  At this point I didn’t feel like leaving and taking him to the car was an option.  We were already mid appointment with Kaylee so I didn’t want to take her out and at 3 its not like I could have just left her alone, so I just dealt with Mr. Antsy.

The down side was that the eye doctor wanted to dilate Kaylee’s eyes; that adds 30-40 minutes to the appointment.  But I knew how much more accurate his findings would be with the dilation (they actually dilate Brendan’s eyes every time to ensure they get the most accurate reading on his eyes) and I had the extra time to spare on this appointment so I agreed.  Luckily they let the kids go out into the play room again while the eye drops were taking affect, so Cameron had the opportunity to run off some excess energy.

Finally it was time to go back and see what the final outcome was.  The eye doctor explained that Kaylee was showing slight signs of an astigmatism and was still slightly farsighted.  He compared her results to those of the boys at the same age and showed me how much better her eye sight was than theirs had been.  He decided there was no need to put her in glasses at this time AND he said she doesn’t need to come back until she’s ready for her Kindergarten physical.  I was thrilled!!!  That was the first good news we’d ever gotten from one of the kids eye doctor appointments.

I know she’s not completely out of the woods.  Matt’s family all pretty much wear glasses and Matt had his by the time he was 12.  My family also pretty much wear glasses, though they were more apt to get them in their 30’s and 40’s.  So with my kids it’s not so much a matter of IF they’ll wear glasses, but WHEN.  And I’m okay with that.  But putting another toddler into glasses was not something that I was really looking forward to.  So if we could put off Kaylee getting them for 3-5 years, that would be just fine with me.


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