Eye Would Do Anything

DSC_8519At the beginning of summer there was an incident at the ocean.  It involved a massive wave and T.Puzzle’s rec-specs.  Thankfully, only his rec-specs were lost at sea.

Here within lies our dilemma.  Both my boys, and more so T.Puzzle, have highly specialized lenses for their glasses and rec-specs.  So, what seemed like an innocent mishap on the beach has left T.Puzzle without rec-specs for months.  I may not mind so much if he wasn’t a crazy beast on the soccer field, or any field for that matter.  We’ve been putting him in his spare glasses and praying that he and his glasses remain intact while he thunders down the field.

I decided for his eye health and safety, to explore some options.  His eye doctor recommended that contacts might work.  Not only would they be safe for sports but the bonus is that it would improve his vision.   She didn’t have to ask me twice.  If improved vision is possible, we are going to go for it.

Fast forward to now.  The boys have been sized and fitted with their very specialized and expensive contacts.  The only kicker is, I actually have to get them on their eyeballs.

Ha.

I’ve tried many tactics.  We ‘practiced’ for weeks while I pulled and yanked on their eyelids and placed imaginary contacts on their irises.  The hope was that once the contacts were created and ready, they would be so use to me fiddling with their eyeballs, it would be a breeze to pop the contacts in.

Ha.

I’ve tried tough love.  I’ve tried straddling them to keep their arms from swatting me in the face.  I’ve tried to coddle them and it only seems to make them cry louder in frustration.  I’ve tried humor.  Loads of it and granted, we laugh a lot, but no contacts come anywhere near where they are supposed to go.  Unless you count Full Speed’s upper lip as placement, I’ve had zero success.  (No contacts were swallowed or harmed as a result of this incident)

My personal favorite tactic was being reasonable with them.

Ha.

“Once you get the contacts in you will see better and therefore be better at sports,” I said in a probably very annoying and very pleading tone.

“Mom, I’m already really good at sports so I don’t need them,” replied T.Puzzle.

And, just like that, I was back to square one.

Do I give up?  Do I let the pipe dream of improved vision and ease of turnaround time for prescriptions go?  Do I kiss hundreds of dollars worth of contacts goodbye?

I am so ready to throw in the towel and the contacts right along with it.

Unfortunately, parenting doesn’t work that way.  You keep going and keep trying and keep doing all you can to make things better for your kids.  Even when they fight you.  Even when they cry and fuss and scream.  Even when all you want to do is cry and fuss and scream, too.

I keep imagining the future.  My boys are grown and handsome (naturally).  They are confident contact wearers who will look back on this time with humor and love.

“Hey, Mom, remember when you tried to gouge our eyeballs out when we were six and eight?  Thanks for trying so hard to make sure we had awesome vision.”

Then, they both will hug me and I will cry some more.  This time the tears will be ones of gratitude instead of frustration thank god.

Eye Am Happy That’s Over

I have come to accept that the boys’ annual dilation of their eyes is a challenging appointment.  To prepare for our afternoon at the children’s clinic, I discussed with them that while eye drops are not pleasant, they are necessary for the health of their eyes.  It is okay to be frustrated.  However, it is not okay to scream and cry like they are on fire or to physically lash out at the poor staff member administering the drops (we have lived through both these scenarios).

When it was time for the drops, I made T.Puzzle go first.  I figured he would be the most belligerent and wanted it over as quickly as possible.  My instinct was right.  He acted as if we were burning his eyes with acid.  He cried and screamed.  I had to physically restrain him while the nurse pried his clamped lids open and precariously aimed the drops in the general vicinity of his eyeballs.

Of course, Full Speed sat quietly in the corner watching this whole scene unfold.  I gambled that while seeing his brother freak would be unsettling, he is old enough to reason through that eye drops don’t maim you.  When it was his turn, he bravely took his drops.  He tried so hard to keep still and even squeaked out a ‘thank you!’ when the nurse was done.  It was the sweetest, cutest ‘thank you’ I had heard in a long while.

As a reward, I took the boys to the snack shop where we could wait out the dilation process and they could choose anything they wanted from the vending machine.  As we sat at our table surrounded by Skittles and potato chips, the boys wanted to know how I thought they did.  I said that Full Speed did amazing and T.Puzzle’s outburst was a bit over the top. Full Speed turned to me and said, “It’s true he did scream and cry a lot, but he didn’t try to hit the nurse when she gave him the drops.  He didn’t kick her either.”

T.Puzzle shows off his winning smile and awesome shades worn to protect his dilated eyes. He promptly took them off about two seconds later.

I couldn’t be more proud.

Eye Hope So

T.Puzzle gets ready for his letter read through

Full Speed moves into place for his eye exam

The boys had their six month eye check-up and even though it ended up being fairly routine with a good dose of positive news thrown in, I was kind of a mess.  As a parent if you have ever experienced a traumatic medical appointment for your child, it never really leaves you.  When Full Speed was first diagnosed with vision issues over five years ago, the initial prognosis was bleak.  Years of testing, surgeries and follow-up care have thankfully stabilized his vision and his future.

After all this time and all the hard work to get both boys to a place of good vision, I still can’t let go of that first, horrible assessment for Full Speed.  The logical place of my brain says to focus on how amazing they are doing but sometimes fear takes over.  I hold my breath every time either one of them does a read through of letters as their visual acuity is tested.  My whole body tenses as their ophthalmologist peers into their dilated eyes evaluating their physical structure.

Realistically, I may never fully get over my fear.  Life, parenting and health are too precarious for that.  To counteract life’s uncertainty all I can do is give thanks for every kind of health-related appointment that is routine.

That’s all any of us can do.

A Lesson in Swimming

We finished soccer just in the nick of time to start swim lessons.  Apparently there is no rest for the weary in our household.

I wasn’t sure how these lessons would go.  Full Speed is old enough and adapts well so I figured he would be okay.  I was more worried about T.Puzzle especially once the instructor confirmed the boys would not be allowed to wear their glasses in the pool.  This did not sit well with me.  I know it is necessary and I’m all about deferring to the instructor.  She has been doing this for years and I have to help her establish that what she says is the law.

Everything went smoothly with Full Speed except that he was a freezing, chattering mess by the end.  T.Puzzle was a different story.  He melted down early and often.  It was hard to sit and watch.  I had to resist the urge to jump fully clothed into the pool and rescue him.  Eventually, the instructor got him calm and he slowly began to overcome his fear.  By the end of the lesson he was determined to do whatever she asked of him and do it better than his brother had.  Sibling rivalry in this instance was a beautiful thing.

Full Speed looks on as T.Puzzle practices how to get safely out of the pool.

By watching T.Puzzle work through his fear I realized something.  If T.Puzzle can conquer a pool without glasses, he is going to be ready for anything life throws at him.

Except maybe his overprotective Mom hurtling herself towards him if he ever goes anywhere near the deep end of the pool.

Being brave is tiring

Limitless Sky

Life hands you challenges sometimes. When you are faced with these, it is often difficult to understand why.

I have two young boys that were born with a rare genetic eye disorder called ectopia lentis.

I don’t know exactly why this happened.

All I do know is that it has put us on a path in life that is beyond anything we expected. We have been connected to amazing people we never would have met otherwise. We have had to test our mettle over and over each time victorious in the knowledge that as a family, we can overcome any obstacle.

So, I may not know exactly why vision challenges came into our lives. At least now I’ve had time and growth to realize some of the amazing lessons that have gone along with it.

If we can do this, we can do anything.

Think about any challenge you have lived through or are living with right now. If you can do that, you can do anything, too.

The sky’s the limit.

This is a pic of the boys being introduced by the director at the Vision is Priceless annual fundraiser. We are very thankful to this organization for all they do. Check out their link in my blog roll.