children, eyesight, family, health, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

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.

children, family, health, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Tell Him Something He Doesn’t Know

Today Full Speed had an evaluation by an allergist.  I have suspected that he may have some seasonal issues and frankly, if he has my DNA, odds are he might be allergic to something.  Fire ants, anyone?

He was quiet as we waited for the nurse to perform his skin tests.  He did not enjoy the process.  He writhed about and complained vociferously as over 50 scratches of allergens were placed up and down the length of his back.  Then, all we had to do was wait fifteen minutes for the results.  He questioned me emphatically as to why this craziness had to be done, and I said so we could better understand how to treat him when he is sneezy.

“Once the doctor returns, he’s going to ‘read’ the marks on your back and let us know if you’re allergic to anything,” I explained.

“I already know, Mom.  I’m allergic to needles,” he said.  At this point he was ready to pack it up and be on his way.

Good point.

Miraculously, despite his direct genetic link to me, he was allergic to absolutely nothing (switched at birth?).  Well, not including the needles.

children, family, health, kids, motherhood, parenting


At the beginning of summer it was determined that T.Puzzle’s oversized tonsils needed to be removed.  I certainly dreaded the impending surgery and almost completely lost my mind the night before it.  This was nicely countered by Mad Dog’s calm optimism.  Calm and optimistic were two emotions I found very difficult to conjure when my baby was about to go under the knife.  What made the whole situation worse was T.Puzzle’s joy leading up to his procedure.  He glowed in the attention we lavished on him.  He was giddy because he was getting special gifts, his favorite foods and he got to sleep in a tent in our bedroom.  He was so joyful on the day of surgery he leapt from his tent and exclaimed, “Yay! I can’t wait to see the doctor.  This is going to be so cool!”   Clearly he associates doctor visits with special time with one or both parents usually followed by lunch involving happy and a meal.  The more exuberant he became, the more nauseous I felt.  It was like looking at an innocent puppy knowing you are hours away from placing him in a den of ravenous lions.

T.Puzzle’s joy continued as we allowed unlimited iPad game time as we waited in the ambulatory holding area.  He didn’t even flinch that it was well past noon and he was not allowed food or drink.  He became immersed in his games and was only annoyed when the blood pressure cuff interfered with his gaming strategies.  He was a trooper as they took him away for the procedure and gave us a carefree wave goodbye.  All I kept thinking was ‘farewell, my sweet little puppy!’

When it was over, we heard him well before we could see him.  To say he was angry is an understatement.  When he was wheeled back to us, he was a screaming ball of fury.  Limbs were flying, tears were flowing and he yelled repeatedly “I WANT TO GO HOME!”  He was an innocent no longer.  With each quiet murmur of comfort I offered  him, he answered with a louder, angrier cry.  This is the point when my head really began to hurt.

Mad Dog swooped in and said to T.Puzzle, “If you stop crying, you can play games on the iPad again.”

Instant serenity.

He calmed, he sighed and he gamed on.

Yes, I have to come to terms with the fact that I have been rendered obsolete by technology.

As long as I got my patient home in peace, I’ll take it.  And, somehow, I don’t imagine an iPad will be able to administer round the clock pain meds with a loving touch for the next few days.  Then again, there might be an app for that.

T.Puzzle happily waiting for surgery
T.Puzzle post-op. Hard to tell the difference, isn’t it?
children, eyesight, health, life in pictures, motherhood, parenting

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.

children, eyesight, gratitude, happiness, health, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery

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.