Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eye, Eye, Eye! - by Rachelle

I, I, I.

Aye, Aye, Aye. 

Eye, Eye, Eye. 

No matter how you say it or spell it or use it in a sentence, this is the kind of day I had last Thursday. They are all pretty fitting. I, I, I, because, well, anytime something is frustrating, this is pretty fitting, right?

Aye, Aye, Aye, you ask? My son almost became a pirate last Thursday, eye patch and all. And, based on the pirate reference, you guessed it; this day was all about eye, eye, eyes. 

My boys, now 3 (Evan) and 5 (Andrew), a

re in summer camp every Mon, Wed, and Fri. On Wed of last week, they were introduced to slingshots made from tree branches. You can probably guess where the rest of the story is going, but stay tuned to find out how TWO eye injuries happened to TWO different children on the same day.

I have a part-time job where, every morning, I set up a jewelry store for a local jeweler and gather information from him in order to maintain his store’s Facebook page and blog site (insert plug for my new business, www.bluechellemedia.com). 

Last Thursday morning, Andrew was obsessed with slingshots. I made him one from two tiny sticks and glued them together with super glue. It snapped. Right there in the jewelry store on Thursday morning. With Andrew on the verge of a breakdown, the jewelry store owner saved the day by hunting for the perfect slingshot tree branch. He found one. It was big. Perfect for two boys wanting to launch wads of paper towels across the room. 

Literally about 10 seconds after they were given the new slingshot, I was talking to the jewelry store owner and suddenly, there was instant crying. Scream-crying that told me something was very, very wrong. I picked up Evan, who had been right under my feet, and looked at Andrew, who had that “I swear I didn’t do anything to hurt my little brother this time!” look on his face, and I believed him. He didn’t do it. Evan’s inexperience with a slingshot and my bad judgment call did it. 

I felt terrible. Beyond terrible. And that was before I even realized I needed to take him to urgent care, or to the doctor’s office…somewhere!! I held him for a long time, trying to decipher his cries. This is a tough boy. He’s the little brother. Enough said. He doesn’t practice prolonged cries, so I knew something was wrong when, 15 minutes later, he was still screaming. 

We pulled into our driveway and I calmed him down enough to look into his eye and see what looked like a scratch right on his cornea. Oh no, I thought, recalling an injury my husband had when he was 3 – a scratch on his cornea! (You can still see the scratch on his eye!) 

Calmy, I decided we needed to get Evan to urgent care immediately. In my frantic state of mind, I took him to the urgent care of the medical group hubby and I are part of – not the boys. I walked into the urgent care and instantly felt stupid. “Shoot, I’m at the wrong place,” I admitted to the girls behind the counter, who seemed very understanding, as though I wasn’t the first frantic mom who had done this.   

After their help, we got back into the car and headed to Evan’s doctor’s office. Wanting to keep the situation as calm as possible, the doctor said she was going to make Evan’s eye “glow” like Halloween. Fortunately, Evan didn’t find it scary at all and let the doctor put drops of dye in his eye so she could see the scratch. She saw it, but couldn’t quite tell if it was a “foreign object” - AKA a wood chunk - or a scratch. So we headed to the ophthalmologist. 

“How did we get this injury?” the doctor asked in a thick, English accent. 

“Well, he had a slingshot made from sticks in his hand…”

Disapproving nods from the doctor. Instant rage for me. On a day like this, did he really think I needed a look or a lecture or a disapproving nod telling me my son shouldn’t have been holding a slingshot? Nope. I didn’t. But I took a deep breath. 

“He’s never had an injury like this before,” I started to explain before I was interrupted. “Please promise me no more playing with sticks, Mom,” he said, still examining Evan’s eye. Then he suggested I stick to letting the boys play with balls. My first thought : so when Evan gets banged in the head with a ball, what accusations and advice will I get from the head doctor?
(You can’t keep kids – especially boys! – safe ALL the time. Stuff is going to happen in the blink of an eye- seriously no pun intended!)

I just stared at the back of the doctor’s head. I was so furious at his judgment, but again, I held it in. I had a few choice words running through my mind, but I realized that my impressionable young children were sitting right beside me. 

“How’d we get the black eye, Mom?” the doctor continued. 
Birthday Party where the Shiner Happened
Can you see his shiner? :(
I admit that it looked bad. We were seeing the doctor for a scratched cornea on his right eye and his left eye was outlined by a great big shiner. I understand that the doctor was doing his job, but for me, knowing that a harmful hand has never been laid on my son, I was not enjoying these questions/underlying accusations. I explained how Evan got the black eye – running toward the wooden picnic table containing his birthday cake seconds before his friends and family started to sing “happy birthday” at his party (put a bit of a damper on the party, but more on that later). 

The doctor looked at me like he half-believed me, but after more time and conversation, he started warming up and we were able to have discussions that did not solely revolve around the implication that I was the world's worst mom. 

Turned out that Evan’s cornea was indeed scratched, but not deep enough for a patch (aye, aye, aye).
After our delightful visit with the doctor, we headed downstairs to the pharmacy where we were supposed to pick up Evan’s medicated eye-drops. Andrew announced suddenly that he had to go to the bathroom, so while we were waiting for the prescription to be filled, we headed into the nearby restroom. 

Evan and I went into one stall, Andrew in another. Andrew finished first, and mid-pee, I heard the most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever heard echoing between the tiny bathroom walls. I tried to finish  my pee but ended up immediately stopping, zipping up my pants, pushing Evan to the side and rushing out to the sinks where I expected to find someone seriously hurting my child. 

Andrew was screaming frantically to the point where I could not understand a single word he was saying. All I knew was that he was holding his left eye. 

“What’s wrong!” “What’s wrong!” I yelled over his cries, and then Evan joined the chaos with cries of his own – either because Andrew’s eye injury was reminding him that his own eye was hurt, or because he was upset that he was no longer the center of attention and wanted it back. Who knows? 

I was never able to calm Andrew down enough to get a solid answer from him, but his screams and eye-rubbing (creating bubbles in his eye, of course) were enough. I really didn’t know what to do other than start drenching his face with handfuls of water. His screams became louder because I was “drenching” him, and when I loudly explained that that was the only way to get the soap out, he cried louder because I was “being mean” to him. 

“I’m not being mean, Andrew!” I said loudly. Very loudly. I needed to get the soap out. I kept drenching him, he kept screaming, two pharmacy staff walked in to see who was being murdered. One of them took over and started rinsing his eye the “correct” way, I guess, and I stood and watched. Keep in mind, Evan was still crying, and as I went to comfort him, he slipped from all the water on the floor and bashed his face into the paper towel dispenser, intensifying the scene immensely. 

Two more pharmacy workers strolled in. 

There were sympathetic looks and lots of extra hands helping out, which I was very thankful for. After A LOT of water, gobs of paper towels, four pharmacy workers, a couple of looks from “passers-by,” a bottle of eye wash from the helpful pharmacy workers, and a very worried mommy that one of her boys was bound to lose his vision that day, we left the bathroom – each boy with a wet paper towel covering his eye – and headed home. 

Reminder: you never know what’s in store for the day. You wake up, eat breakfast, and the rest – no matter how planned out – is a mystery. I was just having that thought the day before all of this happened last week. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself. 

I’m just thankful that our family survived last Thursday with eight working eyeballs.

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