For just this moment I want to cry. I want to be mad. I want to scream.
Like any other doctor appointment, I come with my emotional armor. I’ve been through this what seems like a thousand times before; I get my hopes up that this time, this time, it will be fine. He won’t freak out. He will just do as he’s asked, nothing will hurt, there’ll be no tears. There’s only been 1 appointment like that in the last 5 years. I was on cloud nine for a week after that day. I thought we might be turning a corner. After repeated meltdowns, we’ve come to the conclusion that our son is just a person for whom the world can be scary, he doesn’t like people touching him, and textures and tastes freak him out. It’s just the way it is. We’ve learned to manage it. And dread doctor visits.
We wait in the office with everyone else waiting their turn to see the ophthalmologist, the kids are happily playing with assorted children’s toys on the floor. I am gearing myself up for a tantrum, like so many before. Gray haired ladies smile sweetly at the kids.
His name is called and we head back to an exam room. I can already see him looking at the equipment and sizing up the experience of whether or not he should be afraid. I assure him there will be no shots.
The doctor does some vision tests and it becomes evident that he cannot see out of one eye. He wants to do some further testing – the kind that require the dilation eye drops. One full-on meltdown later, eye drops in, we are walking to a little area waiting for his pupils to enlarge. He curls up in my lap and I rub his back. He’s tired. I’m tired. God bless my daughter being easily entertained by the toys again. More examination, bright lights, eye tests and despite my son’s best efforts to kick the doctor in the groin, the same conclusion is made: he really can’t see out of one eye. This is serious.
Words are mumbled in Charlie Brown teacher language that we’ll be referred to a pediatric clinic in Seattle for further testing to confirm. He can’t see out of one eye. Something about optic nerve apathy. The doctor asks me if I have any questions for him.
I have so many questions but my mouth has gone dry and I can’t form words.
“Is there something I missed? Could I have seen this coming?” Doc reassures me that my son may not have known anything was different, it may have been this way his whole life, and we are only seeing it now because his eye has started drifting, which is what prompted this appointment. The doctor also says that aside from being a pilot, there’s not much he wouldn’t be able to do, but this isn’t something that can be fixed through glasses or surgery. There really isn’t much to be done, other than wait for the confirmation with the specialist.
So for now, we wait.
For this moment, I am mad. This is an ouchie I can’t soothe. I can’t fix it, I couldn’t have prevented it. It just is. I’m not a person to cry out, “Why me?!” or “Why our son?” because really, why not? Crap happens. Life can be difficult and tragic. It’s not always fair. There are far worse things in the world than not being able to see out of one eye.
I get all of this.
But for now, for right now, I’m sad and I’m mad. I want to kiss his little drifting eye and make it all better.
For now, we wait.