“Mom, are you excited?”
“My eye doctor appointment.”
“Oh, yea… that.”
Honestly, no. I was not excited. I was scared. I was worried. I really didn’t know what to think or feel beyond the fact that my son was having eye pain and blurry vision and I had no idea how to fix it.
I’m a mom. I should know.
But I didn’t. Thus, several weeks ago I phoned my trusted eye doctor and made an appointment. It wasn’t an emergency – yet – so we got what we got and therefore had weeks and weeks ahead of us to think, to imagine, and to worry what this appointment would bring.
Finally, today was the day.
Sean barely had time to get off the bus, come home and pee before we packed a snack bag and left for the medical center.
I prepped him again in the car as I have done so many times before.
“Sean, you’re going to get eye drops.”
But did he really?
Did he remember the horror he went through as a young child when he came down with pink eye?
Did he remember how both my husband and I had to hold him down to put the drops in every day?
Did he remember the terror that he felt with every drop of liquid?
I know I did.
And now Sean is way too big for me to hold down – even if my husband was there.
What would I do in the doctor’s office if he freaked out? What would I do if he lashed out – threw his hand up – and accidentally hit a staff member?
What would I do?
“Sean, you’re getting drops.”
The moment of truth was swift. After a short warm-up with the eye chart the technician whipped out the magic bottle… the stuff I feared so much…in order to dilate my son’s pupils.
He seemed calm.
And then he wasn’t.
I had him hold my hands – wishing for him to break them rather than have his arm swipe an unsuspecting employee.
Sean was breathing heavy, his lips frantically going back and forth over his braces.
I had to try and keep him calm. I would worry about him ripping his lips apart later.
He closed his eyes and you could tell that ever fiber in his body felt panic and fear.
My eyes started to tear and my heart broke as I helplessly watched what my son was going through.
I tried talking to him.
“Sean, look at me. You’re ok.”
“Sean, close your eyes. Hold my hand. I’m here.”
And then finally, desperately, I remembered something he had said.
At summer school he had met a girl.
He didn’t know what she looked like or any detail of her person.
Except for one.
She wore short shorts to school.
“Sean, think about that girl today. Think about the short shorts.”
“Sean, tell me again what she was wearing.”
“Yea, short shorts.”
The drops were in and now only the stinging was left to get through.
I wrapped his arms around me to keep him from wiping his eyes and held his head to my chest as he cried, “My eyes! My eyes!”
If only I could take every painful second from him. If only I could hold him tight like that and protect him from all his terrors.
But I can’t. I can only be there.
We had one more hurdle to cross when the doctor’s light was too bright for him.
“Sean, remember the short shorts.”
Even the doctor had to stop what she was doing so she could laugh.
We all did.
And then it was over.
My son, the boy who can’t look at anyone, stares too much and doesn’t blink enough. It was as simple as that.
No glasses. No mom-imagined brain tumor. No emergency.
Blink breaks, an anti-glare screen for the computer and no tears shampoo to wash his gorgeous eyelashes… a prescription that anybody could handle.
A call to Pizza Hut for a celebratory dinner and the details of the day’s ordeal were practically forgotten.
Hopefully, that also included the co-ed in the short shorts!