Well, I did it. I waved the white flag of surrender on Tuesday. I broke the Cardinal Rule of parenting a child with health issues.
Let me back up to the beginning of the story.
Tuesday, like all days that we travel to Duke, was rainy. My mom was supposed to drive me and Claire like normal, but called and was not feeling well. So I called the eye clinic to see when we could reschedule - 5 months out. So I said never mind because my dad had volunteered to drive us. Oh, I guess he just had no idea what he was in for with a Duke check up! :)
So I should have known the way the day started out that it would be somewhat crazy. The trip up and back was not bad at all except for the rain. So that was good. I had emailed Eliza's mom a few weeks ago to see what the eye appointments were all about. I wanted to be prepared. If it was going to be anything like the eye check ups in the ICN, I was going to need some strong anxiety medicine myself.
Claire was cleared of any ROP (Retinopothy of Prematurity) before she left the ICN last year. But they like to do a 1 year check up on preemies because they can have many eye issues. Also they wanted to check her for the strabismus (lazy eye) that the neonatologists thought she might have from a visit a few months ago.
Anyways, Eliza's mom warned me that the visits could be very long. But that they did not use those metal eye clamps that they have to use in ICN. Thank God for both me AND Claire! So I was prepared with snacks, milk, juice, and books. But I guess I was just unprepared for the wait with a 14 - almost 15 - month old.
The appointment was at 2:45 pm and we didn't get out of there until around 5:00. We saw several different doctors and were back and forth from the exam rooms to the waiting rooms about 4 times. Claire freaked out as soon as we went into the first exam room. She hated all of the toys they tried to distract her with. She cried, flailed her arms, turned her head, and closed her eyes as they tried to hold things in front of her eyes to check them. I honestly have no idea how they even were able to examine her eye balls instead of her eye lids or the back of her head.
Finally, I had to hold her in my lap, hold her arms down, and also hold her face still by holding her chin and cheeks. And this girl HATES to be held down or confined any little bit. Suffice to say it was a battle.
As we waited for what seemed like FOR.EV.ER in the waiting rooms and exams rooms, I finally gave up to Claire's strong will. She wanted to get down. The books I brought were not entertaining enough. So I gave in.
I broke the Cardinal Rule.
I am confessing my sins:
- I let Claire crawl on the carpeted floor of the waiting and exam rooms. All over the floor.
- I let her chew the rubber on the bottom of her shoes. Even after she threw them on the floor repeatedly.
- I let her play with the waiting room toys without wiping or spraying them down.
- I let her play with the exam room toys without wiping or spraying them down.
- I even let her put Mr. Potato Head's face in her mouth and chew it in the exam room toy box.
- I reused her bottle after she drank milk and filled it with juice for her to drink without washing or sterilizing.
- I used the fold out changing table in the bathroom (although Claire seems to have a very, very intense fear of these things and I am not sure why. She shakes, screams, her face turns red, and her eyes get huge!)
- I gave Claire toys that had been thrown on the floor and not wiped off.
- I let her crawl on the couches in the waiting room and even put her mouth on the couch once.
And while I am at it, I envy those mothers who do not care about any of those things listed above. And I also envy those who can run marathons.
There. I said it. I confessed my sins of breaking THE rule. But I promise to do better next time. Or at least try to. The older Claire gets, the harder it is to keep her confined to her stroller or to my lap while waiting what seemed like days at the doctor's office. I kind of justified it by saying "Well, at least these kids are here just for eye exams. It's not like they have been sick and that's why they are at doctor." Wishful thinking???
On the good side, I did meet another mother in the waiting room who was there with her FOUR children, with 3 of who were having eye exams. We started talking and the 3 children were triplets who were born at 25 weeks at Duke. They were 7 years old now and doing well. She said they had been there before at the eye clinic and had to wait 5 hours. So then I didn't feel so bad for myself. Her girls stayed in Duke's ICN for 120 days and her son was there for 9 months. It was nice to talk to another mother in the same sort of situation and it helped pass the time!
And on an even better note, Claire's eye exams turned out great! No need for glasses, no sign of ROP or any damage from prematurity or oxygen use, and no strabismus! The doctor said she thought it was just the wide bridge of Claire's nose that made it look like lazy eye sometimes, which is kind of what we were thinking as I posted about "pseudostrabismus" a while back. So Claire doesn't have to go back to the eye doctor until she is 3 years old, and then 5 years old. And if everything looks good then, she will not have to go back. The doctor did see a few astigmatisms in Claire's eyes, but said they were no big deal. I have those too.
So all in all, it was a good outcome so I cannot complain TOO much. But they really do need to get that wait time under control for a pediatric eye center. But when you want the best care, you will wait all day long.
The Scott Family
PS - no pictures from the visit. I was too busy chasing Claire around the floor!