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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Eyes On Great America

I have to find a new route to get to the kids' eye doctor. Every time I take Ben to an eye appointment, I forget, until right before it comes into view, that we pass Six Flags Great America on our drive. And this ALWAYS sets off a meltdown. 

Because remember when you promised that we could go to Great America this past summer? And Dad promised he'd take me? And then he had his hip surgery and didn't take me? And you said you'd take me? And you never took me? And WHY can we NEVER go to GREAT AMERICA?? 

You get the picture. Major. Meltdown. Every. Time. 

I need a new route.

This time was made worse by the fact that Ben is totally 'off' right now to begin with. I don't know what in the world is going on, but all my kiddos are quackier than normal. Some people say it's because of the new moon. Well, if that's the case, I hope the moon gets old REAL fast because I'm REAL tired of the chaos around here. 

For the past year, Ben has been complaining about his eyesight. Let's keep in mind, he is a hypochondriac. So when a complaint is verbalized by my sweet darling, I empathetically sympathize with him, but take it with a grain of salt. When the complaint keeps recurring, I take it more seriously. So for a year, he's been complaining. He can't see the board at school. He can't read unless it's very close to his face. He never ever wants to or is capable of reading his books for English Language Arts that he is supposed to complete every couple weeks and do reports on. So actually, this has been going on more than a year, now that I think about it. People say he must be lazy. I hear that a lot from ignorant people. My boy is not lazy. He has diagnoses that make living like 'normal' people and behaving like 'normal' people impossible at times. That doesn't make him lazy. That makes him a hero.

I took him to the eye doctor three times this past year. The first and second time, she said he's fine, but have him come back in 4 months and we'll just check to make sure everything is still ok. This past week was checkup number three. And still, 20/20 vision. Doesn't need glasses. The doctor said Ben can hold books closer to his face if that helps him feel more comfortable, and should sit in the front of the classroom. Which he already does. 

The door to the doctor's office had barely shut when Ben exploded in total frustration. He swore, he cried, he yelled, he freaked out. He called the doctor names I cannot repeat or my Mom would tell me to go to my room. Because he felt I didn't believe that his eyes bother him. And the doctor doesn't believe him. And he already sits in the front of the room. And he CAN'T SEE, he said.

And then. To top the whole meltdown off, to add insult to injury, we passed Great America again on the way home.

I thought for sure my son's head was going to literally explode. He just couldn't take all the injustices he felt were bestowed upon him in one afternoon. It was a terrible drive home, and I had to pull over at one point to have him climb in the back seat so he could rage without hurting me or Ella or causing an accident. The debate in my head while a kid is having a rage and we're driving is do I race home as fast as possible because that's the only place I can ensure everyone's safety and calm my child down, or do I pull over somewhere so we don't have an accident and wait for the anger to subside, which it won't for a very long time, which will scare the other kids in the car with me…it's always a dilemma.

This particular day I decided to just ignore the rage as much as I could and get us home as safely and quickly as possible. As I helped Ben calm down in his room, I assured him that I did believe he is having eye trouble. If he says it over a long period of time, and it's a consistent complaint, I believe him. 

That night I went online to Google other possibilities for vision problems. I couldn't find anything. I told Alex "I WILL find out what is going on and how to help Ben." His response was "I KNOW you will." Amen, brotha.

I got in touch with a friend who has experience with eye problems that regular eye doctors do not test for or diagnose. I talked with, who else, our OT, who knows absolutely everything about any question I have related to anything about my kiddos. I would be so lost without our therapists. Seriously, they are angels sent from Heaven JUST to make my journey easier, this I am sure of. 

The information I got is that it is possible to have vision problems that are not detected by a regular doctor's tests. So Ben could have legitimate eye trouble that is just not being tested correctly at our eye doctor's office. There are a whole host of things that could be going on with his beautiful eyeballs that could be causing him frustration. So on to a different kind of eye doctor we will go. I will not leave a stone unturned until everything is tested and ruled out about Ben's vision. Because I can tell he is suffering with something, so that is unacceptable as long as I am his Mama.

It may be nothing. Ben may just be frustrated about his vision for no reason that any doctor can see (pun intended). But I'd bet that there is something going on that we can identify and fix. Because that's what I've found for everything over the past 12 years. Everything is identifiable and fixable. At least to some degree. The worst part is not knowing. Not knowing why your kid can't focus on his math homework. Not knowing why your kid will only eat yogurt and nothing else. Not knowing why your kid can't jump when all the other kids her age can. Not knowing why your kid can't wear jeans. Not knowing why your kid refuses to flush a toilet and walk in sand. Not knowing is the worst for me. If I know- if I have a name for something- I can fight it, research it, conquer it, tackle it, defeat it, explain it, understand it…and then understand my babies better. And love them for who they are.

Daddy is saving the day and taking Ben to Great America tomorrow. Maybe I can keep my route to the eye doctor after all. 

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