With all the painful (emotionally AND physically) doctor, therapy, dental, and other healthcare appointments we SPD parents and kids endure, I thought you might enjoy a story about a medical-related appointment that actually turned out to be quite amusing and, dare I say, FUN?!
Munchkin got glasses tonight. I took him to the eye doctor after his teacher told us he says he can’t see the board. I always knew this day was coming…I started wearing glasses in 2nd grade. My hubby’s been wearing them since 1st. Squirrel got hers in 3rd grade. And so genetics dictates that Munchkin was bound to have his turn sooner or later.
Eye exams are their own unique kind of torture. They don’t hurt, necessarily (unless they put those awful numbing drops in that feel like liquid fire for about 30 seconds before making your eyes feel like they belong somewhere other than in your head.) Those of you who wear glasses know how it goes; for those of you fortunate enough to have been blessed with 20/20, let me explain. You sit in a chair in the semi-dark room and the doctor puts a thin rectangle of light up on the opposite wall, and asks you to name the letters you see. And you squint and stare and try to make out a letter among the black spots in the middle of that orange square of light. Then he puts this big machine over your eyes, and starts spinning dials asking, “Can you see anything yet?” Followed by, “Is it better now? Or…now?” And you sit there going, “Uh, I don’t know? Is there a right answer? They both look kind of the same. Maybe that one’s a little blurry…Oh, that one’s definitely blurry, yeah, that’s better…” until somehow he figures out what prescription you need. You basically feel like a moron for awhile because you can’t even read your letters and you’re sure you are failing this test somehow. Then he takes the big machine away and tells you to stare at the letters while he shines a light in your eyes–and blocks the letters with his head which is mere centimeters away from yours. And you meanwhile hold your breath and pray he can’t smell the onions you had on your salad at lunch.
So I was worried all day how Munchkin would handle the sensory-overload of this appointment. Especially the bright light in his eyes and the doctor in his face. And the machine over his eyes. And having to sit still.
Well, an eye exam with Munchkin was complete and utter hilarity! He climbed in the chair with his hand down the back of his pants, talking a mile a minute about his itch on his butt (I wish I was kidding) and then about his friend Jason at school who has glasses and how he likes to play with legos now because Jason likes lego ninjas and did you know that Angry Birds is actually my favorite game and… Meanwhile, I’m trying to tell the doctor why we’re here and that (in case you can’t tell) Munchkin is on the autism spectrum and has some sensory issues with lights and also some tracking issues and not a lot of focus left at 6:00 at night, so…good luck!
The doctor was awesome. (Turns out his nephew has Asperger’s and he knew lots of ways to focus Munchkin enough to test his eyes.) He told him to sit back in the chair and read the letters. They were too blurry, and Munchkin blurts out, “Hey! Those aren’t letters! Unless someone messed them all up! Did someone mess up your letters?” It was immediately obvious to me that he couldn’t see worth a darn because he read every other letter wrong. Then the doctor covered each eye in turn with his paddle and asked Munchkin to read the letters. He kept trying to turn his head sideways to read them, trying to figure out how to see around the paddle. And he kept a running dialogue the whole entire time. ”Wait! Why are you putting that spoon on my eye? How am I supposed to see with that spoon in the way? Only one eye works when you do that!” (I really don’t think the child stopped talking from the moment we entered his office until we left.) But he did try to read them!
Then the doctor put the machine on his eyes and Munchkin says, “Hey! I can’t see a thing! Hey! Only one eye can see! But it can’t read any letters!” And as the doctor turns the knob to clear it up, Munchkin suddenly yells, “I can’t see I can’t see I can’t…Whoa! I can see it now!” and starts spouting off the letters. The doctor kept turning and asking, “Can you still read it?” (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!) until he got a “No!” He then turned back and Munchkin would say “Hey, I see it again!” And then with both eyes: ”Now there’s two E’s. Now there’s two P’s Now there’s two–hey! Now two joined into one! I see one C! I see one F!” And so he was able to decide his prescription. (Turns out he’s significantly near-sighted. Just like the rest of us!)
Then he tried to look into Munchkin’s eyes with his light. You aren’t supposed to move your eyes, but of course, Munchkin kept looking all over the room–at the light, at the ceiling, at the machine, at the light, at his face, at the light, at the wall, at the light…So he put some pictures on the wall and told Munchkin to keep looking at the pictures. But of course, he has to get right up in your face to see your eyes, therefore blocking your view of the wall where the pictures are. And Munchkin yells out, “Hey, I can’t see the pictures! I can’t see through you! What, you think I have super powers and can see through you?” And when he turned the pictures off and turned the light back on at the end of the appointment, Munchkin said, “Hey! Your pictures disappeared! Do YOU have super powers?”
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at any kind of health-related appointment before! Between laughing at Munchkin, and watching the doctor try to stay focused and not crack up himself, I was seriously amused. What a fun way to spend time with a doctor!
Well, until I had to pay the bill anyway. This little Munchkin cost me $200 tonight! But, with any luck, his glasses should last–they are completely bendable and flexible, with scratch-resistant lenses, and a strap to hold them on his head (which he so far refuses to use, because he’s afraid it will “choke his brain.”) And a one-year warranty on the frames AND the lenses. Which I fear we’ll use probably more than once. (sigh)
He can’t wait until Monday to bring his glasses to school for Show and Tell. He doesn’t quite get that he’ll be Showing these off for the rest of his life!