The Day Before

The firstborn has a big check-up tomorrow with his eye doctor.  Three months without eye-patches now and we’ll find out tomorrow morning if there was any positive change.  We’re not too hopeful he’ll escape the appointment without need for surgery.  That left eye of his just floats a little too much still to think 2015 will be surgery free.

There’s a weird stress to the day before the appointment.  These visits have become so routine, so normal that I can tell you now exactly what will happen tomorrow; check in, sit down next to the big box thing with a steering wheel on it for ten minutes, hear the kid’s name called, scramble to grab all our stuff, make small talk with the nurse as she or he walks us to the observation room, go through an eye exam that the kid will not be happy about doing, watch the dirt track race seen from Cars while the nurse inputs data, nurse says, ‘The doc will be in here shortly’, twenty minutes later see the doctor, bright lights go in the kid’s eyes, doctor types some stuff and we schedule the next appointment.  There’s nothing new to the process ever, but there’s always that lingering chance of surgery hanging out there.

Thank goodness the kid is young enough to not really understand what all is happening.  He just knows he’ll be showered with stickers by nurses and doctors and he gets an hour long car ride to play with his LeapPad.  Doctor visits are the bees-knees in his book.  From our side its all panic and questions; will this surgery work? Can the surgery be early morning so the fasting period is minimized?  Note to any parent new to the surgery scene, get them as early in the morning as possible.  Unfed kids are tolerable if they’ll only been awake for an hour or two prior to surgery, if it’s after their normal lunch time and they still can’t eat everyone is in for a awful afternoon.

Constant questions come before a “next steps” appointment.  The most obnoxious question of course being, “where’s the insurance card?” We figure that one out quickly enough thankfully.  It’s tough being so devoid of answers.  That lack of clarity always lends itself to fear. I remember my mom’s face when we were walking out of the doctor appointment that ended with, “Shawn, you likely have cancer.”  There were so many unknowns in the air at that moment that only fear could exist.  That was the first and last time I had ever seen my mom afraid of anything really (five minutes, then on to fixing things).  I think it is a fairly universal trait, worrying about your kiddo to the point of wanting to profusely vomit everywhere.  At least I hope I’m not alone in that.

These little beings, so full of hope and wonder and joy, deserve so much better than illness and medical tests.  I am incredibly grateful none of my questions have to do with the quality of care the firstborn receives from the doctors and nurses of Children’s Hospital in Aurora. Concerns of out-of-pocket maximum, scheduling, time off requests and all that stuff are fairly petty comparatively.


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