Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dental and Vision appointments... Dear Ali, get a life!

*Disclaimer: This post is being written to serve as a reference point when I need to review 'medical' related details in the future. It's boring and serves no point other than that. 

Lately, life has been highlighting the differences between my children. And while the differences in personality and physical features are probably more interesting to discuss, it is those differences involving their health that have been increasingly apparent.

Early in February, I scheduled a follow up appointment for the older two kids to see their eye doctor. Comfortable taking three kids to the doctor on my own, I can't help but feel concern for my future self as I think of adding a fourth member to our public parades. Rather than retrieving three packages of fruit snacks for my purse, I'll simply be grabbing the entire box!

At the beginning of  2012, we noticed that Henry's eyes would sometimes cross when he was studying something at close range. It wasn't a huge surprise since my eyes did the same thing when I was his age.  Eventually, I would need two eye operations to correct the problem. Fortunately, his long distance sight is as good as can be expected but seeing close up sans glasses is difficult. This, again, was a problem that mimicked mine. At each of our appointments, I anticipate the doctor will announce that it's time to think about that corrective surgery. To my surprise, it hasn't happened. The doctor reassured me that with glasses, his vision is 20/20 and with time he thinks there is a chance that his eye that turns in will strengthen permanently. I hope time will prove his optimism right and my skepticism wrong. Another interesting tidbit that the doctor shared, and maybe I don't understand this fully, is that its the actual shape of our eye that makes/made us prone to crossing. With Lottie having an eye shape similar to Henry and mine, I won't be surprised if she follows suit. 

Eliza, on the other hand, has quite the opposite problem. Her distance vision is awful. I can't tell you the shock I felt as I watched her fail on a scale of epic proportions her vision test at her six year old well child check up. My child who could identify letters of the alphabet prior to turning two had no idea what she was looking at when asked to identify various letters at a distance. She was weeks from finishing kindergarten and I was just now understanding how poor her sight was? Considering all she'd learned, kindergarten had been a smashing success. Right? I still wondered. All those times sitting on the rug, had she been able to see anything up on the board? Sign me up for Mom of the Year!

Her glasses, I was told at first, would need to be worn on an 'as needed basis.' She wore them at school full time, beginning last October, but we were lax on whether or not she had them on at home. My concern spiked again when I realized that even with her glasses on, she couldn't clearly read the numbers on the microwave clock unless she was standing right under it. Had the doctor made an error on her prescription? At our appointment in February, I brought up my concern that her glasses hadn't perfected her vision as Henry's had. After promising Eliza this appointment wouldn't involve eye drops that sting, I was made to be a liar as he went ahead and tested her again, drops of pain and all, to verify the prescription we were working with was the correct one.

She is, in fact, wearing the correct prescription. However, she needs to wear them full time to allow the right eye to strengthen. I am pleased to say that now she can read the microwave clock with her glasses on from a far distance. It's the little things that make a Mom happy, yes? That's progress. :) What amazes me though is how well she's done in school despite her problems.Her close up range/lens is stellar, he explained. Comparing her vision to a video camera, he explained that it isn't the lens that's the problem. It's the chord that connects the video camera to the t.v. that is faulty (in her right eye). If having her glasses on full time doesn't solve the problem, she'll need to patch the stronger eye so the weaker one will strengthen.

Moving onto dental hygiene... How thrilling is today's subject matter?!? Can you stand it?!

My kids have seen dentists on a regular basis since they were little, little. Since arriving in Utah, my choice of dentist hasn't been what I'd hoped because our insurance plan isn't accepted by most offices. Wanting my kids to have the 'Disneyland experience' with a pediatric dentist simply isn't in the cards until I begin choosing the plan each November when it comes time to 'renew/change' options through Andrew's company. I can't complain though because our coverage is great when we stay in our network.

Anyway... each visit, we learn that Eliza has a cavity (or four) while Henry has never had one. Their hygiene habits are the same. Obviously, I need to be more faithful at flossing their teeth, but the contrast in their continued results leaves me stymied. Eliza left with a sheet full of dental procedures needing to be done... including a full on extraction of an infected baby tooth which takes place on Friday while Henry's dental report for kindergarten registration was easily signed off on.

Looking at their smiles, Eliza has a pretty white one. As a contrast, my child who has a mouth free of cavities has two top teeth that are dead and graying. What the?!? While living in South Carolina, probably near the age Lottie is now, Henry fell while standing in the bath tub. His top two teeth smacked the side of the tub on his way down. They were both loose. I was surprised they didn't fall out right then. The wiggling stopped in a matter of days, but the damage was done. That accident, we suspect, began the slow process of killing those two teeth. Soon after, one of his teeth that had been hit, turned an unfortunate shade of yellow. In recent months, that yellow shifted to gray and it has since been confirmed that both teeth have died. They aren't causing problems so they remain, dead as they are, in place until they fall out in a year or so.

Anyway, with kindergarten registration and the arrival of a new baby around the corner, catching up on appointments is on my mind. I have a list of things (swimming lessons, cleaning out closets, sky diving... ) I hope to accomplish before we begin that adjustment phase to our family's next normal. Top on everyone's list is to spend time outside and enjoy Spring like weather.

Before shifting topics with a new post, it would be a shame to move on without acknowledging that each appointment type outing is always colored in its own special way. Two incidents stand out. After hours of the children calmly going through the motions at an eye doctor appointment, the last ten minutes involve a hysterical two year old who is protesting the fact that she was only allowed to take home one prize from the treasure chest. That scream of fury, in public, is always a great pleasure.

The second story involves Henry. This past Wednesday, as we waited for Eliza to be through with her teeth cleaning, Henry and Lottie sat around the corner from where I was in a small area that was designated for kids. As he colored, he began to sing aloud. Not only could I hear him, but the rest of the patients in the waiting room and the receptionists who sat nearby could too. The five seconds it took for me to decipher his lyrics were five seconds too long. He unapologetically sang,

"Penis. Oh Penis. My Dad says the word Penis. Penis. Penis. Oh my Dad says the word..." and this continued until I was able to round the corner and shush him. The damage had been done. Because I was avoiding looking at the other adults, I don't know how much they appreciated his song.We have another dentist appointment tomorrow if anyone is looking for a way to liven up their afternoon.


Karina said...

bah ha ha! thanks for sharing that gem of a henry-song-story!!

Kelsi {John, Jake, Georgia, Naomi, Alice} said...

motherhood is fun, right?! i can so relate to the dental issues and, i must say, i am so glad to hear my child isn't the only kid his age with a mouth full of cavities and the need to have one extracted. (seriously, breaks my heart that he has to go through this!) georgie is horrible about brushing her teeth and she's cavity free! naomi's teeth are good so far but she has two gray teeth from falling. so different and so frustrating, but all part of having kids, right?!?! hope eliza's extraction goes well, jake's is in april. i hope he survives, it might just be the end of him! ;)