An Eye for an Eye
The backstory of this story will be as long as the story. Of course, it is the same story. It just took fourteen years to play out. It shouldn’t take fourteen years to tell, but it will take a while. You might want to refresh your coffee.
When the twins were two years old, at a routine pediatric physical (Which turned out not to be routine at all.) First, our regular doctor did not do the physical. The doctor that did the physical had two last names. The doctor with two last names had a concern Elaine and I had not noticed.
Dr.: I would like Girl Twin to see a specialist. Elaine, Me: What’s wrong? Dr.: Girl Twin’s left eye is not working with her right eye. Elaine, Me: Oh my God. Dr.: We are very fortunate to live in this area, we have one of the best pediatric eye surgeons, right in this town. Let me make an appointment.
Within a week, we had an appointment with the eye surgeon. I'm guessing, the surgeon was in his late thirties, military haircut, confident and personable. He explained to Elaine and I, “The brain controls the movement of the eyes, in rare cases the brain does not hold the eyes together.
When this happens, Girl Twin is likely seeing double. (I know, two Monners, could be terrifying; but then again, maybe not.) We have not figured a way to make the brain correct the eyes. BUT, I can fix this.”
Freaked out, Elaine and I didn’t know if we were to laugh or cry. We asked:
Elaine: How do you fix this? Eye Dr.: Oh, I just go in and get behind her eye, I will tweak her eye muscles and make it easier for the brain to do its job. Girl Twin will be fine. ME: Oh my God! Eye Dr.: We need to schedule surgery. We will need to put her totally out. The surgery will take about 45 minutes. We will do it right here in this office.
The surgery went off exactly as the doctor told us it would. Except for one small omission. We didn’t talk about when Girl Twin would leave the recovery room. It seems when some toddlers are brought back from general anesthesia, they can be a little upset. Girl Twin was more than a little upset. She was (construction language) off.
When we were allowed in the recovery room, I think the staff had enough of Girl Twin and simply wanted her out of the building. Girl Twin was crying when Elaine and I walked into recovery. I tried to comfort her by picking her up. Girl Twin attacked me with every weapon she had; teeth, finger nails, high-heel shoes. (OK, I made that up, but she had something in her hands.) Girl Twin was screaming she wanted down. I put her on the ground in the waiting room, GLADLY! By now I was battered. Girl Twin crawled under the chairs and table in the waiting room. While Elaine finished the paperwork, I tried to get Girl Twin from under the chairs. It was like trying to drown a cat. OK, I have not tried to drown a cat, but I do have a fairly good imagination. Pushing on those bony cat heads... getting bit by those sharp cat teeth, getting scratch by those cat claws. I’m telling you, getting Girl Twin from under the chairs, to the car and in a car seat, well, I still have scars.
Well, that’s the backstory. Now would be a good time to refresh your coffee. I will do the same.
Over the next fourteen years, Girl Twin has had check ups with the surgeon about every other year.
Last year, I was talking to Girl Twin about her day at school. Something wasn’t right. The conversation didn’t last very long. How dare I ask her to put her phone down and talk for a minute.
I decided to talk to Elaine. She will always talk to me. At least she pretends to be interested in what I have to say.
Me: I think Girl Twin’s eye is drifting. Have you seen that? Elaine: No, why do you think that? Me: Because her eye is drifting. I’m sure its not right. Let’s get her up here and you look at it. Me: OK kid, what’s up with your eye? Girl Twin: Nothing really, sometimes when I’m tired I see double. Elaine: Were you going to say something about it? Girl Twin: Its not really a problem, I just close one eye until it goes away. Me: Did you think maybe something is a little weird and we should go to the eye surgeon? Girl Twin: I guess we could.
Elaine made an appointment with the eye surgeon. The same surgeon, same military haircut with a little more gray in it.
Things had changed for Girl Twin in the last fourteen years. The surgeon told Girl Twin, Elaine and I that surgery was always an option, but he might be able to correct the problem with glasses. We elected to give glasses a try.
As time went on the eye problem became more pronounced and the glasses were being worn less and less.
Me: Why aren’t you wearing your glasses? Girl Twin: I broke them. Me: I’ll take you to get new ones. Girl Twin: I don’t want to go with you. You will pick ugly glasses. Me: I’m not going to pick your glasses.
At the glasses store, Girl Twin picked the exact pair she had picked with Elaine the first time. Soon those glasses weren’t being worn.
Me: Where are your glasses? Girl Twin: I’m not wearing them. Me: I see that, why? Girl Twin: The kids at school think I look like _________. Me: Who’s that? Girl Twin: _______, the porn star.
OK America, somebody tell me how and why high school kids know what a porn star looks like, but cannot name five signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Girl Twin: I want to have surgery. Elaine: I’ll make an appointment.
A pre-surgery appointment was set, Girl Twin was coming from school to the appointment, my job was to meet her there. I arrived early and sat in the parking lot waiting for Girl Twin. After a half hour of sitting in the parking lot, I called Girl Twin. She answered whispering.
Me: Where are you? Girl Twin: With the doctor. Me: Where is your car? Girl Twin: I rode with (this girl and that girl) Me: I’ll be right in.
I was led to an examination room where I found all three girls. I told this and that to get out of the chairs. I may or may not have been upset. Eventually, this and that left the room.
The medical staff used clear plastic ruler type things to measure Girl Twin’s eye movements while I watched.
They asked Girl Twin to tell them when she was seeing double. After a few minutes they doctor said, “OK, we will call you when we can do this, any questions?” I did have one question. “Will Girl Twin need to have this again, or will this correct itself?” The doctor replied, “Yes and yes. Time will tell.”
Me: OK, that said, you are a pediatric surgeon. Doc: Don’t worry, I’ll be there for her.
Girl Twin also had a question for the staff.
. Girl Twin: Are they going to take my eye out? Tech: If we do we can’t get it back in. Girl Twin: Oh, good.
Girl Twin had one more question, but this one was for Elaine. “Grandma, if I need to wear one of those hospital gowns, would you make sure my butt doesn’t show?”
Thursday was Girl Twin’s second eye surgery. In spite of having a previous surgery and being a fan of Gray’s Anatomy, Girl Twin pretended to be ready, but I don’t believe she was. Girl Twin cried when they inserted an IV. I may or may not have cried myself. I just can’t stand seeing my kids hurt. Elaine did not cry, but she did hold my hand.
Elaine and I were led to a waiting room. I can’t speak for Elaine, but I was hoping that I was not going to have another drowned cat episode. Girl Twin was bigger this time. Just in case, I brought a pocket knife and I was prepared to use it.
After the surgery, Elaine and I were led to recovery. Just like last time, Girl Twin was crying.
Seeing that I may or may not have started crying myself. I wasn’t sure if I was feeling sorry for Girl Twin or anticipating the battle that was to begin.
Girl Twin: (between sobs) I can’t remember a thing.
Me: That's good. I don't think remembering what was happening would be good.