Day 112

Benjamin is getting reading glasses, and he’s very excited about it.

We went to the ophthalmologist right after dropping Banyan off at Southside. I brought antibacterial masks with me just in case; it may not be a sick people’s doctor’s office, but it’s a doctor’s office nonetheless. We didn’t need the masks. We sanitized ourselves, chose an empty waiting room and steered clear of communal toys and books.

The exam room of an ophthalmologist, particularly an ophthalmologist who specializes in pediatrics, is a wonderland for a curious child. Benji was fascinated by the many tools and charts and machines they used to test his eyes. He loved it. He did not, however, love the drops they used to dilate his pupils. As with everything he’s endured this year, he took it in stride.

We put our family’s strict anti-Frozen policy on hold and watched the movie in the waiting room during the required dilation time. When the doctor brought us back, he examined Benji’s eyes again, this time to get an exact prescription. His vision is 20/20, but he has hyperopia–he’s farsighted. The opthalmologist couldn’t say whether this was related to chemotherapy or not. He recommended reading glasses, and told me that some kids only need them for a few months, and some for years. Benji will only use them when reading or doing schoolwork.

We left the exam room and headed to the optician’s department in the same office. Benji picked out some sweet frames and we ordered the lenses, which should be ready within a couple of weeks. He was very concerned about the possibility of getting a case. Would there be a case. Would he be able to pick out the case. Would the case come with the glasses, or would we need to order it separately. Are you sure we can get a case?

A few hours later, Benji’s teacher, Mrs. West, came to our house for her weekly visit. This time she brought a delicious home-cooked meal. She is such a blessing to our family. Before her arrival, Benji finished his work for the week–about an hour’s worth–and during their time together, he knocked out five tests. He performed beautifully.

I struggled with some doubts today about whether Benji really needed reading glasses. I’ve read studies about the affect of chemotherapy on neurocognitive functions like attention, and thought that perhaps this was the real culprit. But after watching him with Mrs. West this afternoon, I felt so grateful for our decision. Benjamin becomes empowered when he is in control of a situation. In this case, he told us things were blurry, we followed his lead, and now we are giving him a tool that will keep him excited about reading and schoolwork. His needs are being met. My confidence was solidified by a post in the online moms’ group; many parents reported blurry vision during chemotherapy, with glasses as the result. Lots of them stopped using them after treatment. The oncologists know so many things, for which we will always be grateful; but the moms always come through with experience.

I give thanks tonight for seeing clearly.

4 thoughts on “Day 112

  1. Can’t wait to see Benji’s new glasses. I’m sure he will look even more handsome than he already does. Emily was hoping that she needed glasses and I know was disappointed to hear she did not. They are very hip these days. Love to you both. Keep on being brave Benji, you inspire us daily.

  2. Laura: What’s your anti-Frozen policy?

    With regard to doctors’ offices–this applies to everyone–I read recently that one should never read magazines or newspapers or any written material that is in a doctor’s office as ill people might previously have read and touched those and one could pick up something. Since then, I always bring my own reading material to the office of a doctor.

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