Well, I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Sean-Sean just got his first pair of glasses! Okay. He got them in February. But I haven’t quite been on top of things lately, so you’re finding out about it now. Anyhoo, this should be a cute, little story about an adorable, squinting four-year-old, and his responsible mother who notices something right away and takes him promptly to an optometrist … but it’s not. It’s me, so it’s more of a Screaming-Panicking-CT Scanning-Emergency Room-Brain Bleed kind of deal. (Not all that stuff actually happened, but I was told it would, so it counts.)
The whole brouhaha started a few weeks ago when Sean told me that he was having double vision. Since I’m such an optimist, I skipped thinking, “Oh. Gee. I think my kid might need glasses” and flew straight to “Ack! Head trauma! Brain injury! My kid is broken!” My assessment of the situation actually wasn’t completely without merit. Sean had taken a spill a few days prior (as he was attempting to cartwheel from a high wooden stool onto a two-foot, red, plastic table) and smacked his head into the floor.
I didn’t actually see the incident, because the boy was sensible enough to wait until Mama was out of the room before launching his career as an urban ninja. But I do recall Sean running to me immediately afterwards, howling and crying, as Liam breathlessly gave me his panicked account of Sean’s impressive mishap. Liam was sure to emphasize the fact that he had absolutely nothing to do with his brother’s little stunt, and he emphatically declared his innocence several times just to make sure he had properly brought the point home. (Hmph. Richard Nixon in a SpongeBob t-shirt.)
I cuddled Sean until he settled down, and he was soon buzzing around as usual, so I felt like he was in the clear. But as soon as all that double-vision talk started, I thought I might have made a terrible mistake. So, I gave him the Worried Mom Third-Degree. Since the fall, had he had any headaches? No. Nausea? No. Dizziness? No. Any ringing in the ears? No. Any sore head lumps? No. Any not-sore head lumps? No. How many fingers am I holding up? Four. … Uh oh. I was holding up two.
I called our pediatrician’s office to see if I could get Sean looked at the same day, but there wasn’t anything available. So, the receptionist put me on the phone with a triage nurse, so she could give me a recommendation and put my mind at ease. I told the nurse the whole story, and then kicked back and listened for her to “put my mind at ease.” She didn’t. Our conversation went something like this:
NURSE: You say he had some memory loss after the fall?
ME: Well, no. I don’t think so. He was really upset and crying and kind of said, “I don’t know my name! I don’t know your name! I have amnesia!” But, you know, he’s kind of a galloping drama llama, so that’s actually pretty typical for him.
NURSE: Ma’am, memory loss after a fall is extremely serious.
ME: Well, yeah, but he’s four. Last month he told me he got a blind helper monkey and an invitation to attend the Jedi Academy. I don’t think his claiming amnesia is really 100% reliable here. But, you know what, I’m just around the corner from the walk-in clinic. I’ll take him in just to be safe.
NURSE: Ma’am, we are WAY past the walk-in clinic here. He needs to be taken straight to the ER.
ME: What?! But … What?!
NURSE: If you take him to the walk-in clinic, they’re just going to put him in an ambulance and drive him to the ER. He needs to have a CT scan immediately.
ME: Oh, my gosh! Are you sure? I mean, he didn’t have any nausea or dizziness or any of that other head injury stuff! He’s been fine!
NURSE: I’m going to call the ER and tell them you’re on your way.
ME: Uh … okay. Holy crap. Where are my keys? I’ve got to call my husband.
NURSE: I’ll call his pediatrician too and tell him what’s going on.
ME: Oh, jeez. Um … okay. Wow. I … uh … yeah. Bye.
I called Peter at work and told him that I had to stop rehearsing my Mother-of-the-Year acceptance speech and take our broken child to the ER before his brain exploded. Peter has always been the level-headed one, so he talked me off my proverbial ledge and told me to go to the walk-in clinic, so we could be told by a-real-doctor-who-had-actually-seen-the-boy whether or not he needed an ER.
Peter met us at the clinic and gave Sean about sixty rounds of “How many fingers am I holding up?” The kid was a really good sport about the whole thing, which was good, because the clinic doctor looked exactly like a tan Nosferatu. I mean, I would have considered bolting at the sight of him, but Sean was a champ and let the doctor put him through an impressive battery of motor tests to make sure his brain was still connected to his body, plus a vision test. After a thorough examination, the doctor confidently declared Sean to be 100% fine, but told us to take him to an optometrist, because … shocker alert … he might need glasses!
We got him in for an eye exam the very same day, and guess what? Sean is now the proud owner of a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle corrective eyewear. And we didn’t even need to spend $50,000 on hospitalization first! Such a bargain.
So, no. Sean didn’t need any of those ambulance rides or fancy scans or anything. He’s fine, and he’s in good hands. After all, he’s got his helper monkey.