I must preface this by saying that the worry I talk about here had probably nothing to do with glasses. I am probably still unable to verbalise where it came from. I have tried.
A recent visit to the public health nurse alerted us to the fact that Gigi’s eyes would need checking by a specialist. I know it is not a big deal. I just didn’t want to believe it. We seem to have so many hospital visits and appointments for every little thing that one more seemed almost unfair. I also didn’t know how this would work. How does a 23 month old deal with glasses if they need them? Or even an eye patch? I just felt a bit deflated.
We got the referral letter and sent it off to the hospital. A quick response was just a tease as the information inside told us we had an at least 58 week wait. I kid you not! We couldn’t do that! Our doctor recommended a lady in a local town as a private option. 100 euro for the appointment. She would see us on the Saturday coming. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Get it over with I thought. Those clothes for the dreaded ‘back to work’ event can wait another while. Let the moths fly from your wallet!
I was stressed beyond belief that morning. You know those days when you wake up edgy? You are overheated, uncomfortable, need the loo but can’t get there, too dehydrated to get immediate relief from water and are just irritable beyond reality and definitely not a joy to behold? Yes. That morning I had the Prom Queen Sash for Irritability. The pre planning to go out. The overpacking. The organisation of someone to watch Betsy while we went. Realising the appointment was at ten not half ten. Aghhhhhh!! Normally I could deal with this better but I believe I was stressed. You know when you think you’re fine and don’t realise until later that you were under a great deal of pressure? I was there. With big old bells on. It wasn’t just the eyetest. Mr Paper was with the vet that morning awaiting a very important herd test result and he was very stressed too. We had been told the eyedrops Gigi needed would sting and she would be blurry. I would need to take her away for over an hour and then back again for the test. I was worried about how she would deal with it all. Mr Paper felt bad as he wanted to be with us. He wasn’t even able to watch Betsy. My Mam was coming over. A lot depended on our morning going well.
I have worn glasses since the age of seven. A standard school ear and eye check confirmed the need and a visit to an optician meant I had to wear them for six months. I still have them. I am 35.
I remember the grey haired old man who knew all about eyes, therefore was always right on the subject, asking me about ‘excessive reading’ and I feeling guilty telling him that yes, I read at night in bed. Almost like yes, I smoke Carrolls cigarettes at night sir. I am evil. He said my eye was weakened as I read with my head laying left side on the pillow and I overworked my right eye. I now think this part is poppycock but he was correct about one thing. I did need the glasses for whatever reason. Hereditary short-sightedness probably . I didn’t tell the optician about the flashlight I kept for after lights out sneaky reading time . Am sure this would be a no-no.
Glasses and I are old friends. I choose the frames over lenses mainly. Occasionally I pop in the contacts for vanity mainly. Over the years I have lost glasses, broken them, had them driven over or accidentally bent them out of recognition. My life is less social now. The frames I have now are like Trigger’s broom from the famous Only Fools and Horses scene . Only four new legs. Several new lenses. A couple of replacement nose pieces. So I am not against glasses. Just medically related visitations.
Well, myself and Gigi got to the clinic after a long search. A well hidden optician this one. We walked a busy road and I had Gigi’s little hand clenched in mine. The constant terror of traffic and cars speeding by brought my edginess to the pinnacle of an edgier edge. I was tense. I had Gigi prepped. We would meet a lady and she we would look at her eye. Now Gigi just kept declaring ‘EYE’ very seriously and I worried had I over prepped. Worry, worry always worry.
The optician was lovely. She was young and wore colourful clothes, all silky and pleasantly textured. I knew Gigi wanted to touch them but didn’t.
Her techniques were smart. Teddies and stickers etc. She tried to see how Gigi would take to a potential eyepatch. Not very well. I wore a patch. Teddy wore a patch. Dr Farrah wore a patch. Gigi put one on her cheek. The drops were put in and it wasn’t nice but Gigi took it well. At this point glasses were discussed and the prescription she would get. I was despondent but cheery for Gigi’s sake. Glasses. More appointments. More upset.
We had to leave for a bit. I brought Gigi and her massive pupils to a Tesco cafe. Changing rooms, easy seats to work, get some shopping in and an ATM available. Gigi loves sausages. They are a bit of a treat so that’s what we had. I didn’t use a baby seat but cornered her into an armchair which she loved. I drank black coffee speedily with my free arm (one always on Gigi). I used a fork to butter toast. There was no way I could get up and fetch a knife . I wondered about all my years working as a server and hoped I was thoughtful to parents with young children when I realised I was lacking milk and had no way of getting any. I sat quietly letting a fascinated Gigi imitate me by trying to butter toast with a fork and then just lick the fork. I quickly tricked the adopted fork away from her and we left. All the while I was panicking and uncomfortable. It wasn’t until we got to the car, all strapped in and happy that I realised I had forgotten to use the ATM and nearly burst into frustrated tears. Another stop at a busy garage. Another fretful handholding walk with buttery fingers, a blurry visioned, tired child and the threat of a distracted driver coming out of nowhere. I carried her for safety, which can cause me a lot of problems later see Atlas, did you develop a dodgy heel too?. It was my best option. I am beginning to feel like a whinge!!
Gigi was bewildered by this day’s events but happily accepting. She only became upset in the office once. Stinging drops. She only tried to run away from me in Tesco at the checkout as a game and tried to steal someone else’s packet of raw sausages once. ( You must think we are all obsessed with sausages! ). She only cried on the walk by the treacherous road when she wanted to stay going and not turn back. She only cried at the garage when I picked her up as she wanted to be independent and walk. Each time she was fine within seconds. It was me. I was the one in turmoil.
Back at the ranch, (eye doc) two ladies were in the waiting room. They were going to another clinic for wig fittings. It looked like a mother/daughter. Really sweet people, they gave Gigi a chair and she was thrilled. Gigi copied them by pretending to read like them. I chatted to them and realised that one day myself Gigi and Betsy would sit quietly together reading perhaps and be supports to each other. I don’t who needed the wig or why. I just said a little prayer that they were both OK.
Meanwhile there was a little boy giving it large with Dr Farrah. To us outsiders who could only hear, it was like he was being tortured. He screamed. Bellowed. I could imagine his twists and wriggles as he yelled, ‘Get away from me!’. His Granny came out of the room to us leaving his Mum to it. She was angry at the boy, saying he was bold. He wouldn’t get his toy. I saw a truck in plastic wrap awaiting him and his potential ‘good’ behaviour, in his buggy and felt guilty as I brought no treat for Gigi. OK, she had had sausages, every Irish person’s happy food! It sounded like the truck was staying in plastic. The little boy was having the check Gigi was due in for. I sweated.
She casually sat on her seat, blissfully ignoring the wild cries from ‘Behind the Door’ and then sweetly tapped me on the shoulder as I was mid conversation with the ladies. I had just been saying how I wasn’t sure if Gigi would keep glasses on. ‘Mammy. I want glasses’, she announced smiling. Her full sentences only properly began in the last few months so when she takes part in conversation I still find it amazing. I took out the purple blingtastic sunglasses I had gotten for her for practice and she happily let me put them on her. Meanwhile out came the little boy and his angry, harassed Mam. ‘He is not good, he is very bold’ she announced and I knew he had not done the test. My little fairy plopped in to Dr Farrah. Took up the Thomas the Tank Engine toy the Dr had used to coax the little boy. Played choochoo. Was tested. Smiled. Then that magical lady told me she wouldn’t need glasses. Indeed she didn’t need another appointment for at least a year. I nearly kissed her.
On the way out, Gigi hugged the doc in full view of the poor little lad sitting passively dejected on a seat with his fuming Mam and Nan waiting to go though the whole process again.
I reckon they thought I was smug. It wasn’t that. I was relieved.
A text message came through. The cows were fine. Buoyancy became the mood. Myself and a chipper Gigi sang Old McDonald until there was a silence in the car. She was fast asleep.
So really it takes massive relief to make you realise how heavily your worries are loading you down . We needed the cattle to be good. I think I needed a reprieve from my children needing appointments. I just want then to be well and healthy like any Mam would. I am sure that little boy was fine when he went in. I also really hope the two ladies going to the wig fitting are doing good.
Myself and Mr Paper went to a fabulous Indian restaurant that night. Mr Paper’s Mam came to watch the girls as she thought we deserved a rare night out. Two hours was all we needed. Amazing food and a Cobra beer each. Too tired for dessert, we went home to bed. We didn’t need the sweet stuff. Relief was dessert enough.