Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Hardships of Motherhood

There are many hard things about being a mother, but the thing I personally find the most difficult is knowing when I'm doing what's best for my child.

I can embark on a course of action and feel perfectly confident about it, but then I find myself beseiged by doubt when the child in question protests and then I wonder if I've totally ruined them for life and if they'll ever be able to forgive me.

Such was the case yesterday.

My seven-year-old has bad eyesight, which has been getting worse quite rapidly over the last year. I took him in to an eye doctor last month and was counseled to get some vision-correction lenses which actually retrain the cornea to the right shape so the patient can see again, even with the contacts out, after a period of time. I talked it over with my son, and he was excited. I talked it over with my husband, who agreed. We prayed about it, felt good about it, and yesterday, we went and got them.

Now, in theory, I insert the lenses, he sleeps in them, and then during the day he doesn't wear them. In reality, I spent an hour and twenty minutes last night inserting one lens. My son was screaming, bordering on hysterics, and hyperventilating.

It was so hard, knowing that we could dramatically improve his eyesight and improve his quality of life, to see him freaking out like that. He'd let the doctor put them in earlier, but when it came to doing it again, he was out of control. I explained over and over and over again that this was for his best good, and he'd get calmed down, but as soon as he saw my finger, it was all over for him. Finally I called the eye doctor. Well, he said I could! So at eleven p.m. I'm on the phone with the doctor. He suggested letting my son fall asleep and then inserting the lens.

I tried. He didn't let me. Kid can fight like a wildcat even in his sleep. We left it at one lens.

This morning we went in to the doctor. I was completely ready to give up. My son was obviously not ready. We would have to discuss other options. I had dropped from exhaustion the night before. I had stayed awake thinking of what a rotten mother I was, questioning my existence. On three hours of sleep, I knew I was not in a condition to deal with this.

The eye doctor listened to my explanation, then checked my son's eyes. Well, eye. The one with the contact in it. Which was now seeing perfectly. He explained to my son that the contacts would help him see. He let my son play with the lens for a minute, and then he let the doctor put it in. Yeah, that's right. He put it in. The stinker.

Because these lens are oxygen-permeable, they're the kind you can wear for several days in a row. So we decided to have my son wear them for a while and then come back. Today has gone pretty well. We've put eye drops in a couple of times and he's getting used to them. Tomorrow promises to be better.

Now, if we can just get to the point where he'll let me put them in and take them out, then we'll have gotten somewhere.

Did I mention that I'm exhausted and frustrated and worn out? Yeah. I just really hope this continues to work. I want my son's eyes to be helped. And I hope it can be done in a way that doesn't end up sending the poor kid to a shrink to discuss his evil mother issues.

16 comments:

Jen said...

Hang in there. This too shall pass.

Karlene said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. As someone who totally freaks out when anything gets near my eyes, I can empathize with your son. My daughter did my make-up for my son's wedding and I almost had a panic attack over the eyeliner!

But as a mother, I can also understand it from your side too. Unfortunately, I have no idea what to suggest. If it were eyedrops, I'd say, have him close his eyes, but the drops in the corners, then have him blink. But that won't really work with contacts. Sorry.

Good luck. :)

Shari said...

You are not an evil mother. You were doing what you felt was best for him. Don't let your exhaustion and frustration stress you out. You are an awesome mom!

Karen said...

I feel for you. This reminds me of the time when my son was about 3 or 4 and had a fever. I had to wrestle him down and sit on him to give him ibuprofen. Ibuprofen! for heaven's sake. The kind that tastes like cherries and most kids love it. He would have nothing to do with it. I don't know if I was more frustrated with him or with myself because I felt so powerless. And when we got him to the doctor, the nurse very matter-of-factly gave it to him and he drank it, and I felt totally inept and stupid as a mother. Gee, aren't you glad I shared this with you.

Donna said...

Oh Tristi,
I so had the whole questioning my exsistence and my ability to be a mother this week too. But we all know that the only answer is that Mother's don't get to quit their job, so really I finally decided to think about how to fix what was wrong this week and make it until next week. I feel for you.
Here's a question prompted by the way you phrased your post. I thought you meant that your son had put the contact in, but it was the Dr. who did right?
Have you talked about having your son learn to put in the contacts with supervision? As long as you were there to make sure he did it right would that work? I don't wear contacts so I am not sure how hard it is but I know that touching my own eye is not as freaky as if someone else does it. Good luck with all that and I will hope you get some sleep.

Pink Ink said...

My husband once took my youngest to have stitches put in, and she was reportedly very brave and didn't fuss.

Next time she needed stitches, I took her in, and she fought like a hellion. I felt like such an incompetent mom.

I think kids get dramatic around Mom. I'm glad your story had a happy ending.

Weston Elliott said...

Hey, If you can have those sorts of worries, then I must be doing okay, too! What is it about kids that have this inherent belief that the mom, who loves and takes care of them when they do things like puke and stay up all night, is suddenly going to turn into this horrible monster and feed them awful things and torment them for fun?

You're lucky they'll only have to see a shrink for the things you have done - I've got to make up for four years of someone else who didn't care if what she was doing was in her child's best interest!

Keeley said...

Oh no, your poor thing! That's SO hard to do. Hang in there! =) Maybe he can learn to do it himself and then you won't feel so bad about it and he'll feel more in-control?

Nichole Giles said...

Oh the woes of motherhood! Don't feel bad, I had to take my daughter to the doctor yesterday. Turned out, she has strep and needed a shot. Guess who had to pry her hands off the chair and hold her down on the table to get said shot?

Oh yeah, fun stuff. And she's still mad at me, a day and a half later. But hey, she's no longer contagious and is finally starting to feel better.

You're a good mom, don't stress. We can only do what we can do, right?

Heather B. Moore said...

Sorry to hear how frustrating this is! That would freak me out. I wore contacts for 25 years and it drove me nuts when the dr. tried to put them in or take them out when fitting. Had to do it myself.

violetlady said...

I can't even imagine putting contact lenses in the eyes of a seven year old. You were very brave -- don't be hard on yourself.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Yikes! that would be very frustrating! Guess 7 is a bit young for him to learn to do it himself. Hopefully he will get better with it. I've wanted some of those contacts so I didn't have to wear glasses

Julie Wright said...

my husband uses these and they have been wonderful for him.Good luck helping him understand how good this will be for him. Maybe he needs to learn to put them in for himself. I've taught kids younger than he is to put in contacts back when i worked in optical.

Queen of Chaos said...

Prayers from me...

Kimberly said...

Oh hun, that is rough! I've done a trial of those lenses before and man are they ever uncomfortable at first. I got used to it after a week or so, but oi...what an ordeal for you and him to have to go through!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Oh Tristi, I've had so many of the same emotions over each of my kids, but mostly with our oldest. It's so hard, but just pray and pray and pray. Heavenly Father will guide you. And keep telling your son that you love him. He understands you're just trying to help him. This may sound awful, but have you tried bribery? We could get our oldest to do just about anything (especially something he fought the most about) for just a bowl of applesauce. You could also try a chart that shows his progress then an award for doing a great job - perhaps a movie & popcorn night? Good luck! I'll say some extra prayers for you.

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