It was supposed to be a pleasant afternoon, having a mild weather on November is always a treat. So when Evan asked me if he could play in the school playground for a short while after I picked him up, I thought, sure why not. The weather will turn in a day or two and I will look back then feel guilty of having denied him this precious time outdoors during the cold season.
I watched my 5 year old run around the playground equipment for a few minutes, chasing and being chased by friends. Then he stepped into a sandbox to chat with his 6 year old classmate. I turned my head to chat with another mom when the next thing I knew there was loud crying. It was Evan. His classmate just threw sand on his face. Lots of them. As Evan described it to me later it got to his eyes, nose, throat and ears.
I carried Evan to the school building to wash them off. I first tried the toilet in his classroom. I wiped the sand from his face, carefully around his eyes. I gently pried opened his lower left eyelid and saw a cluster of sand sticking on it. Since there wasn’t any container, I cupped water in my hand under the faucet and told my son to blink his eyes on it, something I learned from my mom. There wasn’t any improvement.
I remembered that they had a nurse in his school. I carried him towards the center of the building but unfortunately I was informed by the school personnel that the nurse left already. One of the ladies helped. She lead us to the teacher’s lounge, got a cup, told Evan to lie on the coach and poured water on his one eyes two times. She told him that her father was a doctor, a brain surgeon, so she’s familiar when it comes to dealing with patients. She advised me to get him in a shower as soon as we got home.
There was another problem, because it was such a nice day, I had thought that it would be an opportunity for me and Evan to walk so I didn’t bring my car with me. That meant walking home for almost a mile in his state. By this time Evan was not crying but still couldn’t open his eyes. I felt I was the luckiest parent that I was able to cajole him into walking blindly because there was no way I could manage carrying him all the way home. After half the first block, Evan pretended it was a game and was actually enjoying himself, skipping on the sidewalk cracks and intersections I would warn him beforehand while doing some chants (words I can not now remember) with both of his eyes still closed. As we arrived home, I saw his best friend outside the building and that motivated him to open his eyes. Was I so glad to finally see his irises.
I thought it was over. He read the stack of books I just borrowed from the library, we did our homeworks, did his math online games. But before going to bed he complained of sand in his eyes again. He wasn’t bluffing. His eyes were again red and had tears in them. Since it was late for him, I decided that it might be better if he slept it off as I normally would, and hope that tears would wash it off in the morning. After I had put him to bed I called the nurse just to be sure and was told that I did all the right things, let him sleep for the night and if there was still a problem the next morning, have Evan see the doctor.
The Next Day
Evan woke up and complained that his eye still hurts. I once again poured into his eyes water from a cup and an hour later Evan told me that the sand was gone. So I took him to school. Fortunately, I was volunteering that day in his class at around 1:30 and as soon as I observed him watching a slideshow, squinting his eyes, tilting his heard to look at the screen I knew that he wasn’t alright. I immediately called to make an appointment and was very relieved to find out that his pediatrician will be able to see him in 45 minutes.
It turned out that Evan had to see two doctors that afternoon, in different suburbs at that. His pediatrician couldn’t spot the sand. He and the nurse even sounded skeptical that it was there, but Evan was quite firm in saying that the sand was still under the top eyelid that it hurts when he blinks his eyes. His pediatrician said that he has observed Evan to be extra sensitive to (his pen) light and that he needed to go to an eye specialist who could check on him using a special light. Right there in front of me the doctor called the eye specialist and it was a relief to learn that not only could he see me but he was in the clinic only 4 miles away instead of the other one which was more than 10 miles. But we had to be there before 4 o’clock. Our pediatrician said over the phone that we will be there right away.
I resisted the urge to drive like a mad woman. I was only glad that over the summer I had driven that route almost everyday because of Evan’s sports camp so I was very familiar with the area, knew which streets to avoid and where the good shortcuts were. We got there with a lot of time to spare despite the fully packed parking garage and the long walk from the garage to the hospital building.
Evan passed the eye check with flying colors. To my relief, his vision was still perfect. I marveled at how confident Evan sounded when he was interviewed by the nurse and doctor. And yes, with the use of the special light and eye drop that would illuminate any foreign body they spotted the culprit. The doctor used a swab to removed the tiniest speck of sand from Evan eyelid. The eye specialist was so amazed at how cooperative and calm Evan was throughout the whole ideal, especially for his age. He said that Evan was his best patient ever. I may be biased but I believe him. Evan was totally unmoving when the doctor extracted the sand.
The Follow Up
I was told that Evan had a scratched cornea. For his case it didn’t sound too serious since they are expecting it to heal within 24 hours. But just to be sure, the eye specialist wanted to see him in a few days. And we did. Evan was 100% healed. Again, the doctor couldn’t stop being impressed by Evan’s model behavior that he asked me who his pediatrician was. I told the doctor his name. “Well, he’s very lucky,” was his reply.
And why $60? That’s for the three doctor’s visits. $67 including parking. It irks me how one careless action a 6 year old (in fairness the boy was remorseful) could cost us this money. With that $67 I could have bought a nice scarf and a bag I have been putting off to buy. BUT I am just grateful that Evan still has his “super vision” (as what the sticker says in the photo) and that it could’ve been a lot worse. And yes, I have told Evan to stay away from sandboxes from now on. I didn’t get any argument there.