Last week Rhema’s eyelid started swelling.
“It looks like a stye,” I said, unconcerned.
By Wednesday morning her eye was nearly swollen shut, and I got worried. I cancelled my plans for the day, and by the time we rushed into the doctor’s office I’d already googled Grave’s disease and eyeball tumors.
“It looks like a stye,” the doctor said, unconcerned.
I breathed a sigh of relief and felt a little silly.
“Yes, that’s what I thought. It’s just that… she can’t tell me what hurts, and well you always wonder and worry if something might be wrong, something you can’t see. She has a really high threshold for pain so I might not know there’s a problem until it’s too late. One time she had a UTI and it took me forever to figure it out…”
The doctor looked at me thoughtfully as if imagining herself in my position.
“Yes, I can see how that would be hard.”
She attempted to give Rhema a more thorough exam. But when asked to get on the examining table Rhema gripped the edges of her chair and would not budge. I tried holding her arms down while the doctor looked into her ears but that quickly turned into a shrieking fit and a wrestling match. Rhema really wanted to be helpful, but she was just too frightened and uncomfortable.
I tried not to feel frustrated. How can we make sure everything is ok if you never let the doctor examine you, little one?
“Apply warm compresses to the eye for 15 minutes at a time. I’m prescribing eye drops that you’ll need to give her 4 times a day.”
I stared at her, opened my mouth to say something then shut it.
She smiled and said goodbye. Appointment done in a matter of minutes. Rhema was psyched.
I zipped her jacket and studied her face.
Sighing I asked, “Rhema, how are you??”
Her teachers at school have taught her to respond to this question. I know she has only one glorious answer, and I needed to hear it and trust it. She looked off into the distance, but when she said it her voice was so sweet:
“Yes. Good. You are good, aren’t you?”
On the way out I texted Brandon: “Just a big ol’ stye. Dr. prescribed warm compresses and eye drops.”
I couldn’t help but giggle at his response: “Oh good… that will be easy.”