The first eye specialist we took Steven to at 4 months old was a highly recommended pediatric ophthalmologist. We ended up seeing him usually once a year. We also saw a couple other specialists during those first few years, but he was our primary ophthalmologist. Our elementary school staff, Rehab for the Blind, or other organizations we were working with, would sometimes suggest testing or questions they wanted us to ask Steven’s eye doctor about. When Steven was 5 years old, the school asked for a particular test to be done. At our next visit with our ophthalmologist, after he had done a basic exam on Steven, I asked the doctor if they could perform the test the school had requested.
I would like to think the doctor was just having an extremely rare bad day. When I asked about that testing, his response to me was unthinkable. The doctor in a harsh tone and with no tact, proceeded to explain to me why it was so ridiculous that I even wanted him and his office to consider performing this test on Steven. He went on to say, how obviously, none of us realized how little vision Steven had. He went over quickly all the hard facts about Steven’s limited sight. Then he began to list EVERYTHING Steven would probably NEVER be able to do, that normal little boys did. Please understand, Steven was in the room for this WHOLE conversation. I was 25 years old, I had been through multiple surgeries, and I had experienced different times of receiving really tough news regarding Steven. Through all that, I had on occasion teared up but never broke down crying in front of any of the doctors or nurses. When I sat there in that office looking at the expression on Steven’s little face as he listened to EVERYTHING this doctor was saying, I wanted to scream “SHUT UP” to this doctor, yet all I could do was sit there and cry. I am sure part of that was because I was afraid some of what this doctor, a highly recommended specialist, was saying could be right, but I was just so devastated at the fact that he was saying all this in front of Steven that I could not calm down. By the time I left his office I was sobbing. Then as we were leaving his office one of the medical staff was attempting to check us out and console me. She was also asking us to set another follow-up visit. I was so upset with the doctor and his unprofessionalism I could hardly speak, except to say “I did not want to set another appointment” and we left. I knew as we walked out of his office that day that we would never return. I couldn’t imagine ever exposing my son again knowingly to someone who would speak those type of things into him. It took me a while to calm down on the way home. I didn’t want Steven to mistake my silence and sadness with giving any credibility to what he had just heard this doctor say. As I got my voice back I began to talk to Steven about the fact that the doctor didn’t really know him and didn’t realize how many amazing things he could already do.
I wrote a letter to that ophthalmologist and sent a separate copy to his staff. I wanted them to know our experience and why we’d no longer need their services. I wasn’t unkind, but I was honest. It is one thing to take on a momma bear by herself, but it is a whole nother thing to attack one of our cubs! We never got any response back, but I could only pray that he took something in my letter to heart.
For the record EVERYTHING that I can remember that the doctor said that day, that Steven would never be able to do, not only has he done ALL of them, but he has done most of them well!
There is a song call My Story! by Big Daddy Weave. It touches me every time I hear it! Here is part of the lyrics: If I told you my story you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go… you would hear love that never gave up… Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him!!
Parents and Grandparents, you have the most influence with your kids during their early years. NONE of us get it all right, but I know we are all trying to do the best we can. Here are a couple of studies I have done in recent years that I really enjoyed and that challenged me in a positive way: Words Kids Need to Hear by David Staal and The Blessing by John Trent PhD & Gary Smalley (endorsed by Focus on the Family).