Strengthening our Vision: How my son’s eye challenges made us stronger

The sticker is actually a bit creepy considering that the clown's eyes are crossed out.

The sticker is actually a bit creepy considering that the clown’s eyes are crossed out.

A simple sticker, but when I saw it, the memories came rushing back. I had unearthed from the loft (US: attic) a bunch of mailing envelopes to send out my book in, which CutiePyeGirl found intriguing. In the midst of them she found this little sticker and presented it to me with a flourish. When I saw it, there in my mind’s eye was PyelotBoy, three and four years old, walking out of the Royal Free Hospital, having survived another eye appointment. Our consultant was amazing, but the drops hurt him, and my heart always tugged at those meetings about his eyes.

PyelotBoy has faced some physical challenges, including his eyesight. One of my dear friends – who herself had a squint (US: lazy eye) and two surgeries in her childhood to correct it – reluctantly approached me when PyelotBoy was about two years old, asking when we were going to get his squint looked at. She didn’t want to interfere, but she knew more than we did that it needed attending to. I had noticed it, of course, but just thought it was an eye that sometimes turned in, an affliction that appears in both my maternal and paternal families. I’m so grateful for her gentle question, however, as we got an appointment right away and found out that his squint very much needed attending to. The weak eye, if not strengthened, would lose its ability to see. (Spiritual application alert!) He would also eventually need surgery to move the muscles around in both eyes to straighten them out and have them working right.

So much for us as new parents to take in during those appointments. Our fantastic consultant we got originally through what was then called St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy, an organization that provides healthcare for clergy and their families to which medical people (often Christians) donate their services. We didn’t need to be pushy advocates for PyelotBoy because Miss Davey went out of her way to give him the best treatment available. (And I learned throughout the years why she’s called “Miss” Davey – for me as an American I thought it odd, and would rather call her Dr Davey. But the Miss signifies that she’s a surgeon, so is actually a higher designation than Dr. Interesting!)

The things one finds squirreled away in the loft!

The things one finds squirreled away in the loft!

We had years of appointments and years of those stickers. Years of PyelotBoy reading first the charts of pictures of familiar objects (and yes, a teapot featured) and then letters when he had learned them. Years of PyelotBoy wearing a patch over his strong eye for hours in order to strengthen the weak eye. The enduring for him and us of his eye surgery, which Miss Davey performed so well – she even gave me a hug in the operating theatre after the anaethitist put him to sleep, for I promptly burst into tears at the sight.

So when I saw that sticker, so many memories came flooding back and I felt tender and grateful. Sad that PyelotBoy had to endure those trials, but proud of him for the way he met them, one by one, with courage. Like his eye, which was strengthened over the years, he’s stronger and more resilient in character.

How have you been strengthened through trials?

Note: Posted with PyelotBoy’s permission.

4 Responses

  1. My boy had similar eye problems, although we fortunately managed to avoid surgery. More difficult was having my first child born two months early and going through the process of her growing in NICU. Previous to that time I never understood the concept of faith being a gift, because I thought it was something you either had or didn’t. But God gave us a real gift of faith in that although it was hideous and I felt God had deserted us, it never occurred to either hubby or I that anything could happen to either of us – which definitely didn’t tally with the reality that we were both close to dying at various points. We saw many miracles in hospital those weeks, in both mine and my daughters health – in fact, my maternity records say ‘affected by prayer’ because there’s no other explanation for my blood pressure dropping!
    And my tiny 2lb13oz baby is now a beautiful six year old girll, who teaches me something every day 😊

    1. Abbie, that’s so moving what you wrote – and how amazing that the medical people had no other language than ‘affected by prayer’! Praise the Lord. Thank you so much for sharing – a boost of faith for me to read it.

  2. Louise

    it’s so good to read this right near the beginning of our journey with my son’s eye. He will have his third eye appointment at the hospital at the end of October where we will no doubt be discussing surgery. I think I will find it very hard to see him ‘put under’ but knowing that you made it through and that we will make it to the other end, keeps my hope alive.

    It’s really hard to feel you are doing the right thing or to watch them struggle – but as you say it’s about resilience and my son is teaching me more about that every day.

    Thank you so much for sharing this today Amy, I was right in the place where I needed to read it.

    Louise x

    1. Louise, I’m so glad. You and your sweet boy were in my mind and heart… You will get through this, and you’ll learn and yearn and pray so much for him. But I won’t sugarcoat it – it is hard. Yet we give thanks for the NHS and living in a time where they can do so much. I have a friend who had surgery but not patching, and he lost the sight in that eye. sending love! xx

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