Friday, September 5, 2014

Aria's Eyes

There was a time, not too long ago, that my only concern regarding my baby girl's eyes was whether or not they will stay so perfectly blue, like her daddy's. But, last week, I realized very quickly that the color of Aria's eyes was much less important than what could be hiding behind them.

After the flash went off while I was taking a photo of my little princess, a white glow appeared in her right eye, sending up a huge red flag for conditions such as Coat's Disease or retinoblastoma. A quick call to the pediatrician had us squeezed in for an appointment first thing in the morning to see if anything was blocking the normal, red reflection we're used to seeing in photos. While the pediatrician didn't find anything concerning, the color in the picture was obvious enough that she urged us to follow up with an eye specialist the next day. And that's where my last post ended.

My heart raced as I filled out Aria's medical history forms. My ever-curious baby was wide awake, exploring the office with Jimmi, who was loving all the attention she was getting from the office staff and other waiting room inhabitants. It wasn't long before we were called to a lowly lit room where Jimmi was asked to sit in the patient's chair and hold our baby down, flat on his lap. I couldn't watch as happy coos instantly turned to piercing screams that became louder and more intense as each one of four drops hit her tiny eyes. When the torture had ended, I took my sweaty, red-faced, tear-streaked little girl into my arms and rocked her until she was settled.

We were sent to a small waiting area to allow Aria's pupils time to dilate before the doctor could look at them. The baby seemed to have forgotten all about the Hell she'd been through just minutes before, as she looked around at the pictures on the walls, giggling and "talking" happily to all of them.

And then the doctor called her name.

I suddenly felt sick at the possibly of hearing very bad news and I silently begged for my daughter to stay healthy and allow me to take any health problems on myself, in her place. Fears of my own 3-month CT scans were trivial compared to the absolute terror in my heart at that moment.

"So what brings you in today?" asked the friendly-faced Dr. K, who looked to be about my age, making me feel slightly inferior. But that was in my own head. I swiped to find the glowing-eye photo and handed her my phone. "This," I said, pointing. I saw the doctor's expression change for an instant as soon as she saw the problem but she composed herself quickly, for our benefit, and said, "Ok, let's take a look."

I don't think I breathed at all during Aria's exam. I watched the doctor's face for any signs of horror as she shined various lights into my daughter's eyes while holding colorful, jingly toys to keep the baby focused and her body calm. Nothing. Not one readable sign. I couldn't tell what she was seeing and I was too afraid to ask. When she hovered over Aria's right eye just a little too long for my comfort level, I was convinced we were in trouble.

The doctor stood up, removed her mining light, head contraption, and smiled sweetly. "Her eyes are perfect," she said. At that point I finally exhaled and the build-up of tears flooded my eyes and poured down my face. "I'm sorry," I said, accepting the tissue the doctor was holding in front of me. "It's perfectly fine," she said. "They're happy tears." I nodded and squeezed my little girl, who was oblivious to the entire fiasco. Then Dr. K continued, "I want you to know you did exactly the right thing. If you see a glow like that again, in the future, you should bring her back. No go enjoy her and those beautifully perfect eyes!"


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