We visited the neuro-ophthalmologist for the first time in four years last Friday. So much time had lapsed because I didn’t really see the need for frequent follow-ups, since assessing Abbie’s vision with charts was pretty much impossible.
Once again, Abbie’s journey has made me thankful for technology. It turns out that there is now a computer that can measure and test the eyes without any participation from the patient. The optometrist got the first measurement, said, “hmmmm”, and then repeated it. The machine spit out readings that showed Abbie is pretty darn near-sighted. She is now about the age I was when my eyesight went off the cliff.
We then saw the ophthalmologist, who confirmed the readings the old-fashioned way, with a light and varying lenses, which was even more impressive to me than technology. He got the same results. -3.75 in one eye, -3.25 in the other. He felt that since she is reading, and has enough vision to see near objects, we should not feel required to get her glasses. My bias, however, is to make everything easier for Abbie whenever I possibly can. I think that her nearsightedness could explain why she does not engage in things across a room, rather then just chalking it up to brain injury as we’ve always done. So, I am excited to see if a cute pair of glasses (pink and purple are available) will broaden her world.
Speaking of broadening her world, Abbie went on her first school field trip on Monday, even though she hasn’t officially started school. We met all the third-graders at the high school gym just up the road. The high school “Health Academy” students were putting on a health fair for third-graders from many schools. So, it was noisy and full of energy. Abbie had been on oxygen earlier in the morning, prompting a decision to cancel. But, once she got better, we went because I knew her heart was set on it. I am so glad we did.
The regular-ed teacher is wonderful, and assured that Abbie was included in everything. At one station, empty packages of various snacks and drinks were passed out for kids to assess their sugar content. Abbie looked at hers carefully, and then we measured out the 22g of sugar to see exactly how much of it is contained in 5 little miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups. Yikes!!! Don’t think I’ll be eating any more of those….ever.
Mrs. T, the teacher, had read part of a story I’ve written in Abbie’s voice to the children, explaining her life. They were very curious about Abbie, but the forum did not allow them to interact with her much. I will be going to read the rest of the story, answer questions, and do some show-and-tell this Thursday. Would you please pray that most of all I can leave them with open hearts, so that Abbie will be warmly and boldly welcomed in January?
Another spectacle today has caused a time of introspection for me, as it has for many in these islands, I am sure. “The Eddie” ran today — or, more properly, The Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surf Contest. For those outside Hawaii, this contest can only be run when waves top 20 feet, so the last time it ran was 2004. Today, with wave faces of 35-45 feet, Waimea Bay was packed with folks watching out for the figures dwarfed by the waves. Brave, crazy, both? But what gives pause is not only the improbability of surfers riding life-threatening waves, but remembering Eddie, a man who perfectly embodied John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” You can read a good summary of his story here.
Striking, shocking, willing sacrifice. And while I am sure that people like Eddie would disagree with those first two adjectives, I pray that we more often are struck by goodness, shocked by love, and inspired to magnify those qualities in our own lives.
“Eddie Would Go”….and so should we.