Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I may need to make a resolution this coming New Year: no more self-diagnosis via Web MD.

Now, I'm no frontier woman when it comes to bearing up bravely when in pain, but, as someone who recovered completely from mono and viral meningitis (at separate times) within three weeks, not to mention taking only a week to get over being treated for malaria when I really had food poisoning in Africa, it galled me to be laid low by something as pedestrian as pink-eye.

On the morning a week after my eyes began their cruel attack on my face, I walked into Willem's room and was greeted by the cheeriest "Hi, Mommy!" I've ever heard him muster. He prattled on happily ("Daddy doing? Puppy go? Morning!") while I stared aghast at his face. It appeared that a hive of bees had stung him about the eyes. He looked like a different kid. He was in a great mood, for which I was very thankful, but his sanguine mood was so incongruous with his appearance that the overall effect was extremely creepy.

Of course I called the doctor immediately. The nurse called me back. "He has pink-eye," I said. "He got it from me. I'm getting over it."

"OK. I'll call in a prescription for some drops. What pharmacy do you like?"

After we got it all squared away she added, "Now give us a call if it gets inflamed or red around his eyes. That would mean an infection of the tissue around the eye, and that can get pretty nasty. We'd need to see him so he could get oral antibiotics as well."

Now, I may be a bit wimpy when it comes to pain tolerance, but I'm no slouch at vocabulary. So when I said, "Hmm...inflamed. Like, all puffy and pink around his eyes?" it wasn't because I didn't understand her meaning, but because it meant I'd been incapacitated for a week by something worse than pink-eye and that my discomfort could have been quickly alleviated if I'd only seen fit to visit a doctor.

I took Willem in. Less than 48 hours later he looked like a new kid. Or rather, like the old kid. Nels and Shaun escaped with only one red eye apiece and very little puffiness. The whole family has been dosed and the dread words "eye drops" have been added to each boys' vocabulary.

I have found that the sicker I get, the more impaired becomes my judgement. This results in things like having one's appendix out at two in the morning the day before Thanksgiving. So let 2008 be the year: if I can't function, I'm calling the doctor.

1 comment:

Hillary said...

Amen to that resolution!