So, I don’t know how many of you have sensory issues, but it turns out that I do. These are things that I’ve always just “dealt” with because I thought that was just how life is. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: I cope. It’s what I do.
So for ease of organization. A list. A litany, if you will, if my visual ills.
- I’ve always had issues with my eyes. I have stupid good eyesight. I can see very far away from myself without having issues reading things close to my face. Off and on throughout my life, I’ve had to wear glasses for reading, but that never seems to stick.
- I’m terribly nightblind. I have a really hard time seeing at night. My theory on this is that I naturally focus further away from myself than the beams of my headlights reach. It makes me feel like I can’t see because my natural focus distance is all shrouded in darkness. I don’t know if that makes me not truly nightblind, but there you are.
- I can’t stand pointy things. Pencils, straws, construction cones, fingers…many many things. An example of this is eating dinner out with friends and/or family and everyone having a straw in their cups. It just about kills me, all those straws taunting me with their poking, as if they are just waiting to gouge into my eyes. Intellectually, I know that won’t happen, but it doesn’t make those poking straws go away or hurt my eyes any less. Another example is teaching school. My kids incessantly fiddle and fidget with their pencils. THEY POINT THEM AT MY EYES ALMOST CONSTANTLY. What the hell is wrong with them? Don’t they know that HURTS me? *ahem* Anyway, so I’m constantly redirecting and/or stealing the pencils to keep them from poking deep into my retinas and digging into my brains. It is a physical, painful reaction to these things for me and it makes my sick to my stomach when it happens. Funny? Maybe. My reality? Definitely.
- Light hurts my eyes bad enough you’d think I was a vampire. It’s bad enough that lights on anywhere in the house at night will wake me from a dead sleep. Hurting me. srsly. But I can’t watch TV in the dark. It gives me a headache. There has to be light on in the room with me or in an adjacent room where the light spills in through the doorway or something.
- I don’t like 3-D anything. You remember those posters from the 90’s that were all the rage? Where you stare at them with relaxed eyes and see the hidden image? Yeah, I HATE those. They hurt me in a visceral way. And 3-D movies? FUHGEDABOUDIT! no way. They make my eyes feel all wonky and misshapen and give me a headache and motion sickness (which is really a whole other sensory issue. Hello, vestibular system!).
- My eyes are the wrong shape for my eye sockets. This is fact. I can feel it, and you can’t tell me otherwise. They are big and bulbous and they feel gooey and gross. If I press the heels of my hands into my eyes, everything gets better. When I was pregnant with Pieces, I went to the eye doctor because my eyes were such the wrong shape and hurting me all the time that my brother, who was living with us at the time, said, “Well, go get your eyes checked.” Which sounds so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think to do that for myself. Of course, I could see fine, but I could barely look at things anymore because my eyes WERE THE WRONG DAMN SHAPE AND SIZE! So I went, and the Optometrist says, (please note: these are not direct quotes, but a general synopsis of a five year old conversation.) “Well, you are the slightest bit farsighted, but other than that, and the barest hint of an astigmatism, you are fine. Except, what you describe to me says you notice the astigmatism and that just shouldn’t be. Most people can’t tell anything is off when it’s this slight. It’s not even necessary for you to have vision correction for this, but because you are
WHINING SO LOUDLYseriously miserable, I will give you a script for lenses, but you won’t have to legally wear them to drive. In fact, you shouldn’t have to wear them all that much.” HA! HA, I say! Those glasses have been like a freaking revelation for me. When I wear them, I feel like I’m wearing sunglasses, because the sun doesn’t make me turn away and hiss. My eyes are suddenly my eyes again and they don’t feel wrong. They don’t feel wrong shaped or too big or gooey or anything. I WEAR THESE GLASSES ALL THE TIME.
I believe these things could be applied to Pynni. When she complains about her eyes, I feel like she is describing myself. I’ve even tried looking at things out of the corner of my eye to see if it makes the POKING better (I can’t see that it does anything but strain the muscles of my eyes). And I took her to a Pediatric Opthamologist. Yesterday. All of her eye muscles work exactly right. She has fantastic eye sight. She has extremely good distance vision. She has a very slight astigmatism. Now, at the time, I just nodded and smiled. I was trying to be okay with the outcome of this appointment. She’s FINE! She has NO EYE PROBLEMS!
But she does. She has eye problems. She rubs her eyes constantly and complains about pain and looks askance at so many things. I don’t know why I didn’t say, “but I have that very same astigmatism and glasses cleared so much of those symptoms up for me.” Maybe because he’d just finished telling me not to take her to an optometrist (with a bit of a sneer to be honest) because that would be an enormous waste of money. He recommended getting her tested for a learning disability (which is valid) and taking her to an occupational therapist for assessment for a sensory integration disorder (this at my prompting. He admitted to not know much about sensory issues).
The further I get from this appointment, the more clearly I see that I have to get her glasses. I at the very worst it won’t help anything I will have wasted money trying, but my every instinct tells me this will help. Occupational therapy for visual sensitivities is difficult at best and Chi’s OT told me that auditory and visual sensory issues were the hardest to treat because there isn’t much you can do but plug your ears and cover your eyes to make them better. The most you can do is address other issues (and wear noise canceling headphones) and reduce the amount of sensory sensitivities in that way making the ones you can’t directly address easier to bear. Right.
So I’m going to (another bullet point list, aren’t you EXCITED?!?):
- Take Pynni to that Optometrist and bully him into glasses
- I think that will help Pynni tremendously and address her issues, but
- I will be scheduling a meeting with a child psychologist (psychiatrist? I can’t ever remember which is which) and have her assessed for a learning disorder.
- If that doesn’t yield any results, and if the glasses aren’t the answer I suspect they will be, then I will get her assessed by an OT, one that is a visual specialist, preferably.
Anyway, I feel very positive now that I’ve decided to make my own diagnoses based on facts given to me by a very competent, if moderately condescending (not to me), eye doctor.