I am so stinkin' proud of my son... and I am so grateful to be a beneficiary of God's providence!
Yes, I know you knew that. But today, in a time when I've had to hang on so tight to the hope we profess just to keep a smile on my face, I have had a heaping pile of wonderful dropped from heaven.
Ryan had the best day at school... maybe the best day ever.
Okay, I have to back up a bit. If you don't know about our history with Ryan and pediatric glaucoma, you should go here and read Ryan's Story.
Okay good. I knew you would! Y'all are so good to me.
So you can see that Ryan is not new to the world of vision trouble. When he was just 9 months old he had glasses for a while, but at some point after he was about 18 months old or so, he quit leaving them on. After that, they were never quite sure if he really needed them or not, and being the family living on *a* teacher's salary, we chose to wait. They had been doing exams under anesthesia, and after the last time about two years ago when he came out of anesthesia kicking and screaming, I got a little spooked. This was also the time we were beginning to talk about autism, and I just wasn't comfortable with Ryan going under general anesthesia to have his eyes checked. They always came back saying they were sure the glaucoma was well under control. So with the doctor's blessing, we waited a while.
Yesterday was Ryan's first appointment in 2 years. These appointments are not just going down the street to the doctor's office. These involve a trip to Dallas, sometimes in the middle of the week. We live about an hour and forty-five minutes from the big D, and if we can get an appointment on a Monday or Friday, we can stay in Richardson (ANY excuse to go see Grammy and Grampy). Otherwise it's to Children's in Dallas and back... with three kids.
Sounds tempting, no?
Now, if you don't know Ryan or you don't have an ASD child, you may be thinking "Trip to the opthalmologist? It's not like the dentist, for goodness sake! What's the big deal?" The big deal is that Ryan doesn't process verbal instruction just real well. Add to that a new environment, lack of communication skill other than screaming and kicking, and here we go! All you ASD parents know where I am with this. You might as well be pulling teeth without anesthesia. The assisting resident came in, a pretty twentysomething with brown hair and a precious smile. Ryan walked right up to her and pointed, saying "it's a woman!" Thankfully, she thought it was cute. After she thanked him for not thinking she was a man, we had to let the sweet resident shine a couple of lights at him... still not sure what she was doing, but Ryan wasn't impressed. Then came the fun part.
Ever had your pressures checked? Ever had your eyes dilated?
Yep, had to do both while the nurse and I held Ryan while she did both. I tried to tell Ryan that the doctor was going to give his eye a high five real quick, and he had to hold real still. This little exam is the difference between having to spend a day in day surgery and being able to have this be our only visit. And oh, did he scream and kick. She did manage to get the pressures, which she said were slightly elevated but probably just due to his screaming. I'm good with that. And I must say, this doctor was very pleasant.
Next we see the big doc, Dr. Weekley. This is the opthalmologist that made me want to go all redneck mama bear on him the first time we sat in the clinic at Children's on the emergency visit as scared, horse-in-a-fire first time parents who had just been sent on a flying trip to see what was up with our 3 month old baby. This dude blew in right out of surgery, I guess, in his scrubs, complete with hat, spouting "I want to see the baby with the cloudy eyes!" with an irreverence that, well, made me angry. But I digress...
Enter Dr. Weekley. Ryan walks up to him, points, and says "it's a woman!" again. I know! Should have known at that point we needed glasses. I held Ryan in my lap... and by "held" I mean "held down his arms and legs so he wouldn't kick the fire out of this dude"... while he refracted Ryan's dilated eyes. He gave us a script for glasses and sent us on our way, suggesting that we see Dr. Whitson (the surgeon who rebuilt Ryan's tearducts) to determine how he thinks the glaucoma thing is going.
Ok, now we're on our way to the closest Lens Crafters (they have one in Waco, and we wanted to get his glasses ASAP). After a call to Eric's Mom, we find that the nearest Lens Crafters is in Northpark Mall.
I used to like going places like that.... and if you don't know what I mean by that, here you go... the Lens Crafters is located in between Neiman Marcus and Barney's. Just across the way is the Gucci store. There is valet parking for these places! And while you shop, for a fee, they'll detail your car. I cannot imagine being able to just toss money around like that! So we felt a wee bit out of place, being the Target, Ross, and Marshall's-loving folk we are. By now Ryan is thouroughly disgusted with not being able to see. After a few times of persuading Ryan to take off his sunglasses and put on frames, most of which he promptly yanked off, we found them. I placed a pair of dark blue plastic frames on his face, he looked in the mirror, and exclaimed "yes!" Whew! Then was the whole measuring for the distance between his eyes thing... yeesh. Yes, everything is a challenge. Every. Little. Thing.
Fast forward to home a few hours later, and we make the rule that if he wants to play ipad, he must wear his glasses. So after saying "no glasses, no ipad" about fifty times, he got the idea. Then we noticed that he wasn't tilting his head to focus the right eye. His eyes are very opposite, one being farsighted and the other near. He still wasn't too thrilled with the idea of keeping them on, but as the evening wore on, we noticed Ryan pulling at them less and doing things on the ipad that, we assume, he hadn't been able to see to do before. After bedtime, we decided we'd wait and see in the morning how things went before we decided to send them to school.
Morning came, and at breakfast, Ryan fussed until he realized he didn't have his glasses. "Want your glasses?" he said, and we handed him his glasses. Well, guess we'll send them to school.
About 9:45, my phone rang and it was Ryan's teacher. UGH. Immediately, I thought it was going to be one of the standard three or four. Either he had messed his pants, was screaming and banging his head, or had a fever. Or worse, maybe his glasses were already broken or missing. GREAT.
"Just wanted to let you know, " she said, "that Ryan is having an awesome day. He hasn't taken off his glasses. He hasn't fussed at all."
I about fell over! I haven't been this thrilled with sudden progress since Ryan's first day of summer school in '08. He came home that day trying to communicate more than he ever had all of a sudden. Since he's been home today, he's not offered to take them off, either.
Back up now to that day I took Ryan in for that cold. If Dr. Orms hadn't caught the fact that the eye was a critical problem, Ryan would eventually have gone blind. Blind! Can you imagine everything we face on a daily basis PLUS blindness and horrible pain that comes with glaucoma?
Still thankful for that cold. Still thankful for that doctor in Fairfield who knew.
Whatever we're going through now, whatever trials we're facing, we have to remind ourselves that not only do we serve a God of 11:59 whose timing is perfect, but His plan is to prosper and not to harm us! (Jeremiah 29:11) We cannot always see how things are going to work, or why... and there are times we may never know the answer to "to what end".
But today, dear friends, I know. I know to what end, and therefore I will rejoice!!! I have been given one of the keys to unlocking my son's mind, and I am more than grateful! Believe, o weary one! Place your trust in Him, and have patience. Just as we're told in Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised us is faithful!" I stand here today, promising with all confidence that God will not leave you hanging on for dear life without help! It may come in the form of a person, a word, a song, or His word, but hang in there... He will make a way!!! And when there's no way out, He will give you the encouragement you so desperately need to hang on.
How do I know?
MY SON CAN SEE!!!
Will you rejoice with me?
Come. People of the Risen King
Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend
Come, people of the Risen King,
Who delight to bring Him praise;
Come all and tune your hearts to sing
To the Morning Star of grace.
From the shifting shadows of the earth
We will lift our eyes to Him,
Where steady arms of mercy reach
To gather children in.
Rejoice, Rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!
One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!
Come, those whose joy is morning sun,
And those weeping through the night;
Come, those who tell of battles won,
And those struggling in the fight.
For His perfect love will never change,
And His mercies never cease,
But follow us through all our days
With the certain hope of peace.
Come, young and old from every land -
Men and women of the faith;
Come, those with full or empty hands -
Find the riches of His grace.
Over all the world, His people sing -
Shore to shore we hear them call
The Truth that cries through every age:
“Our God is all in all”!