Reading Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

My soon to be 8 year old daughter, Iris came home complaining last week that she couldn’t see the board at school. They recently got one of those new fan dangled Smart Boards in her classroom that is basically a huge computer hanging on the wall. I’m sure it’s wonderful but I am a little sad that my children will never experience the daily chore of clapping erasers at the end of the day and being lost in a cloud of dust as they sputter and choke to get the erasers ready for another day of learning.

I made Iris an eye appointment for the next day that was scheduled directly after school.

I picked Iris and my 5 year old son, Bency, up from school and along with my 2 year old, Cesar, we headed off to the optometrist. As soon as we arrived I could already smell trouble. For one thing, there is not really a waiting area. There were only two chairs in the corner amidst all the racks and racks of sample eyewear. There was one little basket of magazines and nothing else for two little boys to occupy themselves with.

I encouraged each boy to pick out a magazine and plop themselves on the chairs while Iris and I strolled around looking at the various options for glasses. Cesar chose an issue of Birds and Blooms while Bency began perusing the latest copy of Good Housekeeping.

I obviously should have brought books from home!

I obviously should have brought books from home!

Problems started to arise as the wait went on forever. The boys tired of reading about the newest bird feeders on the market and cleaning tips on how to remove lime scale from your bathtub. They started in on impromptu games of leap frog and seeing who could conceal themselves in the tiny basket of magazines. I tried my best to keep them under control but even when they were still they would make silly faces at each other and erupt into fits of laughter.

I soon glanced over my shoulder and noticed the lady doctor drinking in this chaos with a disapproving look on her face. She beckoned for us to come back to the room but did so with an eye roll and a huff. I asked Iris if she wanted to go in by herself but she adamantly shook her head “no” and really I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to be left alone in a room with a lady with such a sour look on her face. As we entered the room the doctor flippantly told Iris to sit in the examining chair and said, “I guess the rest of you can find somewhere to sit over there” as she motioned to the one chair against the wall and spoke in a tone that was laden with rudeness.

Bency and I made our way over to the one chair while Cesar made a beeline for the doctor’s swivel chair. I immediately began to tell Cesar that he had to come by me but the doctor interrupted with shouting at my poor 2 year old exclaiming, “This is my chair! No one sits on here but me!” At this point I wanted to get up and leave because there is nothing that gets my goat more than someone yelling at my child when I am already trying to remedy a situation. Somehow I managed to hold my tongue and the eye exam proceeded.

The doctor asked Iris a few questions and then asked her to read the eye chart on the wall ahead. Before Iris could get a letter out my 2 year old, Cesar began reciting the letters in a sing-song voice, “E-R-V-B-S-U-W-A-T.”

Needless to say, this sent the doctor into dramatic sighs, huffs and under the breath muttering as she made it clear that Cesar had ruined everything and she would need to push a button to change to a different chart.

After what I am sure was a streamlined short exam the doctor made the diagnosis that Iris has weakened her eyes by too much reading. She has perfect eyesight but apparently since her nose is always in a book it causes her eyes not to be able to focus on things faraway.

She sent us away with a prescription that Iris has to wear glasses while reading and after a sigh of relief she said, “Good bye you monkeys!”

I made a silly face and the boys and I burst into fits of laughter as we leap-frogged our way out of there!

Iris with her new glasses!

Iris with her new glasses!

70 responses

  1. You do have patience. But, I’ve been there before when people try to “out-mother” you. Trying get their two cents in… as if they could handle the situation any better, Any way you taught your children a wonderful lesson in being patient with other people and their moods! 🙂 And … Iris looks very stylish in her new glasses!

  2. I think I would have left if I were you – I have very low tolerance for bad service. You set a really good example for your kids, and even managed to laugh in this situation. *thumbs up*. Iris’ new glasses look great on her!

    • Thank you! Honestly, I probably would have left had it not been that we were waiting for 45 minutes after our scheduled time and I had been there 10 minutes early. The thought of leaving at that point and making an appointment somewhere else seemed daunting!!

  3. Oh my goodness – I have such an issue with people like that doctor!! I’m so very proud of you for holding your tongue cause I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able too!! Good job sticking it out! And, Iris looks amazing in her glasses!!

  4. My kids have been less than stellar when it has come to waiting for each other’s appointments. Luckily we go to doctors who have kids their age, so it’s all good-they get it!

    Though I will share that years ago when Ezra was a toddler I had an allergic reaction to something at work. I tried to get into the doctor but was told that there was no one available to see me and that I had to go to the ER. One of my eyes was almost completely swollen shut, and my husband worked pretty far away so I had to drive with one eye all the way there. Then I had to wait forever in the waiting room and then even longer in the examining room, with my two year old climbing all over EVERYTHING. The doctor was obviously not a kid person and was NOT amused. I was really relieved when my husband finally arrived so that he could not only take Ezra out of there but so he could drive us home.

    (By the way, the diagnosis after all that wait? “Yup, you’re having an allergic reaction.” They told me to go home and take benadryl. $300 to state the obvious. We wonder why our healthcare system has issues! HA HA!)

  5. I have 3 teenage boys at home and 2 daughters that are already grown. Every trip to the eye doctor was torturous like having teeth pulled with all 3 of them. Not because they were acting up, but because of the eye Dr environment, people that worked there, or the eye Drs themselves. Over the course of years, we saw many different eye Drs. I feel your pain!
    One more thing, I have noticed that more and more children are needing glasses now that most schools are using “White Boards” or “Smart Boards”. I sware I think it has something to do with staring into a device that appears like a TV screen that is messing their little eyes up. With today’s technology (Smart Phones, television, Tablets, iPads, iPods, Computers, laptops and such – children have little time to rest their eyes from the blaring screens of life now 😦

    • That’s really interesting now that you mention it. I think a few other children in my daughter’s class recently got glasses too! I bet those things are really doing a number on their eyes. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  6. Iris looks beautiful wearing her New Glasses.I hope she likes them, if not you will definitely need to add more patience to what you already have to get her to wear them. Thank GOD for patience because it is much needed in all we do especially with one another. Keep up with patience Melissa, and you’re going to be alright. Glad to have you posting. Be Blessed, Mtetar

      • That’s great being that some children don’t like wearing glasses. Hope she get to let them take a rest at times especially when she isn’t reading. Too much of anything isn’t good. Have a Blessed Mother’s Fay with the family. Always Mtetar

    • haha!!! For some reason it doesn’t surprise me a bit that you would do something like this! When my husband was little he would throw his on the bus floor and scratch them all up. His mom would ask him why his glasses were all scratched up and he would say because his eyelashes were so long they were scratching the lenses. The bus driver finally told his mom the truth!

  7. Ugh. I HATE going to the eye doctor. Why are they all such jerks??? I would have left. Nobody gets to treat me or my kids as second-class citizens. If they haven’t explicitly posted that children should be left at home (which I have actually seen!!) then they need to chill the F out and be professionals. She should be thinking of them as potential future income, at the very least!

    • I can’t believe places have actually posted “children should be left at home”!! I wouldn’t bring my kids along if I was the one having the appointment but in this case it should have been fine but apparently it wasn’t!

  8. “Cesar chose an issue of Birds and Blooms while Bency began perusing the latest copy of Good Housekeeping.”

    OMG. ALL OF THE LAUGHS. Too funny. 🙂

    Also, have I ever told you that your kids have the best names ever? Seriously, they are just too rad. (They are mighty cute too!)

    And that lady sounds like a total pill. Maybe she was just having a hard day? Or maybe all those rocks she eats for breakfast were finally taking their toll. x

    • Thank you Vanessa! All of the kids have special meanings behind their names: Iris was the Greek Goddess of rainbows and my husband’s and my “song” is Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Bency was named after his deceased grandfather and poor Cesar kind of got the shaft (his name means “full head of hair and since the other kids had gobs of hair when they were born we thought this would be good and also represent his Hispanic heritage…he was born bald)!! Thank goodness he has hair now!

  9. We have those Smart Boards in our school too — very techy-tech and all that.

    I think it’s great that Iris told you that she was having trouble seeing the board. I remember being in 2nd grade when all the kids were getting their eyes checked at school (stand by a line and read an eye chart to the school nurse). I couldn’t see anything and she yelled at me for not cooperating! I was so embarrassed. Turns out, I really did have horrible eyesight and had somehow managed to work around it.

    Did she have to do that blast of air into her eyes too? I hate that! Love her glasses by the way — they are just fabulous!

    • I can’t believe they thought you weren’t cooperating during an eye test!! That is just crazy!! As for the blast of air she did get that and did fine but I’m assuming it’s because it was her first time and didn’t know what to expect. I on the other hand have a phobia about that thing and they were not able to perform that test on me for many years and just had to assume that I didn’t have Glaucoma. The technicians actually used to yell at me when I was a child because I couldn’t stop blinking (I think that’s where my phobia started). I even went to a more advanced eye doctor a few years ago where they use a laser and they had a hard time with that and basically had to pin me down and force my eyes open…

      • Good grief! I can’t imagine why you’d dislike going to the eye doctor after they force your eye open! Yikes!

        I also have a hard time not blinking when they tell you not to. And don’t get me started about dialating my eyes — blergh.

  10. Smart boards? Oh dear. I don’t think they are using that here in the UK yet. But I’m sure by the time my two year old starts school, they probably will. Like you, I feel a bit sad though that she will never experience writing on a blackboard in school. Oh well, anyway, what a mean doctor! Oh and your daughter looks so pretty in her new glasses =)

    • Thank you!! It was always exciting in school when it was my turn to clean the erasers at the end of school! Last week the internet went down at my children’s school and they couldn’t use their Smart boards. That’s one of the big problems with all of this technology… you can’t always rely on it!

  11. Ugh, what a trying experience! I know V encounters a lot of “challenging” patients, but he also knows to treat everyone as respectfully and kindly as possible. I pray that eye doctor gets a chance to refresh her mind or develop more patience and compassion.

    I used to love clapping erasers and the biggest honor was the weekly sponging of the chalk board. L’s current school still uses chalk boards, and I’m glad! I’m not convinced more screens are good for anyone!

    And what a problem: “too much reading”. I hope she doesn’t lose her love for books and that she enjoys her lovely glasses! V just started wearing glasses this year and I think they are quite dashing!

    I’ve got my two home with strep today (ugh), so I’m just hoping to make it through the day without a sore throat!!!


      • Haha!! Thank you for clarifying that! I didn’t even think that you were referring to us until you wrote that! That’s too funny! I forgot all about the sponging of the chalkboard….for some reason I don’t think I ever had that job though because I was too short!! I don’t foresee her losing her love of reading anytime soon. She is one of those children that even after I have tucked her into bed I peek in on her and catch her trying to read in the dark…she just can’t get enough of it!

  12. Thank you Melissa !! Dad and I are still tipping over with laughter about sweet innocent Cesar blurting out the letters on the eye chart … never would you think of a two year old paying enough attention … to even blurt out the letters .. let alone nailing them !! Poor Dr. So & So had to change the letter board since Cesar gave Iris the heads up !!! Way to funny … Some people need to put more thought into their career choices … If you aren’t a kid person and have a real short fuse besides … don’t work where children may be a client, patient , or be along with the crowd !!! You did good ….. Patience with stupidity and rudeness is not a strong point with this family … never heard of Iris’s eye condition before ! Who would have thought reading too much could be detrimental for a child !! And wearing reading glasses could save your ” FAR SIGHT ” !! It’s a new world … I guess !!

    • As you well know I have never had a problem saying how I feel when someone is treating us poorly but the thought of having to make another appointment somewhere else was just too much! I just don’t know how anyone couldn’t find that funny that Cesar was trying to help Iris out with her eye exam!

    • Oh yes, that is definitely an English teacher statement right there!! I think she is an English teacher’s dream though. She has a photographic memory of all the authors she has read and is constantly telling me things about them and their “styles.” At that age I think I only knew Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and liked them because they were funny!

      • It’s pretty much the only thing she talks about! And yes, she does have good comprehension. For fun she writes book reports on almost every book she reads. She recently discovered the book Edward Tulane and has read it 5 times in the past month. I finally went and bought it for her because she can’t get enough of it. I am eager to read it myself now since her glowing review on it!

      • Cool. This probably wont surprise you but as my older boy has gotten into books that I find more interesting, I am so into his reading. I like looking for books with him and reading them. I love to talk about books.

  13. so rude that doctor! but glad you have a lot of patience, like you I hold my tongue as well even if I would want to say something back. Iris is so pretty and those glasses fit her well! 🙂 Cesar, always puts a smile in my face, he is too cute in that picture!

  14. I have the same problem!!! I read (and knit ssshhh I keep that one quite) too much so I have trouble seeing things far away. I got my first pair of plastic purple glasses when I was around her age. Good news is its totally fixable.

    Sorry the doctor was such a jerk to you! Happy Mother’s Day

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too! Why do you keep the knitting a secret?! I wish I knew how to crochet! I had never heard of this “eye dilemma” before! It’s good to know that others have dealt with this and that it is fixable!!

  15. Wow, what a kid-unfriendly place! Sounds like you made the best of it…she actually called you monkeys!? Iris looks cute in her glasses….much better than the pink plastic number I had as an elementary school kid! Aren’t glasses much cooler to kids now?

    • Yes…She actually called us monkeys!! The boys weren’t even bad in the exam room except for Cesar saying the letters and seriously how is that “being bad?” Well, you saw some of the glasses that I had to work with as a kid! haha!! Things are much better nowadays!!! Iris really thinks her glasses are awesome…she has been showing them to everybody!

      • That’s so great that glasses are a “fun” thing now. It was not cool or fun to have glasses back in the day. Yes! You rocked the pink glasses too!

  16. Can I say it? Dare I say it? Yes I will…what a biatch!!! Right now that I have cleared my aggression.
    Iris with your glasses
    you’ll find them a handy tool
    they really will help you see more clearly
    and glasses are WAY cool

      • oh Mel it was so nothing..I wanted to do more but I got stuck lol – Thanks honey – remember I will write one for each of your littilies – you just have to give me some background (email) xx 🙂

      • I will put it on my to-do-list to come up with some stuff for you…for some reason that seems like a harder task than it probably is to come up with solid characteristics about them. Every time I think about it I get a block and then it disappears completely from my mind! Considering I write about them all of the time you wouldn’t think it would be so difficult for me!

  17. You are too good Melissa! I was getting irritated myself as the story went on and after she shouted at Cesar… I would have yelled back that no one shouts at my kids except for me!! Iris looks great with her new glasses, she wears them well. She looks preppy! Happy Birthday Iris!

  18. oooohhhh, you are both braver and nicer than me! I don’t know that I would be able to handle all 3 at an eye exam. I do it at the pediatrician’s office, but they tolerate me because I think we keep them in business. 🙂 and I would have probably smacked the doctor after yelling at my kid (ONLY I GET TO YELL AT MY KIDS!!!!). What nerve! She looks cute in her glasses but glad she only has to wear them while reading! I’m surprised that hasn’t become an issue with Michael yet because he is always reading too and I have HORRIBLE eyesight so I’m just waiting for when it becomes an issue with one of mine.

    • I know! My kids get yelled at enough by me, they don’t need others butting in!! Both my husband and I had horrible eyesight by Kindergarten for him and 2nd grade for me. I thought for sure the same thing would happen to our kids as well. Maybe it’s all those carrots I force them to eat!!

  19. i love everything about this and can identify with all of it. should have told the doc if she keeps rolling her eyes they may stick that way! ironic that ‘iris’ has eye challenges and by the way ,she looks darling in those glasses!

    • It’s funny you should bring up the irony…I took Iris for an eye exam a few years ago to an wonderful optometrist who is sadly no longer in our insurance coverage but he told her that she was his favorite patient because of her name! She had no idea what he was talking about but I thought his little joke was wonderful!

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