Brave

We had our first doctor visit of 2015 yesterday. I had texted with Gracie’s pediatrician Saturday because the wound on Gracie’s index finger, where she pulled out her little stump of a fingernail, started to look like it had exposed bone. After some serious soaking, though, the part that had been concerning looked much better. However, her brother’s eyelid became red and swollen, so we visited the doctor for Jackson. (While we were there, I showed Dr. A. Gracie’s finger and she agreed that it isn’t looking bad at all, so *whew* on that.)

Jackson’s eyelid is strikingly red and swollen. It looks terrible, especially when he first gets up in the morning. The doctor told us it’s a stye and prescribed some antibiotic eye drops, which he is to receive three times a day for the next week. Jackson, who feels pain extraordinarily well, cannot stand even the thought of the medicine. He starts screaming if I even mention the eye drops, and getting him to keep his surprisingly strong arms away from his face while administering the drops is a challenge indeed.

Jackson’s reaction to the eye drops is a stark contrast to his sister. For six months, we had to administer drops to both her eyes three times a day. She has macular edema — swelling in her eyes — and we were trying to lessen the swelling in order to improve her vision. It didn’t work, and after six long months we were able to stop the drops, which is a double-edged sword because we were unsuccessful at improving her vision. The eye drops were reported to sting, and she certainly didn’t like them. But, after a few days, she stopped fighting and allowed us to administer the drops. We know they bothered her, but she was so brave. She would steel her little chin and let us give her the medicine.

I am grateful to her for her bravery. She faces things that most kids — most PEOPLE — never encounter, and instead of crying or running in fear (which, by the way, would be perfectly normal reactions), she stands her ground and accepts that we are trying to do our best for her. She bravely faces needles, casts, eye drops, and any other crazy medical interventions we subject her to in the name of helping her get better.

Jackson is the opposite of brave. He is afraid of anything new, even if it’s helpful to him. Really, though, I’m glad he hasn’t had the experience with medicine and medical things that his sister has had. I’m so glad he hasn’t had to do stinging eye drops for six months. I’m glad he’s never had surgery, and he hasn’t had to go months without the use of his hands because of wounds that wouldn’t heal, and he hasn’t had to take terrible tasting antibiotics several times a day for months on end, and he hasn’t had to have IVs or repeated blood draws or breathing treatments or any of the other medical interventions Grace is too familiar with. I’m glad he hasn’t had occasion to be as brave as his sister. Still, I wish a little of her bravery would rub off on him.

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