The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

The “Eyes” Have It!

IMG_4404 (Small)Our four girls wear glasses. Thankfully, they are not the 3-D glasses (as seen in above picture). You see…BC and I started this family “tradition” of wearing glasses when we were kids. We think it is only a matter of time for our boys to continue the “tradition” (in the near, as opposed to far, future). One of our girls, Grace, found out that she needed to wear glasses in a very nontraditional way.

Yesterday, I took Grace to our ophthalmologist for her yearly check-up. As the new assistant was testing her vision, I asked him to be sure to check her pressures because of her eye trauma history. He said, “Was that the water balloon?” My eyes popped out in surprise…even the new guy knows about us! I replied, “Yes…the water balloon incident.”. He then added that he was reading about that in her file (oh, what interesting medical files we provide our medical providers with!). I am thankful to say that the Lord saw us through that dark day.

It was the first week of summer…2006. It also happened to be Faith’s B-day. My husband absolutely loves summer and water balloons (he will have to share his story later). We had a fun time at Peter Piper Pizza for lunch, and then we started having water gun fights in the afternoon with our neighbor. Then, the kids asked if we could have a water balloon fight. So, we all decided to make a trip to Wal-mart (our neighbor went, too) to buy some water balloons. When BC eyed a water balloon sling shot there, he thought…”The kids are going to have a blast with this thing!”. Needless to say, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on this matter. However, I didn’t want to spoil the fun on Faith’s birthday, so as I rolled my eyes, I tried to limit the negative comments. Looking back, I think it was only $7.00. What a deal, right? Wrong!

We returned home, and the “water balloon fest” preparations began. Every sink and faucet was being used to make water balloons. It looked like we were starting a small balloon business (we kept them in ice chests). We were slinging them over to his house, and he was slinging them over to ours. Of course, this was all in fun…harmless summer fun, or so we thought. I had a bad feeling about this one, and had made the comment to BC…”You don’t think we will shoot an eye out, do you?” So, we even implemented a rule to keep it safe. There was only one rule: Only throw water balloons when the other side knows you are throwing them. We were also afraid that the actual sling might fling into someone’s eye, so we attached one side to a steel bar. Next thing we knew, all the neighborhood kids were coming out. Please know, I really don’t fault BC. Even though we’ve read the David and Goliath story, we thought we were doing all we could to keep it safe.

On our team, there was the girl down the street, and all eight of us. Her mom, dad, and sister had just walked down to meet us (eyewitnesses:)). I think Kane was there watching/encouraging us and trying to stay dry. Our neighbor “D” across the street had about seven neighbors and friends helping him. Water balloons were flying high. We were flying high. Then, we called a time-out to refuel (make more balloons). Grace was a quick water balloon filler-upper, so she went right to work. However, there was a neighborhood kid who just couldn’t resist the tempting water balloons (either he didn’t play by the rules, or he didn’t know the rules–not sure). So, he sent one flying over and Grace never even saw it coming (as she was filling up water balloons). It hit her left eye, and she was in a lot of pain! Her eye was very red, and watery (and it wasn’t from the water inside the balloon). When she said she couldn’t see anything, it was “lights out, party is over” time.

The saying: “It’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt” is painfully true. I didn’t even want to think about the velocity of that balloon. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I knew I wanted to get a second pair of eyes to check her out. I gave her a bag of frozen fruit to put on her eye, and we hustled off to the E.R. (no ambulance necessary). It was about 6:30 p.m.

I was signing Grace in at the E.R., and she was standing on my left. I happened to notice, out of the corner of my eye, what appeared to be “blueish-purplish blood” that had dripped down from Grace’s  eye to her forearm. She and I loudly gasped at the same time…thinking her eye was bleeding…then we remembered what she had on her eyes…a package of frozen blueberries…that had a twisty-tie at the top! Seeing that frozen bag, quickly unfroze our fear as we shouted out in unison, “BLUEBERRIES!!!!” I’m sure the other people in the room (who were “all eyes” now) thought we were fruity, but we sure did enjoy a “berry” good laugh together. Yeah…I didn’t think her eye would bleed like that, but believe it or not…I haven’t seen everything!

IMG_5402 (Small)

After waiting in the E.R. for awhile, the doctor said I would have to see an ophthalmologist the next day, because all they could determine was that she had definite eye trauma (Duh, right?). In all fairness, they said they just didn’t have the right equipment to see the extent of the damage. When I asked them if they would call our family ophthalmologist (primarily for Paige), they assured me that none of them work after hours. I just asked them if they might call this particular one and ask him for me. I had seen him probably over 40 times for Paige’s left eye (cancer, cataract surgery, glasses, eye-drops, etc.). Well, they called him, and being the good and kind ophthalmologist that he is, he agreed to meet us at the office at 9:00 p.m. Yeah! I  was praising the Lord!

I was so thankful we could see him, because he put her on pressure-reducing and steroid drops immediately. He called it an eye hyphema (hemorrhage). Her pressure was high, and he said she could lose sight in that eye and hemorrhage again (esp. high risk during day 3-5) if we didn’t keep her very calm, head elevated, eye covered, and rested for two weeks. Also, there was risk of a possible detached retina. So, we did as we were told, and we kept a close eye on her eye!

That was literally the darkest two weeks of our lives! We covered all our windows with blankets. Everyone had flashlights. We basically felt like we were moles living in a cave or workers in a coal mine. We learned about bats, caves, and coal-miners during this time. Grace could watch some movies for a certain amount of time per day, so we mostly watched the Little House on the Prairie Series. Interestingly enough, the episodes were about Mary going blind. We also listened to stories, and took turns reading aloud…by candlelight. I think I checked out 150 books from the library during those two weeks!

I learned a lot about my kids during this resting time. I was thankful that Grace’s sisters and brothers were so thoughtful of her, and graciously accepted the fact that we would be inside for awhile. When it happened, Grace couldn’t figure out why that boy would have done that to her. She softened and went from somewhat of an “eye for an eye” attitude to a more merciful one. I was really glad Grace found it in her heart to forgive the boy when he eventually asked for her forgiveness.

Hannah-Summer 2006

Grace-Summer 2006

Grace ended up needing glasses, and she was so happy about that! We purchased glasses that turned into sunglasses, because for about two years…the sun continued to hurt her left eye. She was eight at the time, and her left pupil was considerably larger than her right one. Two years ago, we noticed it is pretty similar to the right one. The doctor said it probably would stay like that forever, but again…the Lord knows and sees all things.

By the way, her recent check-up went fine. Because of the accident, she has a higher chance of developing glaucoma in that eye; so, we make sure it gets looked at once a year. I would encourage the use of safety goggles, even swimming goggles, to offer some added protection…if you should decide to take up the sport of slinging water balloons. We had a fun time, and we were out there supervising this activity. Our story proves that it really could happen in the blink of an eye! The leading cause of blindness in children is related to eye injuries. Just in case you think this can only happen to us, there are 500,000 eye injuries each year.

When we walk through dark times, God is always with us. During this time, I was especially encouraged by the beautiful hymns written by Fanny Crosby, who was blind. Two favorites…”Draw Me Nearer” and “All The Way My Savior Leads Me”. Also, the hymn, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” was especially sweet.

I was also encouraged by Gennie Owens, a contemporary Christian singer. Here she sings one of my favorite songs. When I went to her concert years ago, I had the privilege of thanking her for being so encouraging with her music. She is also blind, but she plays piano, and sings such sweet songs. It really helped me change my outlook. Of course…I am thankful that Grace can say both physically and spiritually “I once was blind, but know I see…Amazing Grace…!”

\”If You Want Me To\”

2 Responses to “The “Eyes” Have It!”

  1. Laughing Hyena Says:

    HI GRACE – I sure hope that glaucoma doesn’t “eye” you now or in the future. I have it and have to take drops three times a day from two little bottles to retard development from growing fast or at all. But I can’t see to point the little bottles in my eye so Lady B has to do it for me.

  2. Heart of a Mom » Blog Archive » Grace’s B-day…Thankful for Grace! Says:

    […] water balloon incident… […]

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