Elementary School

A Poke in the Eye

Oh, how I wish that title was metaphorical! Luke got poked in the eye with another kid’s finger on Wednesday. Apparently, they were “practicing karate.” (Please note that neither boy takes karate lessons.) It happened sometime at school, though I later discovered that the teacher was unaware (and Luke is incapable of giving any sort of accurate timeline). His after school care program made a point of specifying that it was that way when they picked him up. I didn’t pick up Luke that day, and when DH came home relaying the story to me, I misunderstood and thought it had just happened less than 30 minutes before I saw it. Thus, when it was still red and watery, I didn’t think too much of it; that would make sense for a fresh injury. It was after 6PM, and given that I thought the injury was recent, I figured we would wait and see how it looked in the morning.

Whoa!! It was angry and red and nearly swollen shut. It was also crusted closed from the drainage drying on his lashes; I had to get a warm washcloth and rub his eyelashes so he could open his eye (what little it could open). It looked like he had been hit in the face with a baseball bat! Scared the snot out of me. No school for you, young sir, it is off to the doctor instead. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions: it was infected. He was officially diagnosed with conjunctivitis, known to most parents as pink eye. *However,* his is bacterial, not the viral version everyone panics about.

She was more concerned about the extreme puffiness around the eye than anything. She suspects he may have already been working on infection underneath the eye (he’s been congested for over a week). Without the poke, the other infection may have come and gone without us even knowing it was there, but the poke (and whatever other bacteria was on the finger) acted as a catalyst and brought it “to the front,” so to speak. That’s the only explanation she has for it being THIS bad in less than 24 hours. She is also concerned that it may turn into cellulitis, so he will be on the super antibiotics. He was also free to go back to school, which is good, since I didn’t want him to miss his science test on Friday (today).

(This photo was taken at 8PM yesterday evening, after being awake all day and one round of antibiotics. Sleeping makes the redness and puffiness temporarily worse, so you can imagine what it looked like this morning!)

As we left the doctor’s office, we started having trouble with our insurance. Now, first, let me say that I am grateful we have it. So many don’t, and it would have been very financially painful. However, when you do have it, it should work! They shouldn’t randomly decide not to pay the doctor because they “have a question about alternate coverage.” If it is so dang important that you are willing to NOT pay for services already rendered (they hadn’t paid for his birthday visit or his November well visit yet), then pick up the phone and call me to ask your stupid question! Don’t just leave a message for me with the doctor’s office (who also should have called me, IMO; it’s possible they would have, and I just showed up before they had a chance to; this was our third visit in four weeks!) and hope I come in sometime to get it resolved.

Then, I get to the pharmacy, where I expect the prescription to have already been filled, since it had been sent electronically. The pharmacist confirms they have received it, but they have a call in to the doctor to confirm the dosage. “This dose is too high for a 7 year old child. How much does he weigh?” In fact, they weighed him this morning at the office, I’m sure so they could indeed get an accurate dosage if such a thing was needed. He weighs 65 pounds. “Let me run the numbers.” [pause while she works the calculator] “Well, that is the maximum dose he can take, but it is within the proper limits. I’ll go ahead and fill it.” Thank you so much for taking my word for it!

Then she tries to run it through the insurance, who refuses to fill it because, you guessed it, the dosage is too high for a 7 year old child! In between this time, the doctor’s office had returned the call to the pharmacist, so she didn’t just have to take my word for it when justifying it to the insurance company, who thankfully was willing to take her word for it that the doctor had confirmed the child’s weight. (Now I’m just waiting for the letter in the mail from the insurance company telling me to get my “overweight” child on a diet. ::grumble::) An hour later, I finally left with the awful nasty Augmentin, which is the “white medicine” Luke always fearfully asks about each time he gets a new prescription. It is foul stuff, but the bubble gum flavoring that Target adds is a tremendous help. He also hasn’t had it in a couple of years now. Here’s hoping 2-3 years of maturity will help the medicine go down a little better.

The doctor did warn us that the swelling and redness will get worse when he sleeps. He was also rubbing both eyes constantly. I tried explaining that he didn’t need to rub both eyes since they would both end up infected, but he’s only 7. Sure enough, by this morning, both eyes were infected. Both were swollen, the originally injured eye was crusted over again, and both eyes were bloodshot. But, he had been on antibiotics for 24 hours (well, okay, 21 hours), which means he met school requirements for going back, plus the doctor said it was okay, so I sent him with a note to his teacher. All is well, right? Ha!

The kids are held in the cafeteria until 7:30, when they are released to their classrooms. My phone was ringing by 7:40 with a call from the school nurse. He hadn’t even made it to class with the note; the principal herself had pulled him out of the lunchroom and sent him straight to the nurse. Both women were borderline hysterical, terrified he had viral pink eye. I explained what the doctor had said, that it was bacterial and not viral, that I had expressly confirmed with the doctor that it was okay for him to return, and that he did meet the school district’s own requirements about being on antibiotics for a day before returning. “And you’re sure it’s bacterial? Viral pink eye is something we almost consider evacuating the school for.” According to the doctor, yes. I even gave her the doctor’s phone number if she wanted to verify my story. Just please let him stay at school! She agreed that those 3 hours were negligible and we had met the requirements, so she allowed him to stay. Hopefully things will be much better by Monday and no one else will panic.

Whew!! Let’s not repeat this exercise any time soon, shall we?