A little less than two weeks ago, Lucy developed her very first case of pink-eye. I think CJ and I had the same thought – we’re in for a rough week.
We took her into the pediatrician, and she was the cutest thing on the planet. I am probably biased, but I still think Lucy speaks very well for her age. As soon as the doctor entered the room, she points to her eyes and said “My eyes are gunky.” The doctor was a little taken aback, but smiled “Oh, well, we’ll try to fix them.” For the next 5 minutes, the doctor asked questions about Lucy’s recent health. CJ and I said fairly little – Lucy did all the explaining. “No my tummy is not feeling yucky. No my throat is not feeling yucky. My eyes are yucky – they’re all GUNKY.”
We got our prescription for eye drops and picked them up on the way home. The dosage was a drop or two in each eye, three times a day for a week.
Sigh. Three times a day for a week? Oh, it’s going to be a LONG, rough week.
Day 1 – Thursday
That first night, things were fine. We asked Lucy to lie on the floor and put her hands under her butt (to get them out of the way, and stall the temptation to cover or rub her eyes). Lucy had never had eye drops before, so she was relatively calm about it. We dropped in the first drops and she flinched, but she let us put in the others. A few minutes and cuddles later, she was fine.
Day 2 – Friday
Just before I left that morning for work, “Ok, Lucy, time for eye drops.”
“I don’t want eye drops.”
“Lucy, you have to have the eye drops. They’re going to help your eyes get better.”
(In a small voice) “But I don’t want them.”
“I know, but they’re going to help your eyes.” We eventually coaxed her onto the floor again, but this time she wasn’t nearly as calm. CJ ended up holding her down while I administered the drops. There were many more tears this time. I kissed my girls goodbye and went to work.
I came home, and found out that the mid-day dose went badly.
“I don’t even think I got one decent drop in, Mark. She kicked and screamed through the entire thing. I just couldn’t hold her down and pry her eyes open all by myself.”
When it came time for the evening dose – well, let’s just say it’s times like that where I wish I had 5 or 6 arms. We had to chase Lucy down, hold all of her limbs down, hold her head still, and pry open her eyelids as gently as we could. We got the drops in, but it wasn’t pretty, and Lucy spent 10 minutes curled up in CJ’s lap afterward, trying to stop crying.
Day 3 – Saturday
CJ got the bright idea to buy some saline eye drops at the store, and let Lucy turn the tables for a bit. “Lucy, it’s time for eye drops.”
“NOOOO!!!!” She started to run.
“Lucy, would you like to put eye drops into my eyes first?”
That gave her pause. “Yeah.”
CJ gave her the bottle of saline drops. “Ok, should I kick and scream?”
“No mommy. Lie on the floor.”
CJ complied. Fingers crossed – so far so good.
Lucy got a real eager look in her eye, and I think CJ sensed it. “Now, Daddy is going to help you put them in.” I unscrewed the top, and Lucy immediately tried to put the drops in by inserting the end into her pupil. “No no no! Lucy, you have hold it above her eye a bit.” I moved her hand up a bit. “Ok, now, squeeze gently.” At this point, I fully expected CJ to get a bath in the saline solution, but Lucy was very good about it and only a drop fell in. CJ blinked violently and made some cute gurgling noises (sorry, hon, that’s the only way to describe it!).
“See, Lucy, did I kick and scream?” CJ asked.
“No, you didn’t.”
“Ok, now put them in my other eye.”
We did. More blinking and gurgling.
“Ok, now it’s Lucy’s turn.”
Lucy, bless her heart, did exactly what I thought she would – she turned and ran.
I sighed, and dragged her back. More kicking. More screaming. More crying.
Day 4 – Sunday
This pretty much was a repeat of Saturday, except that CJ and I noticed that after the first eye’s drops went in, she stopped fighting us as hard. Perhaps she was starting to realize that they didn’t hurt as much as she thought. Or perhaps she was simply giving into the inevitable. Either way, it seemed to be getting microscopically easier.
Day 5 – Monday
I helped with the morning’s drops and left for work. When I came home that night, I found CJ in a terrific mood.
”Lucy, tell Daddy how brave you were today.”
“Daddy, I got eye drops in my eyes!”
“You did?! Yeah for Lucy!”
CJ explained that in a moment of adrenaline-induced genius, she offered Lucy a “prize” if she would lay still and let her put the eye drops in. The “prize” in this case was a few of her favorite candy – M&M’s. CJ said her eyes got REAL wide at that offer. “Yes!” She immediately dropped to the floor and laid perfectly still for the drops. No screaming. No kicking. Just a few mostly-involuntary hand twitches trying to rub the drops away.
It was incredible. For the next several days, whenever CJ said “it’s time for eye drops”, Lucy would ask “Do I get a prize?” Not wanting to make it always about candy, CJ started giving Lucy a choice of some M&M’s or a small toy. Lucy would pick one or the other, depending on her mood at that moment. It was simply awesome.
In fact, this plan started to work a little TOO well. After about the first day of this, she started ASKING for eye drops. 4 or 5 times a day. “I want more eye drops, Mommy!”
Sigh. We must wield this power only for good.