Sunday, October 07, 2007


It was a tiring morning around here.

I think Frankie is allergic to his contacts or the solution. I wish I had thought about that possibility before. He has been complaining that the contacts irritate his eyes and we have been accusing him of not adequately cleaning his hands or the contacts. That is possible of course. It is also possible that with his poor motor skills he is irritating his eyes when he puts them in, or that his eyes are just particularly sensitive and that he won't be able to tolerate any sort of contact at all.

In any case he announced mid-morning that he was going to put them in. He came up stairs crying in frustration, saying he couldn't put them in because his eyes would not stop watering. He sat on the sofa, wiping his eyes with his shirt and saying, "I'll just go blind! I can't get them in! My eyes won't stop watering and I can't put in the contacts! I'll go blind! I don't want to have a stupid piece of metal on my face and I can't wear stupid contacts!" (Put this on loop for a few minutes). At one point I put his hands up to his eyes like he was going to claw them out, but he didn't.

I tried Process' suggestion of mirroring, "You are upset that you're eyes are watering" but it felt so small and stupid in the face of his crying and yelling that I just waited for him to calm himself down. He finally did (some) and I told him it was his choice. He didn't have to wear the contacts or the glasses if he didn't want to. (Frankie's vision though not 20/20 is not terrible). He stomped off saying that he would give it one more chance but then he would just let himself go blind because he wasn't going to wear glasses. (I don't know why he thinks that not wearing glasses will make him "go blind" but it wasn't the time to address that).

A few minutes later he came back up almost screaming and clawing at his one eye. He said the contact was in, that it burned and he did wash it, he did! "AAAHHHGGG, I can't get it out! I can't! It burns! It feels like I have an eyelash in there! AAHHGGG" He ran into the bathroom and suddenly I was afraid that maybe he didn't have a contact in and was hurting himself, so I went to check. It was there, but he was too upset to cope so I called for (read: screamed) "ANDREW!" Andrew, who wears contacts, got it out of his eye for him while I kept my hand at the back of Frankie's head so that he wouldn't jerk back in reflex. (After he jerked the first time I told him I was going to do that and he nodded.)

For the next 20 minutes he continued to cry and yell about how horrible the contacts were and how he was just going to go blind.

Finally I remembered how when I wore contacts I was allergic to the first solution they gave me. I told that to Frankie, and the loop began to loose some of its intensity. He still kept getting up and pacing and complaining that his eye hurt and wouldn't stop watering. I finally suggested the audio book and he put on the headphones, collapsed on the sofa and has been quietly listening every since -- once again about two hours and counting.

It took a while for me to de-escalate myself. Though on the outside I had remained calm (except when I was yelling for Andrew), on the inside I was suffering from a major adrenaline rush. It was the first time that Frankie was so out of control that I was afraid he might hurt himself.

I guess the point though is that he didn't. And I suppose I shouldn't compare this to other moments of frustration because he was in genuine pain. Having something in your eye that makes it sting that you can't get out is difficult for anyone.

I'll call the optomotrist tomorrow.


  1. having had a contact stuck in my eye once, sting is not the first word that springs to mind! if it was in any way off it hurt like all hell. there is something about eye pain that sends one right over the edge in the best of times. hopefully it had more to do with it being his eye than anything else! fingers crossed!!

  2. Okay, I am in my forties. I just started wearing contacts for the first time last spring, March, I think.

    Really, it was quite odd. And I am an adult who knows it will be weird and hard at first. I have had several bad experiences. One day it felt like there were needles in my eye, once I lost the contact way up under my eyelid, once I just lost it but kept trying to find it and get it out and it was so horrible and my eye was so irritated that I woke up my boyfriend and made him come look. I was crying and very frustrated at the time. I do not find Frankies reaction at all odd.

    I love my contacts now, but sometimes there are still issues.

    Tell him to hang in there, it gets better.

  3. When I tried contacts for the first time, in my mid-teens, it was a painful experience. I had a tough time learning to put them in at the dr's office, and when I got them home it was hard to get them in myself. When I finally did, it was much like what you just described happening to Frankie - it hurt so much and I had a lot of trouble calming myself down enough (and opening my eye enough!) to get it out. Ow.

    It turns out (according to the dr) that I had put it in inside-out, which is apparently very very unpleasant. I would be willing to bet that is what happened to Frankie.

    He has all my sympathy. That hurt like the dickens.

  4. I've worn contacts for about 15 years. The beginning was not a pretty sight. However, 2 weeks ago while visiting my parents I had one that was bugging me. Mom told me there was solution in the drawer in the bathroom so I just grabbed a bottle - took my contact out - washed it with the solution - put a couple drops on the contact and then put it in my eye! What I didn't do was look at the bottle! My dad used to wear contacts and had a #1 solution and a #2 solution. The #2 was a cleaning solution and meant to sit in a special container over night to dilute the cleaner. OOPS! I put that cleaner (peroxide mix of some sort) directly into my eye! OUCH! Luckily I was in the bathroom and although I did say a few choice words at the time, was able to get the contact out and get the cold water in to flush my eye right away.

    So what's my point??? What kind of solution is he using? If it's the 2 bottle kind - is he using the correct bottle at the correct time? If's it's the 1 bottle kind - i agree to try a different brand and see if that helps.


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