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Justin M. Stoddard

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Wishing Harm
January 12, 2007 — 4:29 pm

Sometimes you’re placed in this really weird situation as a parent. You find yourself hoping that one particular thing is wrong with your child because it eliminates something else that may be much more serious. Let me explain.

Our younger daughter has been complaining of headaches on and off now for several months. According to her, they are painful but short lived. Recently, her headaches have been accompanied by spells of blurry vision. This is worrisome. Her mother took her to the eye doctor’s office today to get her vision checked. Our theory was perhaps she has somewhat less than perfect vision and this is causing her headaches. To a parent, that theory is much more welcoming than the other way around…i.e., her headaches are causing her to have less than perfect vision.

So, while she was as the doctor’s office, I found myself really hoping that the problem was her vision. Sure, she’d have to start wearing glasses at an early age, but what’s the alternative? Even thinking about it raises serious alarms within that paternalistic section of my brain. I don’t want to think about it. What I want is for her vision to be bad. I’m wishing one defect upon my child to protect her from another. Weird, right?

It turns out, her vision is perfect. In fact, the doctor said it’s rare to see such “nicely formed optical nerves” in a child her age.


Now we are stuck with uncertainty and mild anxiety. What, exactly is the root cause of these headaches? A quick jaunt to Google does nothing to quell my fears. In fact, it slightly bolsters them. Next come blood tests and I find myself thinking, “Well, maybe she’s just anemic. Anemia is something we can deal with. Yeah, anemia is good.” Come to find out, anemia doesn’t lend itself to giving 6 year old children headaches with the occasional bout of blurry vision.

Of course, the obvious answer to all of this is it’s probably nothing. Our daughter probably just happens to be one of the 98% of people who just get headaches for no knowable reason. It’s the not knowing that worries me.

— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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