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Lives of Doctor Wives: Soccer, sunglasses and why we do what we do

Monday, November 9, 2009

Soccer, sunglasses and why we do what we do

I have a great story to share that hopefully will give you a small "oh THAT's why we're enduring all this" kind of boost.

My 8 year old son plays on a club soccer team - well, it's sort of "club." I don't think it's officially "club" until he is 10 and has to try out for a team. Right now, it's called "academy." In any case, it's super competitive and pretty tough. The boys on his team and the teams they play are top-notch.

So he had a game on Sunday afternoon, and they played a really good team. (They still, ahem, WON!) There was one player on the opposing team that stood out among all the players on both teams. He was tall and blonde, and man! he was FAST! His footwork and instincts were pretty incredible. It was hard to miss him, especially because he was sporting a super-cool pair of sunglasses. My fellow soccer moms and I joked that we should get sunglasses for all of our boys just so they look more fierce out there on the soccer field.

About halfway through the game, my husband (a pediatric ophthalmologist) realized that he knew this kid. (Just so we don't anger Mr. HIPAA, we'll call the kid "Alex.") Michael had operated on Alex when he was five years old and had retinoblastoma, a rare kind of cancerous tumor in young children which almost always results in enucleation, or removal of the eye. Michael sees about one case per year, so those little guys and gals are pretty special to him.

I realized then that Alex was wearing sunglasses not to be cool and intimidating (though he was)but because that is the cardinal rule when you only have one functioning eye. If something happened to his good eye, like getting an elbow thrown during a soccer game, he wouldn't be able to see at all - so he has to wear glasses to protect his remaining eyesight.

Michael went over to the enemy territory the opposing team's side and found Alex's mom and talked to her, and later she came over to our side to meet me and our kids. I told her how nice it was to meet her (and it truly was - what a courageous woman!) and how amazingly her son played soccer. She remarked how he doesn't let anything stop him - and how my husband was so patient and encouraging to her during those scary weeks when Alex was five years old.

There have been many moments in our marriage when I have been extraordinarily proud of my husband, and this ranked right up there with the best of them. Yes, I get annoyed when his phone rings in the middle of the night or when he has to go into the hospital during dinnertime or he has to work late to counsel his patients' parents. But I often forget that on the other end of that phone line is a scared mom who loves her child just as fiercely and protectively as I love my own. And there is often a child who is hurt and scared and can't see - or, like in Alex's case - has a disease that could kill him or rob him of his eyesight unless my husband steps in to help him.

I'm thankful for the chance to meet that once-terrified mom whose son is now kicking some serious grass on the soccer field.


Blogger JumpingJane said...

Thank you for this post. Its posts like these that encourage and remind.

November 9, 2009 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger faith said...

what a wonderful opportunity. i think that's really neat.

November 9, 2009 at 9:34 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for sharing this inspiring story! We should share these moments much more regularly.

November 10, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Jessica at Musings of a Medical Spouse said...

Amazing story! And definitely something to look forward to :)

November 10, 2009 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

This is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it!

November 10, 2009 at 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Traci Walton said...

Sweetness! Love stories like that. It is nice to meet patients when out with my husband and hear what a difference he has made in their lives. It makes the nights alone and missed events seem inconsequential- and I need to be reminded of the noble profession he is in- because it is not "easy" to be married to a M.D. Luckily, I am married to an intelligent, kind and caring soul. (15 years)

November 10, 2009 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

November 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Mrs. B said...

Thank you so much for sharing. It helps me, as a wife of a medical student, to remeber to put things into perspective :) I love y'all's blog. Thank you for all that you do! Lots of love!

November 16, 2009 at 1:12 PM  

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