A Lesson in Addition
Our juvenile patients don't mince
JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.
you learn in school today?" the momma asked her first grader.
"We learned two plus two, the
sonuvab**ch is four," he replied.
Highly incensed, the
mother phoned the teacher to bless her out for using such language in her class.
no, that's not what I said!" said the teacher. "What I told them was, 'two plus
two, the sum of which is four.'"
children ain't always easy. You may recall, if you were paying attention, that
the March column was on this very subject. I apologize for doing it again, but
the March issue triggered more interesting children episodes from other readers,
which you might enjoy.
BY AMY WUMMER
Many of the stories illustrate
how O.D.s often get unexpected responses from their child patients. Indiana
University student Jen Reynolds e-mailed an episode that happened during her
I was doing a visual information processing evaluation on an eight-year-old boy.
He was about one third of the way through a battery of tests and I was impressed
at how well he was responding. To encourage the child I said to him, "Wow, you
sure are smart!" He looked up at me and said, "Lady, I should be. I've been
through the first grade twice!"
Dr. John Muellerleile reports the response from a seven-year-old to the
after-image following ophthalmoscopy: "It sure takes a long time for the light
He also tells of the techno-savvy five-year-old watching him examine the mother.
Having looked at the 20/20 line projected on the wall for some time, the lad
asked, "Can you change the channel to something else?"
Dr. Paul Uslan had a child
experience that he says almost made him fall out of his chair laughing, even
though the mother did not seem to see the humor:
I had a seven-year-old little girl in the exam chair, with her mother also
present in the room. During case history, I asked her, "Are you taking any
medicine or pills?" "No," she said. "Not unless my mom is slipping it to me in
there's the perception that the optometrist has asked a really dumb question.
Again from Muellerleile: Pointing to the 20/20 line of letters, I asked the
small boy, "Can you tell me what these are?" With a pitying look, he replied,
Similarly, Dr. Harris Dulitz told me many years ago of the five-year-old who,
when asked what he saw as the acuity chart was projected on the wall, replied,
"An eye examination chart."
Other episodes involve
misunderstanding. This one was the one reported by Dr. Terry Grammer:
I walked into the exam room to examine a seven-year-old boy I had not seen in
three years. I said, "You've grown a whole foot since the last time I saw you."
The boy exclaimed, "Dr. Grammer, I have always had two feet!"
Another Muellerleile episode occurred when a seven-year-old boy was crying while
trying on frames in the dispensary. "We thought he was distressed about having
to wear glasses. Finally he informed us of the reason for the tears: 'Everyone
at school will laugh at me because these frames don't have lenses in them.'"
OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT
HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@AOL.COM
Optometric Management, Issue: October 2005