In the fall of 2015, the 1st graders in elementary had their regular eye and ear screenings by the school nurse. I never knew anything about the screenings until later in the school year when Kaitlynn brought home a note from the nurse. The note stated that Kaitlynn had failed her eye exam at school on 3 separate occasions, so we were asked to take her to an eye doctor for a follow-up exam.
When I first read the note, I just assumed Kaitlynn had "failed" the exam because she didn't understand the nurse's instructions. As in, maybe she read the wrong line of the chart or read from the wrong direction. I kind of laughed it off, and I even texted my girlfriend about how Kaitlynn somehow managed to screw up the eye test, ha! My girlfriend was shocked by my callous attitude and told me I should probably take it more seriously.
Properly scolded, I tried to casually ask Kaitlynn a few questions about the eye exam and whether she had trouble seeing anything. She is not the most articulate communicator at times, so I ended up feeling more confused and actually wondering if she might truly have a vision issue. Jeff and I made up a makeshift eye chart and had Kaitlynn stand back to read us the letters. She struggled a bit and eventually revealed that she couldn't read ANY of the letters. The letter were quite large and from the distance she was standing, she should have easily read them all. Jeff and I were stunned.
How could we not have caught this issue? I felt AWFUL but I tried to keep a nonchalant attitude in front of Kaitlynn. I told her that we would go see an eye doctor to check her again to make sure her eyes were working as expected. I tried to drop the topic until our appointment, but we were quite worried. Every now and then, I would ask Kaitlynn some questions about whether she could see or read certain things, but I always received mixed responses leaving me more confused.
Finally, the day arrived for Kaitlynn's appointment. She sat down in the big chair and seemed perfectly comfortable and not a bit nervous. The nurse came in and began showing Kaitlynn some letters to read, but it was clear right away that Kaitlynn wasn't seeing the same thing we were.
The nurse was patient with her and switched to pictures for her to describe. Kaitlynn still wasn't describing them accurately despite the nurse showing the largest pictures on the screen. The nurse used all her tricks, but then decided she needed to take the exam a step further. She had another nurse come in to dilate Kaitlynn's eyes so they could look at them through the fancy machine (no idea what it's called). After having Kaitlynn try to read different pictures through the machine on 3 separate occasions, it was evident that Kaitlynn still couldn't follow the directions asked of her by the nurse.
At this point, the picture was becoming more clear with Kaitlynn's exam. The nurses weren't saying anything, but they were "on" to her. Back in the exam room, the doctor came in and continued the exam. Kaitlynn was still all over the place with her responses, cheerful but evasive. I had a bit of a smirk on my face, and finally, the doctor turns to me with his diagnosis.
"She is what we refer to," he says, "as a malingering patient." At my confused look, he continued. "We see some patients with these results... perhaps she has a friend with glasses and she decided she wanted glasses as well. Most patients like Kaitlynn will try to 'trick' the school nurses and then once they are at the doctor, they will start telling the truth. In your daughter's case, she is sticking to her guns. But she is fine, her eyes are perfect. 20/20. See you in 2 years for a follow-up."
In other words, she's a FAKER! Oh my goodness, this girl!! The doctor was so gracious with her, not officially calling her out but delivering his diagnosis gently. Kaitlynn seemed unfazed.
As we left the office, she asked, "So am I getting glasses?"
"Nope," I replied. "The doctor says your eyes are perfect!"
"Awww!" she responded in a disappointed tone.
What am I gonna do with this girl?!
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