Some days I really love my job. Sure, there is a lot of satisfaction in solving patients’ problems or offering advice. But that can happen with any job. Certain days are more rewarding than others, not because of clinical challenges, but because of the social interaction between myself and my patients. Sometimes, greeting a patient with a simple “What’s new?” or a patient asking me about my family can lead to interesting discussions. Here are a few from the last few weeks.
- Phil C. and I were talking about his upcoming business trip. I know that he travels a lot, but I never knew what he does for a living. Recently, I learned that he works for a group that provides aid to Haiti. Among the donors in the group are well-known actors, musicians, and politicians, all of whom he has met many times. He is currently working on a project to rebuild a village that was destroyed by an earthquake for 30,000 Haitians.
- John Q. and I were debating the possibility of whether eyes can adjust to glasses. He shared with me some research he was involved with regarding hearing. The research indicated that certain nerves within the ear actually stop working (they get lazy) when a hearing aid is used over a length of time. Similarly, other research he shared with me has shown that applying lip balm on a regular basis can actually lead to the lips producing less moisture (the glands get lazy) which causes them to dry out. This has the opposite effect than one might think.
- Todd G. gave me an update on his son, Joe, who is attempting to become a professional golfer. Currently, his son is living in Florida playing golf on a “mini-tour,” which is like the minor leagues of golf. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of an exciting career for him.
- Kerry B. and Jennifer P. and I have had several in-depth conversations about the challenges certain parents (namely me) have in raising teenagers. Thanks to you both for sharing your experiences and for great advice and words of encouragement.
- Tom M. likes to scuba dive as a hobby. Except that he does not dive around coral reefs with colorful fish. Rather, he is part of a team that dives in murky waters with zero visibility to search for dead bodies and murder weapons in order to help solve crimes. In January, I saw him being interviewed on the local news. He helped locate the body of a college student who had been missing for several weeks—the body was found in the Schuylkill River.
The above are just a small sampling of conversations I have had with my patients over the last few weeks. There are many more for sure. This is my chance to thank you for giving me some good stories to tell or for causing me to stop and reflect. Slowing down to “smell the roses” is easier said than done. But when it is done, it is well worth it!
Wellness vs. Illness
There is a lot of talk lately about a concept in medicine in which individuals actually try to prevent themselves from getting sick in the first place. Traditional medicine uses the “illness model” in which a person develops a medical problem and visits a doctor who then treats the condition. The treatment is usually stopped when the illness is resolved. Although the patient has to follow the doctor’s orders, most of the responsibility comes from the doctor. With the “wellness model,” the responsibility is placed on the patient. Through awareness, education, and a change in lifestyle, patients guide themselves away from illness and towards a state of wellness. How can this apply to the eyes? As I heard in a lecture when I was a student, many eye conditions can be prevented or delayed by “doing everything your momma told you to do when you were a kid.” Don’t smoke, exercise, eat your vegetables, and protect your eyes from the sun.
Goodbye Winter—Good Riddance!
Here is a photo I took of a Christmas ornament. The background lights are from Shady Brook Farm.