Article Date: 6/1/2002

0602120

Reflections: THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY
A Son's Thanks
Some people learn more about optometry at school; others learn more through the life of another.
BY ANDREW S. GURWOOD, O.D., F.A.A.O.

He led by example. He was never late and he was always well dressed, professional and proper. He demonstrated intelligence, common sense, savvy, compassion and kindness. He was an ethical, honest and caring man. He was the same kind of doctor. He cared about his patients. He cared about the community in which he served. He cared about his staff, about his family and about his business. He kept things in order and he always put his best foot forward, regardless of whether the times were good or bad. He was well liked by everyone who met him and certainly by those who got to know him.

Seeing a special gift

The minute I met him, I knew I liked him. Under his spell, I became a follower, an observer, a disciple. I tried to emulate the kind and gentle way he spoke to colleagues, friends, staff and patients. The way he "kibitzed" with them. The way he listened without passing judgement. The way he applied sternness to his voice to make an important point. The patience he demonstrated while educating others.

Discovering the many facets of the profession

Through his teachings, it became clear to me how much more there is to the practice of optometry than simply gathering data, performing tests and mastering skills. Optometry is making a house call to a sick patient who's stuck at home. Optometry is giving away services when a patient has no way to pay. It's sitting on the school board and shaping the futures of the children.

Optometry is being in the show and cooking on the grill on a hot summer's day so the Lyon's Club can be there for those who need it's services. Optometry is a way to help people see. It's about making some people feel better about themselves. Optometry is a responsibility. It's giving a sick patient a call at night to see how he's doing or visiting an old friend in the hospital. Optometry is giving a patient your beeper number so she can call you if she has a question. It's spending 30 to 45 minutes of time and giving one's best expertise during a patient's exam. Optometry is returning calls during call back time. It's a way to make a living. Optometry is waving and saying hello to the folks you know while driving through town.

Reason for giving thanks

So many lessons to learn and so little time. My role model still practices and I still try to emulate him -- his methods, his timing, his feeling, his caring, his philosophy. If I were half of that man I might be okay.

It's been said that people wait too long to show their appreciation. Procrastination and "I'll get around to it" often postpone the delivery of deserved accolades to our closest and dearest mentors. Have you thanked yours? Most of them never expect it, nor need it. They just keep on going, selflessly giving to others, devoted to instructing what is right. And so now, here, I offer sincere thanks to my mentor. For showing me the good way, the right way. For taking care of me, setting an example of how to take care of the people and the students and impressing upon me the importance of representing our profession proudly. Thanks . . . Dad.

DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH KAREN RODEMICH, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC MANAGEMENT AT (215) 643-8135 OR RODEMICHKF@BOUCHER1.COM.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: June 2002