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    Why optometrists are awesome

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    I have a teenage son. I also have tween twin girls. I spend a great deal of my personal time pointing out positive aspects of life to my typically sour, often down-and-out offspring. Having moody children who feel more negative than positive on any given day is difficult for me to understand. I tend to be quite a positive person. 

    I have, however, had quite the eventful fall due to various medical concerns, which have required more doctor visits than I could imagine. I tore my meniscus, my daughter has osteocondritis dessicans, and my son had bilateral ankle sprains. Visiting orthopedists, physical therapists, pediatric gastrointestinal specialists, labs, and imaging facilities for me, my daughter, and my son is enough to make even us sunshiny types cranky. At this point, any condition ending in “–itis" will make me reflexively pull out my ID, insurance card, and copay.

    More from Dr. Swartz: Dealing with nightmare patients

    The varying degrees of unhappiness of other professions

    I visited a doctor with my son October 1, 2015. This is the day that ICD-10 went live, in case you are a healthcare provider living in a cave. For those who have not been fortunate enough to have to visit an orthopedic specialist, they typically run behind. I suppose this is expected given that so many of these patients hobble around on crutches. I do not think that waiting for more than an hour for any doctor is the best use of my time. I went prepared. We had my son’s homework, two smartphones, headphones, and possible ICD-10 codes for his anticipated diagnosis. I tried to make light of the historical day by offering my anticipated codes to the nurse, who looked bored with my antics. It turned out the office had been using the coding set for a month. I thought the staff was suffering from various degrees of unhappiness because of the ICD-10 rollout, but apparently, that is their normal demeanor.

    As I visited other doctors, I noted that often they demonstrate varying degrees of unhappiness. My physical therapists are the exception, but that may be because they get to electrocute me while freezing me to death at every visit. It occurred to me our profession can easily be incredibly rewarding. The opportunities we have to “knock the ball out of the park” on a daily basis are numerous. I have become quite adept at finding the silver lining in every situation as of late, given my extraordinary amount of time waiting on other healthcare personnel, and thought I would create a list for my optometry friends. 

    Next: The ways ODs can do great things

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...

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