when something has to give…
Out the window of our landing plane, I was able to enjoy a few brief glimpses Orlando’s sunset yesterday evening. The beautiful view was symbolic both of the upcoming Annual Meeting – an awesome week which I always enjoy immensely – and of a patient that has been on my mind in recent days. A patient, who much like the sunset, has faded from view.
Seventeen is a tough age, in fact, one may argue it is by far one of the toughest. There is the transition from adolescence to adulthood, social pressures of high school, the consideration of colleges, choice of a career, and the spectacle of soon managing some self reliance. Compounding these issues for the struggling student may be the scheduling of tutors and participating in therapies, all while maintaining a facade of invincibility while among peers. It’s a lot to manage. So when I heard one of my seventeen year old patients had decided to “drop out” of VT for a while, I was disappointed, but understanding. The patient of whom I write is a seventeen year old young woman whose life has been turned upside down. An only child being raised by two over-scheduling executives, much of what she has learned of life has come from nanny’s, daycare facility’s, or friends of friends of friends. Still though, her bond with her parents was strong and their love solid. She was a very happy kid. This until three years ago when her parent’s marriage began to spiral downward, resulting in divorce mid 2012. According to her mom, all were devastated. Fast forward three years, I have a beautiful young woman with loads of potential and promise who on a dime, switches from productive patient interested in her future to someone who would rather sit and argue points of motivation than attempt any activity that may be prescribed. In fact, there have been times where nothing is accomplished thanks to her manipulation and will. When I try to reason with her, she in her own words states she’s “just complicated”.
Yeah, you can say that again.
I come from the school of thought that something is better than nothing and so we’ve been pushing through, one painful visit after another. Meanwhile, my patient’s mother has been communicating her own attempts to remedy other concerns outside of my scope involving suicidal tendencies, destructive behaviors and other psychological anomalies. Apparently the manipulation I have been privy to is but the tip of the iceberg. I cannot even fathom the guilt this mother feels. And so, when my patient’s mother called our office two weeks ago to cancel all future VT appointments I was not surprised. Nothing bad has happened and my patient is still in one piece. Her mom simply said she had to “choose her battles”, and for now, she wasn’t going to fight about VT. Her daughter is resistant and doesn’t understand the value, and with everything else being equal, mom has enough on her plate of emotion. Her daughter is unstable and needs help far beyond Vision Therapy, a consuming and constant concern for this mom. So consuming in fact, that she realized that something has to give – time to put VT on hold.
Vision Therapy is amazing and has changed many lives, a fact that makes attending meetings like the one in Orlando this week something special. With a collection of this many VT minded folks, there is always lots to converse over. But much like the sunset, effective VT can be a matter of timing. A missed opportunity can only mean one thing, a new opportunity is soon to present itself. After all, the sun will always come up tomorrow.