So summer is over. The leaves are turning red and yellow, in some parts of the country it has begun to snow, and yes, the holidays are among us. Hard to believe it’s already late November! For many Vision Therapy offices this time of year tends to be slower. Our office is considered a “referral center” meaning we do not sell products we simply evaluate patients and provide Vision Therapy services. Although we’ve prepared for this time being a bit slower, as historically it has been, we are busier now than we were during the summer – and the summer was nuts. At last count, we are running at 115% capacity. Too many patients is a golden problem to have in a service only practice, but it is a problem, nonetheless. We are all working overtime, have recently hired new staff, are training therapists, all while trying to keep our wits about us day to day. Sounds fun, right? In all honesty, it’s really pretty awesome when you think about it. Being a smaller office, I think many of us were looking for things to slow down a bit so we could catch our breath, but I’ll take too busy any day. Certainly beats the alternative!
When tensions rise in the office it always amazes me how simple things can ground us all again, and I had one of those experiences recently. A few weeks ago I tested a young lady, all of 42, who was having issues with what she described on our intake form as “sensory inputs” and came to see us to participate in our standard battery of perceptual testing. Since the usual symptoms reported by patients are more subjective (i.e headache, blurry vision, double vision etc.), I figured this nice lady had either done a bunch of research on the internet and was in the process of self diagnosis, or possibly had been referred by someone and picked up a buzz word. I didn’t see a name in the “referred by” section of her chart when I read it earlier in the day, so I decided to ask – “what led you to us?”
“I have Tourette’s Syndrome” she answered. “Loud noises, fast moving things, wrong colors in wrong places, even the clock ticking too loudly messes with me”; it all bothers me. I want to fix that.” She then started to twitch somewhat violently, while laughing hysterically. “I have to laugh at myself to keep from crying” she explained. She then asked me to laugh with her. I didn’t laugh, but I did thank her for helping me to understand her perspective. We got through the testing battery, she thanked me, and was on her way. As she left she reminded me that life could “always be worse” – perhaps because the stress of the office was emanating from my body, perhaps because my smile was difficult to find that day, or perhaps just because she is an awesome human being who has realized, despite her troubles, there is more to life than wallowing in self pity.
Today, my new found friend had her VT consultation with our doctor, and will begin therapy next week. Among the many things I have to be thankful for during this holiday season, I am grateful that there are people in the world that realize the power of positive thinking. I look forward to having my new friend in VT and with any luck, will be able to offer some benefit to her already amazing quality of life.