A patient who doesn’t have an updated pair of glasses comes in for an eye exam.
“I don’t like to wear glasses”
“Why not?”, I asked as I was preparing for a conversation on how contacts are an alternative to glasses, NOT a replacement.
“Because I rock climb and glasses are really inconvenient”
“You do? That’s so cool! I like rock climbing too! How did you get into it?”
“Oh I was first introduced to it through my dance crew.”
“You dance? Me too! What kind of dance do you do?”
“What? ME TOO! Wait a minute, how come we were not friends already...”
Conversations like this actually happen more often in my exam room than you would think. Of course, not every patient of mine would turn out to have the same interests as me. However, more often than not, we would have more in common than we might first assume.
There are a lot of things that are less than ideal right now. I choose to see the good in all the bad. I feel lucky that due to the nature of my job, I still get to connect with people during this time of social isolation. The truth is, you don’t need to be in my position to connect with someone. That conversation took only 30 seconds before we realized that we have probably hung out in the same places without knowing. You can spare 30 seconds when you’re getting your coffee or while wiping down your yoga mat after a class. All we really need to do is to give each other a chance and listen. Yes, you should reach out to that one friend you’ve been thinking about and hop on a video chat.
Building relationships with my patients is what I value the most in my job. I feel privileged that I get to connect with people not just during the pandemic but also in a climate where people tend to keep to themselves in an urban city. Not to mention that I was also able to get this patient to actually get a pair of glasses so she can let her eyes have a break from wearing contact lenses too much.