Today, I came to see you for an eye check up with our 4 year old.
He was a little worried before we left the house that he was going to have the burny eye drops, which I told you about when we said hello. You introduced yourself in a very child friendly voice and I kind of thought ‘ah! This one knows who the patient is.Good’. I then told him that it would appear he wasn’t going to have the eye drops and saw his little body relax somewhat.
You could tell he was nervous in answering your questions as his voice was barely a whisper. You asked if there were any concerns and if he wore his glasses properly. At this point, I started to suss you out. It was your mechanical routine. I answered that there are no concerns that I know about and that he is learning his letters really well and he wears his glasses all the time.
You went straight into the sight test of tricky letters with his one eye patched and a massive glare of sun behind you which made it hard to focus for me as an adult, let alone a 4 year old with one eye patch. No helping him to relax and be confident with you chance I see. He was trying his best and you were obliging when I asked for you to draw the curtains. I spotted your half an eye roll like I was making excuses for his lack of concentration. There was another test going on behind you with a man moving about on his office chair.
Once that test was finished, you went into the more friendly test of looking at the lovely pictures on the wall. Asking him questions, without waiting for him to give you the answer you had asked for. Don’t worry though, I think you realised when I made a point of asking him his answer again, after you so rudely went onto the next item. Twice I did this as disappointingly you didn’t get it the first time I re-asked him your question.
I will give you credit, that you are newly qualified and want to come over as a professional. I will however like to point out, that as a parent I do not want to hear you declare that you will not lose any sleep over the fact that there may be a deterioration in his eyes. Yes, we will see you again in 2-3 months time and your hospital so badly wants to discharge him and you appear to show concern that you will not do this on this occasion (which doesn’t match your lack of sleep you won’t be having).
Well, I can tell you, that you won’t be discharging him on the next occasion either if I have any say over it. And should we see you again instead of one of the other ladies, your card is marked and I shall ensure he has the opportunity to respond in his time with the answer to your questions. You may see in my notes that I have previously requested not to see one of your colleagues again, who is no longer working there, as our son didn’t respond at all to her. In fact I have never seen him not even mumble a response EVER, and it took a long time for him to feel comfortable to interact with the tests after that.
I have also been going to paediatric eye clinics longer that you have been qualified for. On my previous visit, I was asked my opinion on whether I would like to attend a new orthoptic clinic which would not be based on the hospital site or whether I would be interested. Whilst I accept you may not have known about it, when I asked you about this today, please do not react as though you know everything and I am asking a weird random question. A simple, I don’t know about that would have sufficed – which you finally gave me in the end.
What I suppose I am saying is, you are dealing with a person and a little person at that. They deserve the same respect anyone deserves. Yes, you have to get through your appointments, but today there was nobody after us and sometimes, taking that little bit longer will get better results than rushing through it. There are some fantastic colleagues in your department and for that I am grateful.