It was a Saturday morning in the late summer, just before the beginning of school. That time of year in every family practice, when the schedule is packed with kids, whose parents, overwhelmed with bored little ones and last summer trips, are eager to cross one more thing off their back-to-school preparedness list. That time of the year when the doctor wishes she had remembered to take a vacation but is nonetheless determined to get through the day with her wits intact and her patience unruffled.
Dr. Kane walked in promptly at 9:50 and was relieved to see that her tech, having arrived early, had already turned on the acuity screens and prepped the day’s charts. There was a harried young woman with three boys under the age of six, sitting in the waiting room, trying to fill out a questionnaire, while her sons performed death-defying acrobatic feats for the entertainment of the optician who appeared to be praying for their (or his own) survival. Dr. Kane glanced at the schedule and noted that the ten o’clock was a new patient. There was a comment stating, “Pt. requests her boys also be seen for their annual eye exams today– very hard for her to come back on a different day.” Sure, thought Dr. Kane, the day is young, the kids look healthy, let’s bang these out – and proceeded to invite the family into exam room 1.
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