Monday, May 3, 2010

Averaging five an hour or more

What, you ask?

Exams. I say. Eye exams.

Isn't that a normal rate? That's about one every 12 minutes. Enough time to speed through a history, refraction, quick health check, order glasses and chuck 'em out the door. Your best efforts from Dr. Sara and Uncle Sam.

The patients are troopers. I go to the waiting room looking girly in my skirt and grey boots (they're the only shoes I can walk normal in since injuring my left foot) and ask, "Who's here for optometry SRP?" Six people sitting. Five raise their hands. The other's wearing glasses and just trying to be funny. They're all waiting for me. That's how it's been for the last two days, and I expect it'll be the same until the final day of our SRP, May 14th. (SRP is "Soldier Readiness Program.")

I was hired to be part of the surge team, those who prepare soldiers to leave and welcome them back upon return. This is where they really get their money's worth. This is where I'm really happy to have nearly ten years experience in my field and a background in HMO optometry. I know how to crank it up when I need to, and still remain personable. (Thanks, Kaiser!)

My patients are good sports. One of the history questions I'm required to ask is, "Are you in any pain today?" (Thanks to the folks at HEDIS.) I must then qualify, quantify and investigate it if they report anything. So far I've heard about back pain, tooth pain, big toe pain, headaches, foot pain, sinus pain, BUT NO EYE PAIN.

Today, I was asking the dumb question again, and my patient said he didn't have any pain. I said, "Thank god, I never hear anything relevant anyway." He said, "Well, my big toe kinda hurts." I laughed and said, "Someone told me about their toe pain!" He said someone told him to tell me about his toe pain. So apparently they talk to each other. I'm going to take that as they're having an good enough time in their twelve minutes with me. Enough to make a slight impression.

Hopefully they all come back safely in a year and see me again.

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