There has been a theme in the past few days in our Urgent Care office of eye injuries. One woman was an airport presumably going about her business shuffling from gate to gate when she took a piece of paper out of her purse to read. The paper went under her glasses and proceeded to give her a corneal abrasion, otherwise known as a paper cut in her eye. A construction worker was cutting glass, a piece of which lodged itself directly into his eye (no, he wasn't wearing the proper protective eyewear!). A young college student left her contacts in too long studying and developed sudden onset nausea, photophobia and eye pain.
These are the type of things that usually remind me to appreciate my mundane, cautious sort of lifestyle. I have always been a rule-follower, part of my Type A personality I suppose. So if the contacts were supposed to come out at night, I took them out at night. But being a physician definitely puts perspective on this in many different ways, both in what we are missing and what could happen if we stray from the straight and narrow. It's an overall appreciation for what makes us human I'm talking about, the thread that connects us as people. We want adventure and we crave security, and with either extreme there are problems. These are the folks we see in the emergency room or urgent care clinics with road rash from a biking accident or hyperventilating from a panic attack. Exposure to these extremes can be good for doctors as humans, and this is what gives us a broader understanding of behavior and people.
Which is why I love the fact that my kids still make forts out of sheets in the living room. They are creating their own adventure, with their own form of security. The best of both worlds, if I don't say so myself, right in the comfort of their own home. I'm sure it won't last forever. I'm sure they will one day not find crawling under furniture so entertaining. But when these small things bring such joy, it reminds me to appreciate the here and now, and the little personalities that are developing under my nose. They take for granted that they are healthy, that they can see and hear, and as well they should. This is what I love about childhood. This is also what I love about being a doctor, because I may not appreciate these things as much if my job wasn't to fix it when things go wrong.