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Patients are like family

Really. Its true. I have now been practicing for 7 years and have been lucky enough to consider many of my patients part of an extended family. I hope they can see that when they come in. Maybe I am a little over the top sometime. I can’t think of many days that go by where I don’t hug at least SOMEONE. I truly enjoy hearing about what is going on in there lives. I have witnessed patients getting married, having babies (haven’t witnessed THAT first hand!), getting college acceptance letters…you know, the important stuff in life. I never anticipated how much I would enjoy this part of my job but it is this reason that I know I could never leave patient care. I have started to expand my career opportunities by doing some research and also by speaking on behalf on pharmaceutical and contact lens companies. There are many optometrists that make a lucrative living NOT seeing patients. However, that’s not for me. I like seeing people. I love KNOWING people. Most of my patients call me by my first name. That’s how I know they really know me. You see, my grandfather was Dr. Murphy. When someone says that, I think of him. And honestly, he was often a crotchety ole guy. Someone once said to me “You went to school long enough, you deserve to be called Dr. Murphy.” My response, while maybe a bit smug was, “I went to school long enough to be called what I want to be called ;)” That’s what makes sense to me. I like being Mary Anne or “Murph” or Doc. I feel very at ease with my patients when they refer to me that way. I saw a patient today that I had not seen for a year and it was like we never missed a beat. We all have ‘friends’ like that. “Tony” tells me about his vacations and his worries about a possible layoff. This makes me feel a part of his life. As a member of his healthcare team, I can be a better part of his healthcare decisions if I know him as a person rather than just another pair of eyes. Some might ask, why do you need to know that to ask “Which is better 1 or 2?” In short, for MANY reasons. Have you ever heard of central serous retinopathy? If you have, you know why I ask personal questions. If you don’t know of that condition, let’s hope you never need to.