As many of you know now, I had the experience of a retina tear and subsequent detachment this past week. The details of all of that I wrote in an email to the Monument subscribers, but what I wanted to cover here was my visit to the Colorado Retina medical office. I will preface this article with this, sometimes you learn more about people when everything goes awry. Let’s begin.
My appointment for laser surgery was scheduled for 2:00 PM on Wednesday. I was to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork and get checked in, which I did. I came with my 17 year old daughter as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to drive myself home after the procedure. The waiting room was quite full at this time already. The receptionist who checked me in was very professional. She smiled genuinely the whole time and even laughed at my dad jokes. My kids usually tell people not to laugh as they don’t want to encourage such behavior. She made me feel like I was the only one she was needing to talk to, and wasn’t nervously looking around, or trying to make me feel rushed. That is a great quality in a receptionist.
We were directed where to sit and that they would call me back to the treatment area when my turn came. Different medical assistants came regularly and called many other people for the doctor I was supposed to be seeing. Time kept on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future (for all you Steve Miller fans). It got to be 2:30 PM then 3:00 PM. Around that time, a young man in scrubs came out and said that they were unusually busy that day and that no one had been forgotten. I thought that rather odd, but took it in stride.
Around 3:20 PM I was called back for my pre-surgery exam. The young lady who did my eye exam was very professional. The first question she asked was to clear up some confusion. In a rather hesitant voice she asked, “So, it says here that, uh, that…you, uh, identify as, uh, female. Is that the case?” To which I quickly answered, “I have six kids and am very much a man.” “Okay good. I’ll get that cleared up right now,” she replied with a sigh of relief. She smiled, and also laughed at my jokes, and made me feel like I was her only patient. No feeling of being rushed, which is great for a medical tech. She said they would need to take some pictures of my retinas, but that they were pretty busy and I needed to go sit in the waiting room again.
About 10 minutes later, the same guy in scrubs came out to announce they were busy and no one was being forgotten. Then another 10 minutes and I was back getting my retinal scans. It was a different tech this time, who again didn’t rush me, laughed at my jokes, and was very professional. This time I asked what was going on. It turned out that the reason they were so busy was that another clinic in this group that was close by had to be closed due to some sort of contamination. Their doctors and all their patients were sent to this clinic to be seen.
Then it all made sense. That’s why everything was so backed up. Back to the waiting room again.
Then, to add craziness to their crazy day, I heard, “Help! Somebody help!” A patient had collapsed out side of a treatment room. I could see her lying on the ground, and several of the staff quickly getting to her including the scrubs guy. Someone called 911. The patient was well attended to, even with the short staff and twice as many patients as normal. Other techs entered the waiting area, still calling patients back and apologizing for all that was going on. The EMTs came within 10 minutes and wheeled the patient out through the still crowded waiting room.
I was evetually called back to another room to be seen by an ophthalmologist who did some more looking in my eye as a precursor to the laser surgery which would be done by yet another doctor. We chatted a bit, and she confirmed that they were quite overrun with patients, and that they were sorry for the delays etc. But she didn’t make me feel rushed, and took her time to be thorough. Even in the midst of all that was going on. She took me to another waiting area just outside the laser room.
There I waited for another 30 minutes for the laser. Several med techs who had not yet seen me wanted to make sure I was comfortable, asked if I wanted anything to drink or some crackers etc. The guy who had been announcing that “no one has been forgotten” and who also attended the most to the collapsed patient walked by and asked if I was doing okay. I replied, “How are YOU doing?” To which he said, “I’m doing fantastic!” There was no hint of sarcasm, or anything that would lead me to think he wasn’t sincere. Amazing! This seemed to be the attitude of all of the staff. And it did not appear to be an act, and believe me, I know an act when I see it.
At 5:00 PM, or so, I finally was escorted to the room where my laser procedure would occur. I waited there about 20 minutes when the doctor came in. He showed no signs of exasperation, or that there had been any issues that day. I was amazed at his calm demeanor. He explained what he would do, and made sure I was still in agreement with the procedure.
After the procedure was completed, and the doctor said to set up an appointment for 2 to 3 weeks, I said, “You all have had quite a day.” He replied, “You could put it that way.” He smiled and walked calmly out. Again, I was amazed.
This is the way we should all be in life. As I have maintained, all the more lately, God is in control. Even when we face trials and difficulties, He is in control. I don’t know if everyone at Colorado Retina believes this or not, but the care and professionalism exhibited at this practice certainly made me wonder.
One thing is for sure, we as Christians, whether in our businesses, in competition, our families, or anywhere we are, should learn from this experience that no matter what the circumstances, we can and should act in a similar way that Colorado Retina did. It certainly made a huge difference for me in a positive way than if they had been complaining about everything. Or as Zig Ziglar use to say, “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
That will only truly work though if we have the right perspective which is our rust in Christ, His finished work, and His return to take us home. This is our hope. And when we have this kind of hope in the future, we have the power to live in the present.