It would be easy to get into a routine of one and two, and one and two, and on and on until everyone looks the same. But for me, everyday joy lies in the little conversations I get to have in between their prescription and eye healthcare conversations with those who entrust their care to me.
I love my patients. I. Love. Them. We laugh together, we’ve cried together, we share recipes, and they teach me important things, every day. And sometimes they teach me some not-so-important things, which I enjoy just as much.
As ODs, we spend our lives in dark rooms. Hours pass, and it’s lunchtime- the whole lobby could’ve thrown a party and we wouldn’t know it. It would be easy to get into a routine of one and two, and one and two, and on and on until everyone looks the same. But for me, everyday joy lies in the little conversations I get to have in between their prescription and eye healthcare conversations with those who entrust their care to me.
Some of the quirkier things about ourselves, we end up sharing with patients. I happen to have six hens that we refer to as “the girls” but are also known as “the goodfeathers.” Hazel, Olive, Blanche, Ruby, Violet, and Clementine provide us with fresh eggs daily. These are the kind of eggs that make you go out to breakfast on a Sunday morning and order eggs over easy and then when they come, you look down at the wilted and pale yellow yolk and say “Really?! I’ve got way better than that at home!” I’m telling you, they raise the bar on eggs. Orangey-yellow vibrant yolks that stand up at attention on your plate. A-mazing eggs.
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On top of the eggs, the girls are endlessly entertaining. Since we’ve moved, there is a rooster down the road. One morning recently, we heard a strained and pitiful rendition of a rooster crowing, turned to each other and said, “Is that one of the girls?” And sure enough, we have a hen that wants to be a rooster, or at least crow like one.
Anyway, since we’ve had the girls, we’ve not been super great about handling or holding them often, so when we moved across the state recently, I was concerned about how to get all of them caught and in a transportable cage together.
Chickens tend to bawk and squawk and run away, a scene our neighbors would get a good laugh out of. This move would require a more than two-hour car ride, if we could even catch all the girls first.
Fortunately, at just the right time, a repeat patient who has chickens showed up on my schedule. This patient actually chose to see me because I have chickens. She was making her initial appointment, giving her e-mail address to our receptionist email@example.com when it was suggested that she see the doctor who has chickens, too.
She got a good laugh out of my predicament, and said “You’re gonna have some ticked off chickens on your hands, but it can be done.” She explained that you have to work around a chicken’s schedule, not yours.
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Luckily for us, chickens are creatures that stick to a tight schedule. Our girls start baaa-gaaaking at each other right as the sun is going down and move their way up their ramp to roost for the evening.
My patient explained that I have to wait until they’ve gone up to roost and it’s dark outside, then go into their coop and snatch them up while they’ve hunkered down for the evening. Their eyesight is poor, and they’re not good for much past dark, so snatch them then.
Well, this is all a good idea in theory.
In reality, the move had us crunched for time. We couldn’t get them at night, leave them in a cage, and drive in the morning. So one day while I was at work, my fiancÃ© decided that it was a good day to catch chickens. And folks, we should’ve listened to the chicken lady. Our chickens flew the coop. They were not happy.
They flew in his face and caused him to inadvertently crash into the door, which opened the coop and freed the chickens into the yard. They hid under the deck. They were mad little hens. I was getting the greatest text messages in between patients.
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What ended up getting the chickens to come out from under the deck was a really smart border collie who rounded them up. It turns out that’s what they’re made to do.
So, if you need to gather your chickens, please listen to my patient and do it once they’ve roosted for the evening. Or if you have a border collie, just let her do the work.