Optometry is one big family
Giving thanks in 2020 seems, at least on the surface, to be a schmaltzy endeavor. Still, here is my list.
I’m thankful for my family. I’m incredibly thankful for my bride of 17 years, Laura, who has kept me sane, grounded, and lucky by being my wife throughout an intense year as a small-business owner. I’m thankful our children were blessed with more of their mother’s attributes than their father’s.
I work with my father Tom, and his perspective has been a source of inspiration this year. His father, Victor Casella, who survived the 1918 pandemic and a world war, started the practice cold turkey. He would have, I’m firmly convinced if he was alive today, said something like, “Aw hell, just wear the damn mask and quit complaining.” In fact, I’m sure that’s exactly what he’d say.
My brother-in-law and my sister are also family, but they deserve their own shout out. My brother-in-law is a pulmonary critical care physician. He works in the intensive care unit of a hospital where he devotes a lot of time to the less privileged. He defines the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. He would never say it, as his modesty transcends that of anyone’s, but he does.
He, along with my sister Ellie, have played an integral role in my saneness this year. I have called Ellie countless time times over the past months, many under the guise of getting the skinny from my brother-in-law on what COVID numbers were looking like at the time. Little did she know, I had already reached out to him and was just fishing around for her to tell me it was all going to be OK.
Optometry! How thankful am I for our profession! Organized optometry has put the pedal to the metal. The American Optometric Association’s webinars have helped me get my Paycheck Protection Plan loan as well as some of my personal protective equipment (PPE). Plus, the week in which I authored this editorial, the American Academy of Optometry sent me a package of face masks donated by Johnson & Johnson. Being a Fellow has and will continue to come with its privileges.
Our patients have put up with a great deal this year. Who knew that not seeing non-emergencies for weeks would leave us still struggling to catch up months later? While we can’t get back to pre-pandemic patient numbers yet, we are doing our best to play catch-up. That includes more hours, extending prescriptions, mailbox deliveries, and other measures.
You. Through your readership, you demonstrate a commitment to your patients and our profession during this intense and poorly predictable time. Thank you. Thank you for the physical risk. Thank you for the mental energy expended. Thank you for the positive attitude. We are truly one big family in optometry