• Surprise!

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    One day while examining a patient in the clinic, I noticed another patient in the exam room across the hall, waiting to be seen.

    I noticed that he was curiously playing with the eye instruments in the room, removing the direct ophthalmoscope, carefully looking at it and then replacing it in the socket, removing the retinoscope, evaluating it carefully and putting it back. He then played with the slit lamp, turning it on and off.

    As I watched him, I was worried that he might break one of those instruments.

    After finishing with the first patient, I then moved to the room where the second man was waiting for me. He was a new patient and was referred for cataract evaluation.

    After introducing myself and asking him several questions, I gave him a long lecture about how delicate and expensive all those instruments were. When I saw his interest, I explained the function of each of those instruments to him.

    During my lecture, he was quiet and did not ask any questions. After I finished examining him, I found he had significant cataracts in both his eyes. I explained the cataract and the procedure of cataract extraction to him as well.

    While I was doing the paperwork to schedule him for surgery, I said, “By the way, you seem very interested in these instruments; you must be an engineer, a mechanic or a scientist.” He looked at me and said, “I am a retired ophthalmologist”!!!

    I paused for a while and did not know what to say. I blushed and was sweating. I apologized to him and scheduled him for his surgery.