Magazine article Medical Economics

My Last Patient before I Turned 40

Magazine article Medical Economics

My Last Patient before I Turned 40

Article excerpt

As the author was closing his office one Friday afternoon and thinking about entering his fifth decade, in walked a surprise.

It was a Friday no different from any other. The last of the eye exams was concluding as I sent a fully dilated, quite blurred presbyope to the checkout desk. My end-ofthe-week ophthalmologic chores were pretty routine: Phone in a Timoptic prescription for Mrs. Johnson. Verify a Ciloxan refill. Review contact-lens parameters for a high astigmat. Check the on-call list.

"Ten years of Friday afternoons," I mused on that first day of June. No matter that my 40th birthday was two days away. I was on call for the weekend anyway.

Briefcase in hand, I was ready to leave when a new patient chart appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. "Is there another walk-in, Cathy?"

My technician nodded. Acting apologetic, she said, "I'm sorry, Dr Casden-it was so crazy out front I guess this person never made the afternoon list. I screened her for you, though. Looks like conjunctivitis. Should be pretty quick."

I glanced at the chart. April Stevens, 27, selfreferred. Last patient of the day. Of the week. Of my fourth decade.

Walking toward the exam room, I was immediately aware of her scent. Sweet and inescapable, it filled the air. I opened the door to find an attractive young woman, blonde, with penetrating, iridescent green eyes.

"I'm Dr. Casden. How are you?" "April Stevens. Thanks for seeing me on such short notice."

I opened the chart. Occupation, hairdresser . . . no significant ocular history. . recent red eye . . . occasional allergies.

As I looked up I became aware of her stare. Her smile was broad, persistent, and uncomfortably seductive. Was I being paranoid? My passage into midlife certainly didn't need this. I had to remain detached. . . be professional . . . and, above all, take care of her quickly.

April, just inches from me now, placed her Ahead in the slit lamp as I aimed the illuminating beam at her eye. …

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