JASON S. SLAKTER, MD
It is finally summertime! For many of us, it was a long, cold winter, followed by a longer, wetter spring. Those of us on the East Coast thought we had been transported to Seattle or London (apologies to my friends in the Northwest and England). It is with a sigh of relief that I witness the emergence of the sun and a rise in temperature as we enter my favorite season of the year (and further apologies to my colleagues in the southern hemisphere, who are just now beginning their winter).
I believe what makes summer so special is not just the warm weather and clear skies, but also the memories of the freedom and excitement that went along with vacation from school and time spent with family and friends. For me, it was always a time for trips to the beach, picnics, and barbecues, and enjoying some games at Dodger stadium (yes, I am a Los Angeles native). It was also the season for my family to travel — when I learned that the world was much bigger and more diverse than my little corner of the San Fernando Valley. I think that many of our most cherished moments come from the experiences we had in just these few short months of the year.
Given the difficult times that we have faced economically and professionally since late last year, I think we all deserve a break. There is no doubt that most of us enjoy what we are doing as ophthalmologists caring for our patients on a daily basis. Our field has one of the highest levels of job satisfaction, and there is often nothing more rewarding than saving or improving the sight of the individuals for whom we care. However, from talking to my colleagues and friends, I also think we often work much too hard. It seems the days start earlier and end later each year, the pace of work has increased, and the flow of e-mails an phone calls is worse than ever. Even my patients have begun to remark, "I certainly hope you are taking some time off to relax this summer." I could not agree with them more.
So, at the risk of having you not finish reading this issue of Retinal Physician, which does contain some wonderful articles on a number of interesting topics, I ask you to put your journals down, move away from your computer screens, wrap up those last few patients, and take some time off to enjoy. And for your health and sanity, turn off those turn off those Blackberrys and iPhones! It has been said that as people get older and look back on their lives, no one ever regrets the time they missed at work — only the time they missed spending with family. Let's not have any of those regrets. Go outside, have fun, and relax — you certainly deserve it. Besides, the work and the patients will be waiting for you when you get back.
Retinal Physician, Issue: July 2009