I was asked to write up our annual “2020 Year in Review” summary for our office. As I stared at my computer gathering my thoughts, I kept going back to the reality that while this year was simply one of the most challenging, stressful years that we have ever faced as a Brookside Optometric Group family it was also a year of discovery about the character and nature of our office family and of our patients.
Every Optometrist I know was looking forward to the 2020 year to celebrate the “Year of 2020 Vision” with a vision theme for the entire year. Our office had plans to celebrate this as well. However, all of that changed when the COVID-19 virus entered our lives and upended every aspect of our country.
Vision Care was deemed as nonessential during the first pandemic and we were ordered to shut down for 8 weeks. (I will always wonder why dry cleaners were allowed to stay open and we were not.) Without any warning we were shuttered with over 300 pairs of glasses and over 200 sets of contact lenses in our office that needed to be dispensed to our patients. We had to call patients that already had appointments to be seen in the weeks ahead and tell them that we would have to call them once we learned when we could see them again. For the first time in our history, we were dark and could not care for our patients.
It was during this shutdown that we all started to see the amazing side of our staff and patients. Staff members started brainstorming on what changes they felt we could make to make their areas of care safer for patients when we returned. Each idea gave birth to another and we spent our time in lockdown making changes within our office to make our eventual return safe for our patients.
Our lab staff even organized “Covid free” curbside glasses dispensing events where we could hand our patients their glasses, albeit without personalized adjustments. Our patients were understanding that we could not physically fit the glasses to them at this time and were so appreciative that we had set up these events to help them as best we could under the circumstances.
We spent days setting up hygienic plastic barriers at our front desk and financial desks. We invested in frame sterilization equipment and enacted protocols to ensure a virus free experience at Brookside.
When we were allowed to reopen, we had screening stations in place for entrance into our office and social distancing protocols in place to ensure responsible practices.
All of this came with a toll on our patients since we were forced to limit the number of patients, we could see each day and forced us to see everyone by appointment only even for repairs and dispensing’s of patient’s glasses. All of these unfortunate changes made us less able to take care of our patients in a manner they were accustomed to. Hence, we were worried what reaction we would get from our patients due to these changes.
What we discovered was that our patients were not only completely understanding as to why we had to make these changes and were actually thankful for our efforts. We always knew that we were fortunate to be able to serve so many wonderful people within our community, but this year brought that realization to the forefront.
This year brought great change to our nation. People are still being asked to sacrifice and adapt to the changing norms of day to day life to ward off this disease. It is easy to fixate on what we have lost as a community during this time, but we also need to see what we have gained.
What we gained at Brookside Optometric in 2020 is the renewed knowledge that our office is doubly blessed. We are blessed to have the team of people that work with us by our side. They are creative, dedicated and are the heart and soul of our office. We are also blessed to have the caliber of patients that we care for. You have shown us your patience and understanding during this time. We thank each and every one of you for the continued opportunity to be of service to you now and into the future. As always, we are reminded that you honor us every time when you allow us to be your doctors. We truly appreciate your loyalty to us and wish all of you a happier New Year in 2021!