Joel Hunter, MD Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 12/11/20 10:00 AM
In medical school, you spend a lot of time fantasizing about your future. It’s kind of a necessity in getting through the endless tedium of memorizing metabolic pathways and doing hospital grunt work. “Dr. Hunter!” they’d say in my fantasy (as I lingered on the title, treasuring the word), “you’ve just resuscitated this woman using only your amazing intellect and a Publix bag. Oprah is alive thanks to you! Looks like getting up for pre-rounds at 4 am was definitely worth it.” Then I’d blink a few times and I was back in fluorescent lit hospital halls with pre-dawn darkness out the window.
The point is, I didn’t know what the best part of my job would be. And I don’t know that you can accurately guess the best part of any experience until you’re living it. I specialized in eye surgery, then specialized more in laser refractive surgery. So just a short five years after graduating medical school, I had a job that was impossible to picture from the vantage point of those pre-dawn hospital halls.
In reality, the best part of my job would have surprised me back then. It kind of surprises me now, because I never really thought it through until someone asked me to write a blog about it. It is this: the moments in LASIK or lens surgery when I’m rambling or quietly singing along with the radio to help a nervous patient make it through to the other side. I still literally get the chills in these moments... watching someone’s anxiety drop as they laugh or tell me my singing is bad.
Even though I wouldn’t have realized that without being asked to write this blog, I think I know the reason why. We are at our best and most fulfilled when we are doing something we love, in a way that maybe only we could, and making life better for someone else. The best moments of a vacation or a holiday aren’t the food or sleeping in, they’re the moments when you’re laughing super hard with people you love. Work isn’t any different. I thought my favorite part of my job would be relishing in personal triumph. Instead, it’s getting to be a part of a shared experience made better because I got to be there.