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Dear Dr. Young

I don't remember the first time I met Dr. Young. I was two and a half the first time he operated on me. He's a very quiet man, the kind of person where you could easily be convinced that you annoy them, even if that's far from the case.

Hi, I'm Emily and Dr. Young's office was never quiet when I was there. Every six months, I came in with my impertinent self and asked too many questions and told too many stories. I remember my mom explaining that, sometimes, even though conversation is nice, people don't need to know every detail of how little you like that boy at school named Elliot, or which iCarly episode makes you laugh the most, or how you cried because your mom made you clean your closet and you're still five years old and everything warrants tears. People don't need to know about that!

But why not? It's my eccentricities that make me as human as I am, and I don't have a career like Dr. Young through which I can divert my passions. This is his place yes, but I tended to figure I'd been invited.

I don't think that anyone I do or don't know would be wise to see me as I was when I came out of any of my three surgeries at the hands of Dr. Young. But, despite the nausea and crankiness, the scarring on my eyes was minimal, and the pain brief. The strabismus was fixed well enough every time for me to have a few years of straight sight, even if it was blurry and my prescription kept getting stronger. He did his very best by me. His very best.

Before long, I was 15, still at the pediatric optometrist, good old Dr. Young's office. I sat in the same chair for the thousandth or so time; I know the drill. But I look at his wall of degrees, proof that this man's mind far surpasses mine, as does his social maturity. He's lived an entire life outside of my time on earth, outside of my sight which he has worked tirelessly to preserve. He's a third generation with his name, his grandson is the fifth of the W.O. Young's and I am a patient in his chair. I felt very small. And then so very determined to see Dr. Young smile, even with discomfiture.

My first idea was to ask about this rather cute guy I saw in the waiting room. Loyal to the Hippocratic oath, my request had no dice with Doc. But - success! - he smiled, even if he did do it while looking at my mom as if asking if I was serious. Six months later, I'm back again, which I'm sure is either to his joy or chagrine. No, I'm certain he didn't think much of it. He has countless patients.

So he walks into the room and I greet him with a "Greetings Dr. Young! How are you? Oh wait, is that against HIPAA, too?"

Finally! I saw him laugh! Please don't get me wrong, Dr. Young is a very kind man, but works at a level of professionalism that, while normal, I had yet to encounter at that age.

He is, in fact, such a kind man, and his office so welcoming, that I looked forward to my bi-annual appointments, or even the points when I noticed I needed a stronger prescription.

The day finally came that I needed an updated prescription again. I drove by myself to the appointment, laughingly observed a little boy, about 2 years old, run around the room in his Lightning McQueen crocs, red sweatpants, and red GAP sweater... it was 80 degrees out, but you do you. This boy, lovingly called "the screaming kid," had had his pupils dilated an hour before and was the talk of the office.

I lifetime had passed in minutes, from me wearing a 2T GAP sweatshirt, to sitting and watching the new generation while I hold my car keys in my hand.

And I realize that my perspective has changed entirely over my time at this practice. This deliriously happy child has no idea what's going on, and I feel like I know my surroundings all too well. This journey, a constant bickering battle with my eyesight has been occurring since I wasn't even aware of my own existence.

And I have Dr. Young to thank. Sir, if you ever see this, thank you for my sight. I can only hope and pray that my outlook on life is as well aligned as you've helped my sight to be physically. Thank you for being the most helpful and personable physician I have encountered, emulating Jesus, and for your kind words at my final appointment. I hope the screaming kid is as good and impertinent a patient as me.

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