I am most excited by the variety of general practice, never knowing who will walk through the door to my exam room next. It's so interesting to work with people of different ages, occupations, ethnicities, and interests—I learn new things from my patients every single day! On one of my favorite mornings, I examined a 93-year-old patient followed by a 3-year-old patient, both ends of the spectrum of life!
My goal with each patient is to give them my undivided attention and really hear what they are telling me about their vision and their life. We then work together to solve their visual problems and I point them in the right direction if they need care outside my scope of practice.
One of the more rewarding interactions recently was working with a very dear, longtime patient. I hadn't seen her in a couple of years, but when she came into the exam room she didn't look well and was feeling worse, and she couldn’t see out of her glasses! It didn't take me long to determine that she had serious diabetes.
When I explained the likely cause of all of her symptoms, she broke into tears because I had confirmed one of her biggest fears in life. We talked then, and several times afterward, about how the only thing worse than a diagnosis of diabetes was to have diabetes, not treat it, and risk missing out on all the fun with her grandchild. It took 3 months for my patient to get medication and stabilize, but today her diabetes is well-controlled, she has plenty of energy to play with her grandchild, and she is no longer afraid.
In addition to my passion for general practice, I have special training in the area of color vision. I spent four years doing research with one of the country's premier color vision researchers exploring the color vision changes that patients acquire due to eye disease or general health problems. Ironically, one of our sons has a color vision deficiency so color vision is especially interesting to me.
Outside of the office, my husband Dr. Bob Melrose and I actively support the Red Rhino Orphanage Project near Nairobi, Kenya. It was a thrill to travel there in 2016, play with the kids and make craft projects, and see firsthand how the children are thriving due to the collective effort of the local caregivers and Stocktonians who support the project.
Currently, I am serving a 5-year term on the Alumni Board and Dean's Review Committee at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. It is an opportunity to creatively influence the training of future optometrists. My presence on the board contributed to Brookside Optometric Group pioneering a private practice immersive experience for optometrists in training, designed to encourage interns to go into private practice.
Dr. Bob and I enjoy supporting our local teams, and for the past 6 years, I have been a "clipper" for the UOP Women's Basketball Team. Clippers are community members who clip and save newspaper articles about the athletes and send them to the players' families who live out of town. My families are usually based in Australia, which provides me with an opportunity to make new international friends.
While raising our twin sons, I served on School Site Councils throughout their school years. I also served on the Board for Little League and played various roles supporting their school and travel basketball and soccer teams.
My inspiration for my community involvement is discerning how I might help young people learn, grow, and have opportunities. Young people are our future, and my participation is payback for the many individuals who helped create opportunities and mentor me throughout my life.