Editor Letter: Seeing Is Believing
The goodness of doctors. Plus, happy holidays to all and to all a farewell after a rewarding run at The City's Magazine.
I’ll start this letter with some breaking news: This is my last column for Orlando magazine. It’s my 99th issue as editor (who could have planned that almost-but-not-quite number?). But there’s no dramatic backstory to my departure: I’ve simply decided to retire after 42 years in journalism and try to enjoy some carefree moments, albeit in the time of coronavirus. Wish me luck.
It’s fitting that I should conclude my editing career at The City’s Magazine with the Finest Doctors issue, featuring more than 800 physicians recommended by their peers as tops in the Orlando area. This is my 12th such issue, and it’s always been a huge undertaking, fact-checking information for all the physicians on the lists, as well as gathering the moving Memorable Moment accounts from selected doctors. But I’ve always considered it an honor to have a hand in recognizing those who help keep us healthy, particularly in these perilous times, or have healed us in years past. In my case, the fact that I’m even able to see the screen and type this last column is because of a doctor who saved my eyesight 13 years ago.
It was a fall afternoon and I was playing outside with my son when I suddenly noticed that straight lines looked wavy. That evening, a black shadow began to descend horizontally over my field of vision. I had read about that “curtain,’’ a classic sign of a detached retina, and knew that time was of the essence in repairing it to stave off blindness. My ophthalmologist referred me to the Florida Retina Institute in Lake Mary, and when I arrived early the next morning, a Saturday, Dr. Thomas Barnard and his assistant were there ready to begin their vision-saving work.
It turned out that I had a detached retina in one eye and a torn one in the other. I was never certain what caused it, although, perhaps coincidentally, I had undergone cataract/lens replacement surgery during the past year. Dr. Barnard repaired the torn retina with a laser in the office, then operated on the detached retina the following Monday at a hospital. I recovered well and today have excellent vision, to the point where all I need are reading glasses.
And that, quite frankly, is amazing—in particular that I can look up on a starry night and see the constellations clearly. Just as amazing is the skill, patience and compassion that Dr. Barnard (who is on our Premier Doctors list) and untold numbers like him—along with their support staff of nurses, technicians, office staff and others—demonstrate every day as they keep us strong. I can’t thank him enough.
Which reminds me that I need to wrap things up—by thanking you, the readers, for giving me the privilege of bringing you the stories of our community over the past 12 years I’ve been at the magazine (nearly nine of those as editor). My goal has always been to emphasize the positive, whether in profiles of people or guides to dining, entertainment or the arts. And I want to thank my colleagues on the magazine staff, as well as the many freelance writers, photographers and artists, all of whom give their all, day in and day out, to achieve excellence. To you, I say: I have seen the stars.