It's up nearly at the crack of dawn this winter morning; we start seeing patients early on Mondays. I am slowed down a bit today, scraping off some of the frozen dew on the car. When I get in about 8, the girls are already seeing the first arrivals -- checking the vision, etc.

By midmorning, it ocurs to me that I have seen three computer operators already today. It isn't that computers are dangerous to your health -- just that programming all day tends to make people think there is something wrong with their eyesight.

By afternoon, the tone changes. I see five patients in a row who are foreigners -- not at all unusual in this area. There's a Vietnamese girl with a minor eye infection which scared her mother half to death. There's an English couple -- he's here with the World Bank. I see a German businessman and, finally, a teacher from Brazil who is temporarily at one of our area universities.

In the mail, I receive galleys from the publisher for an upcoming article I have written on retinitis pigmentosa -- the blinding hereditary disease -- and a videotape from Network for Continuing Medical Education in New York, for whom I have done several ophthalmology educational programs this year for physicians. Both want their material screened and returned immediately.

After office hours, I have time for one Big Mac on the way to a friend's to view the tape. It looks strange seeing in sequence a bunch of scenes we shot out of sequence during the taping a few weeks ago. I muddle through the galleys at home. Kimberly is awake -- she's almost six months now -- and she can cheer anyone up. She and I play with some of her toys before both of us get too tired. Tuesday

This morning I'm off to the hospital first to treat some diabetic patients with the laser.

Two hours later, and ready for a breather that is not quite to be, along comes a patient with a retinal detachmet. These are almost always emergencies, and this elderly lady had had cataract surgery performed about five months ago. She was seeing quite well in that eye, but, all of a sudden, the day before yesterday, things got hazy again. Her doctor recognized the problem last evening and sent her in today. We prepare for an operation which will keep her in the hospital the rest of the week.

Prior to the surgery, now scheduled for this evening, I still have time to run over to the lab where we have scheduled a couple of hours of experiments in our ongoing laser research program. We've been working for over two years now on developing different useful ways to deliver laser energies to patients.

As usual, this experiment is useful, and it suggests another one to follow. On we go. After another fast food delight for "dinner," I am back at the hospital to do the retinal surgery. The patient has been readied, and we begin about 6:30 p.m. Fortunately for me, my Falls Church Lions Club regular meeting has been cancelled. I leave the hospital about 9:20, and by the time I reach home I know those journals on my desk will have to wait. Wednesday

Wednesdays are early days too. First to the hospital to check on my patient who has somewhat gotten over her anesthetic from the evening. We position her properly in her bed to help the indentation into the retina (created at surgery to reattach it). This creates an awkward position for a patient to endure for several days after retinal detachment surgery, but she is not complaining, fortunately.

Once in the office, I have a patient sent over from the emergency room with a supposed laceration of the cornea. Fortunately, when he arrives (he was hit in the eye with a wire at work this morning), he has an abrasion, and treatment is relatively simple.

This morning we have scheduled a number of patients I have operated on in the past several weeks. Generally these are brief visits. The only interruption this morning is a call from Jim, our patent attorney. He has docketed a reply to an office action from the Patent Office on one of our laser devices for the end of the month, and he wants to read two paragraphs to me for comment. I comment and he prepares our reply to the examiner.

Shortly after noon, I receive a call from Utah, from a newspaper reporter who wants to know how "birth control pills cause blindness." I had done a story on this a year or two aago. He has a middle-aged woman, with some apparently unusual retinal changes, and he wants to make the connection. As good a story as it sounds like to him, I can't help much over the phone.

During the afternoon, we see three patients from a nursing home. Wendy is already home when I get there. About 8, we're off to a party in Rockville, and then to another in Bethesda. This one is nice for a couple of reasons. For one, this party has no doctors -- a guaranteed respite from "shop talk."

Jack and Shelia, our hosts, are in international mineral transporation and banking, respectively. We find a number of people whom we reminisce with about some travels. Jack travels abroad all the time on business, but Wendy and I have been around the world a number of times, largely because of some opportunities I've had to lecture to ophthalmologists in several foreign countries. Thursday

We sleep until 10 today. I go to see my patient in the hospital. She seems to be doing well, and her detached retina is flattening. Back at home, Wendy prepares breakfast. I think this is the first meal we've had together this week. This is not unusual, I'm afraid Wendy spends most of her spare time today catching up on her monthly bookkeeping and progress notes for her patients; she is a private speech pathologist. We compare notes for today. I seem to have done nothing constructive. Friday

Kim is awake before I am today, and that wakes me up. In the office again, I see a little child who, unfortunately, has some significant changes in the retina from retrolental fibroplasia -- the eye disease of premature newborns. The retina in the one eye is very precarious, threatening to detach. We're watching it carefully.

I get a call this morning from an Arlingtonian who had heard my recent testimony at the county School Board, on behalf of our Chamber of Commerce's support for more career eduction. At lunch today, I am talking to a local women's club about eye diseases. I go to the hospital and after seeing my patient, I am ready for cataract surgery on another patient.

This is relatively short, less than an hour from start to finish. At 5:30, I am due out on the tennis court. I get a few more services in than unual, but erratic play shows up elsewhere in my game. At home, finally we get Kim to bed. Tonight, I have a chance to sit and talk with Wendy -- a luxury. Saturday

Early this morning, I see both postoperative patients. Both seem to be doing well and they are scheduled for discharge tomorrow morning. I'll see them next week in my ofice. In the office again, I see several people who are unable to come in during the week. I also see the patients who had the laser surgery Tuesday.

Wendy and I had planned to go to a couple of stores to shop this afternoon I generally hate this, but occasionally I succumb. I am reprieved, however, as Wendy is out catching up on some home visits on her patients today.

This evening we are off to Georgetown, first to see a college basketball game, and then to dinner with friends. We thoroughly enjoy ourselves, but admittedly, tonight we cannot entirely avoid the discussion of medicine. Sunday

Today is the second full day this week I am off. I read the Sunday paper and we have a couple of long distance calls this morning from relatives. Today is Kim's six-month birthday party, but she doesn't fully realize this. No children are invited, buy we do have a couple of adults come over and we all go out to Sunday brunch, one of our favorite meals.

Early in the evening I retire to some of those journals waiting patiently on my desk.