The Soft Toy Option

A few days after meeting identical twins Margaret Winstanley and Kath Hooley, (who were at the London Vision Clinic for their one month post- operative check up), I found myself in another Laser Eye Surgery clinic – 6,000 miles away – in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

I have already written about the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute and the amazing role their founder and surgeon, Dr Brian Boxer Wachler, had in winning a gold medal for the United States in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver; but first I would like to return to the delicious subject of chocolate.

All London Vision Clinic patients know the importance that Dr. Dan, Mr. Glenn Carp and the team place in the relaxing properties of chocolate for helping to calm nerves ahead of surgery – that and of course the magical hands of Nikke Ariffe as she gently eases away tension with her soothing head and neck massages.

As I checked out the Boxer Wachler clinic, I was somewhat surprised to see a soft toy beside the laser in the humidity controlled surgical suite. I asked why the toy boxer dog?

Obviously we all highly value our eye sight and it is perfectly normal to be nervous before undergoing Laser Eye Surgery. The Boxer Wachler Vision Institute uses the soft toy option to help relax its patients.

When it was noticed that some people nervously clasped their hands during the procedure – the soft toy idea was born. Almost by accident, it seemed that patients relaxed when given something comforting to hold and, bearing in mind the surgeon’s name, what could be more appropriate than a cuddly boxer puppy toy?

Now the clinic has a stock of boxer puppy toys (they are regularly recycled) which are available for cuddling and holding on to when required. I was told that the vast majority of patients apparently draw great comfort and reassurance from having something soothing and friendly to touch during their operations. And yes, even male patients are happy to give it a cuddle!

Back to 138 Harley Street and the reason why Margaret and Kath both refused their pre-surgery chocolate fix.

The twin sisters had given up chocolate and sugar for ten weeks as part of a worthy sponsored venture to raise money to buy DVD players for the Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield. These will be available for patients undergoing chemotherapy sessions.

Fortunately they could still enjoy Nikke’s head and shoulder massage and – instead of chocolate – a nutritious natural nut and raisin bar.