Meet Steve Crewson, retina surgery recovery coach
For seven years, Steve Crewson dreamed about the possibility taking his web development ‘side business’ to the next level.
In 2014, he finally took the plunge and left the security of his Canada Post job to work full-time in his own business. He had no idea that just four months later, he would be rushed into an operating room for emergency eye surgery.
“We were right in the middle of a bathroom renovation when Steve thought the black spot in his eye was from a splash back that jumped his safety goggles and lodged in his eye while rinsing a bucket,” writes Tracy Crewson, his wife, reflecting on their experience.
“After a trip to the ER where the doctor could not find anything, he was referred to an ophthalmologist. Fifteen hours later he was in surgery to repair a detached retina.”
While the vitrectomy surgery to reattach Steve’s retina went well, it was the post-recovery instructions that posed problems. As they were being discharged, a nurse warned them that it was critical to stay facedown for the entire 10-day recovery period to heal properly and prevent the need to do the surgery all over again.
To improve his chances of a successful recovery, the discharge nurse recommended they rent the necessary equipment to help him stay face down – but it wasn’t that easy. After searching and calling around, the only option they could find was a chair located 1.5 hours away by car.
Luckily, a friend helped them locate a narrow, hard, and slightly broken massage bed. Nonetheless, using the bed and adhering to the strict recovery protocol did the trick: Steve eventually made an excellent recovery.
A year later, the struggles they faced inspired Steve and Tracy to start Retina Recovery Inc. – a small business dedicated to providing rental equipment, encouragement, and support to those who have undergone surgery for a retinal detachment and macular hole repairs.
“We are there for people from start to finish,” says Steve, who is often called a coach by his clients. “We try to fill in the gaps and answer the questions they might have so they maximize their recovery time, so they maximize their eyesight recovery.”
Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Retina Recovery not only rents premium equipment that allows clients to adjust their head position to match specific recovery protocols, but they also deliver it and set it up properly. Their business’ website is chock full of helpful recovery tips from Steve as well as Tracy’s blog that shares their detached retina recovery journey.
Being in the ocular emergency business, Steve does feel like he is always on call, with staffing and schedules changing sometimes by the hour. However, knowing he’s helping people in their eye health journey is what keeps him motivated.
“It’s a privilege to come alongside and help people out,” says Steve. “I’m always encouraged when people share with me about the success of their eye surgery. It requires patience and perseverance.”
Inspired by David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, Steve practices daily and weekly habits to maximize his productivity. He is very diligent about keeping excellent records of receipts and other important paperwork and saves everything to Evernote for easy access at tax time.
Despite diligent work habits, the complexity of tax filings for his new rental equipment business in addition to his web development business created a lot of extra stress in those early years.
“I was struggling,” says Steve, about doing his own taxes in the beginning. “It was costing me hours and hours and hours. And I was always afraid I was going to make a mistake.”
After a chance meeting with a rep while attending a Camping in Ontario Annual General Meeting, Steve decided to outsource his personal and corporate tax accounting needs to FBC.
“Delegating my tax responsibilities has been life-giving,” he says. “I’m able to focus on my business, my renters and their needs, rather than be stressed and drained from trying to figure out the complexities of tax season.”
With a recent expansion of their service area, Retina Recovery has experienced some growth in their business. Monetary success, however, isn’t the primary goal for Steve – it’s really a means to an end.
“Success is having my family’s needs met through our business,” he explains, “And in-turn, increasing our family’s ability to give and meet the needs we see around us.”
Charitable giving is a core value for the Crewsons and as such they raise money for organizations like Medical Ministry International – a charity that helps with critical vision care needs in countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, India, and Ghana.
Whether it’s through their professional work or their fundraising, Steve and Tracy continue to meet the needs of people facing potential blindness in Canada and around the world.
*Please note, the mentions of web-based products and charities do not constitute an official endorsement from FBC. FBC does not receive any type of monetary payment when you click on these links.