It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.
I finally finished another week of Orlando Health trauma call last Friday. I’ve taken a lot of call over the years. I think of it as the “jury duty” of ophthalmology–I try to do it for a few weeks per year to help shoulder the city’s burden. I feel it’s my civic responsibility…plus I used to be the Ophthalmology Department Chair a few years ago, so it is something near and dear to me. It’s busier than you’d think–you’d be surprised how many eye emergencies show up in the ED. This past week there were two ruptured globes–eye injuries so severe they were cut open during the initial injury (a car accident and a twig to the eye, respectively). It’s always a unique experience, because you are catching people at their most vulnerable. It is a tremendous responsibility to take care of these patients in their hour of most urgent need, and I am grateful for the opportunity to hopefully help save the eye and restore vision. You never know how bad the injury will be until the operation begins so there is a good bit of improvising.
The things that hit me the hardest are when I have to see child abuse cases. As a father myself, it upsets me to see children mistreated in such a fashion. Many of them are less than a year old. My role is to look for retinal hemorrhages in both eyes. Hemorrhages, in conjunction with other findings, could indicate that the child is being shaken vigorously. Thankfully, most times I look, it is negative. But when it is positive, it’s an emotionally draining experience. I have to remind myself that this is the exception, and not the norm.
Needless to say, I was glad to have a free weekend come around. The missus and I went to the Jazz’n Blues Concert at Leu Gardens on Saturday night. It was a great experience! We ate crackers with assorted cheeses and meats with some red wine and listened to “The Betty Fox Band.” She had an incredible voice, by the way. It was incredibly relaxing and judging from the vast amounts of people there, it’s a popular annual attraction. We’ll definitely be going next year. You know what they say, “work hard, play hard!”
It’s that time of year again–no, not Halloween (that’s the topic of a different blog).
Flu season! I’ve had the flu before, in college actually. Bombed a math test while having a fever, then got hospitalized for a few days afterwards. I vowed never to go through that again, so I’ve been pretty faithful about getting my vaccines. Every year we offer the vaccine to our OEI staff because the statistics are pretty staggering. Over 80,000 people died from the flu last year, and over 900,000 were hospitalized. Sure, there’s no guarantee it’ll be 100% effective, but I’d just as soon take my chances. You know what they say –“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I decided to go to Publix to get my vaccine. It’s near the office and I can always try to score a free cookie from the bakery afterwards (just kidding). As I was waiting patiently for my turn, I decided to roll up my sleeve so I could leave my deltoid muscle ready for the shot. Much to my horror, I realized that I had decided to wear a trendy, tight-fitting dress shirt. Once I hit the elbow, there was no way it was going to roll up any further–it was acting like a tourniquet! I don’t work out so it must have been the shirt. So I had to unbutton my shirt and put my arm through the front. It was…incredibly awkward. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you! Make sure you wear loose fitting clothing and short sleeves when you are getting your flu shot! Trust me on this one.
This was also an important week because it was OEI’s 8-year anniversary! I can’t believe we’ve been around for eight years…I don’t know where the time has gone. I’m extremely grateful to our patients and referring providers for all our success. I’m also especially indebted to my wife, Dr. Parbhu, for all of her help. We couldn’t have done it without ya! I’d like to get the office a present in commemoration but I wasn’t sure what to get. A quick internet search reveals that the classic 8th anniversary gift is made of copper. I’ll have to keep this in mind moving forward.
Till next time, Cu2+ later! (get it? that’s elemental sign for copper…oh nevermind)
Well, now I’ve gone and done it.
I’ve decided to write a blog.
Yes, I know I’m probably a decade or two behind, but hey, better late than never! After much thought, I’ve decided that I’ll use this platform to talk about frequently asked questions and interesting topics that come up on a daily basis. Hopefully, over time, any readers will have a better feel of who I am as a person. There are many things we can figure out online–what insurances we take, my education, ratings etc. But that never gives an idea of who your doctor is on a personal level. Perhaps this will be my way to change that.
“Why did you go into ophthalmology?” I get asked that a lot. There are a number of reasons actually. First, my parents are doctors (surprising as an Indian, right?!) so that was always a field I was interested in. Second, I LOVE technology–always have and ophthalmology is loaded with it! Last but not least, when I was young I used to go to the ophthalmologist for a few reasons. I have eyes of two different colors (heterochromia) and I was watched closely to make sure my iris freckle (nevus) was not a melanoma. It wasn’t (whew!), so I was able to avoid the eye doctor for a time. I then began getting nearsighted. I hated wearing glasses in school. They were ugly and I felt embarrassed to wear them. Unfortunately, school was difficult because I just couldn’t see. I was eventually fit in contact lenses and that helped tremendously! Still, I hated my annual eye exams much like people fear going to the dentist. Every year, my prescription would get worse and worse and there was no end in sight. Was I going to end up -30.00 D or something!? Was I going to be functionally blind? Short answer–no and no. My prescription stabilized to -6.00 and after medical school, I got LASIK done. It was wonderful–I could see everything so clearly! Even things I didn’t want to see, like how dirty my bathtub was–blech!
I will never forget what it was to be sitting in the patient’s chair. There is a lot of fear that comes with not having the knowledge that I presently have. That’s why I try to make it a point to explain a situation as clearly as possible to patients. That way, if they have some understanding of their condition and the comfort of having some plan in place, their fear may be lessened. After all, at any moment, I could be sitting in the patient’s chair again and I would want someone to do that for me.