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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  Here’s one of our Christmas photos from this year.

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As I prepare to return to work tomorrow, I am trying to institute some change for myself for 2017.  I don’t want to call them resolutions exactly, because it’s not a goal that I’ll achieve and be done with.  Instead, it’ll be an ever-changing process as I evaluate what works for our family and what doesn’t.

My 7 year old son (oldest) wrote this letter to Santa.

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It created all sorts of working Mom guilt.  Does he realize how stressed I am trying to juggle everything is making me?  Was my frantic pace to juggle it all – work, family and friends affecting him?  Should I stop working?  It gives me so much meaning to be a physician, but is it detrimental to my kids?

When I want some special time with him, I’ll take him out for boba tea.  It’s a treat and it encourages one on one time.  Our younger two kids (ages 5 and 3) are so fiesty, that some times my oldest does not get as much attention since he doesn’t demand it in the way the other two do.  Anyone with kids probably knows what I’m talking about.

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So, I asked this sweet boy, pictured above, “Do you want Mommy not to work?”  He thought about it long and hard.  And, he said “I like that you work because you help people.  But, I like when you don’t work too, because you pick me up from school and I get to spend time with you and I love you”.  Cue the water works.  I’m not really a very emotional person, but man, did I feel proud and touched by this little guy’s answer.

So, this year I endeavor to be more intentional in my time with the kids.  I’ve had this discussion with many of my friends who work part time – sometimes it’s the best of both worlds – home and work, and sometimes it’s the worst.  I feel guilty when I’m away from the office, but I also feel guilty when I’m away from the kids.  And  being out of the office, doesn’t mean I’m off duty.  Since I am the managing partner for the office, I feel the need to be ever available to my staff.  So, on my days “off” I’m still fielding at least 3-4 phone calls with the staff, writing blog posts, emailing  our accountant, HR provider, doing Quickbooks, etc.  So, there is a tendency real fast, for work to creep into all aspects of my “time off”.  I’m checking my phone when I’m with the kids on the playground, calling patients back when we are at the aquarium.  Part of this is the price for being able to work from home 2 days a week.  But,I am hoping for 2017 that I can find a better balance.  I may not be available to my children at all hours, but I want to make the time that I with them count.  Quality, not quantity.

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With that in mind, I am trying to create these intentional moments with my children.  Carving out time for just them and only them.  Right now, my oldest son and I are working on an art project for our master bedroom.  His art teacher at school told me she was very impressed with his painting skills and I have always loved art.  Obviously, growing up in a pretty traditional Indian household, academics was always prized above the creative arts, however, now that I have my own time, I thought this was something perfect I could share with my son.

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We are doing our own version of this painting we spotted on minted (but are too cheap to shell out $2K for).  Plus, the trips to Ben Franklin, the time it takes us to construct this piece together, is worth so much more.  And, in the end, I’ll have art in my house which is meaningful to me and something that my husband and I can agree upon (we have vastly differing art styles!).

For my baby girl, she is a girly girl who loves the water and is extremely fearless.

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Climbing too high for me.

Since my husband was an all-American water polo player in high school and college, I let him handle the swim excursions with her. But, she and I have our special time when I give her little manicures.  Some might think 3 years old is too young for nail polish (as my husband says) and I agree, but I have given in on this front.  I do only use these awesome VOC-free nail polishes that I found at Nordstrom.  She has quickly commandeered all of the bright pink shades.

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For my middle, he loves reading with me and getting massages (yeah, I know, I’m spoiling him for my future daughter-in-law, sorry!) and what he calls “date night” with me.

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Usually we just go to coffee bean and I’ll get him a strawberry milk and he tells me about his day.  It’s nice to have separate time with each child, when you have more than 2, some times I feel like I’ve spent the whole day with the kids, but have not been an active participant in their playing or their activities.  It’s all about running them to ballet, soccer, piano, etc.  So, I’m hopeful that creating some intentional moments with them will benefit all of us for 2017.  As my friend said “All moms have guilt”, whether you’re working full time, part time or SAHM.  But my mom (a child psychiatrist) once advised a friend of mine “The fact that you are having guilt about these things means you are a good Mom.  Bad Moms don’t even give these decisions a second thought.”

 

**All photographs courtesy of Daphne Hargrove Photography.  She is amazing!  She does family pics, birthday parties, senior portraits, and even boudoir photos**

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As a pediatric ophthalmologist, this question is one of the most common ones I get.   Parents bring their adorable baby in with huge, beautiful blue or green eyes and they themselves have brown eyes.  They want to know if the light colored eyes will “stay.”

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The part of the eye which gives it color is called the iris.  Melanocytes are cells which contain melanin, present in the iris.  The number of melanosomes doesn’t differ between people with different eye colors.  Individuals with brown eyes simply have more melanin in their melanosomes in the irises than individuals with blue eyes.

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My oldest son, with his big brown eyes.

We used to think that eye color was controlled by just one gene and blue eyes were recessive and brown eyes were dominant.  And, that 2 parents with blue eyes could only have a blue eyed baby.  But, that’s not quite true, though uncommon, a brown eyed kid can have 2 blue eyed parents. The inheritance of eye color is much more complicated than previously thought. There are actually 16 different genes responsible for eye color, but the main two sit next to each other on chromosome 15.  These 2 genes control the amount and quality of melanin produced.  When babies are born, the melanocytes do not produce very much melanin.  That’s why a large number of babies have light eyes.  Even my 3 kids have grayish/lighter eyes when they were born.

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My son when he was a couple weeks old, note the lightness of his eyes compared to the previous photo

With time, usually when babies are between 6 months-3 years,  the melanin production increases and then stabilizes.  The melanin in your iris is not affected the way the way the melanin in your skin is (otherwise, everyone’s eyes would become brown when they are in the sun for a prolonged period of time).  After age 3, very little change occurs in the color of eyes.

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My nephew, at six months old who has one lighter eye and one darker eye. Also note his lighter eyes, even though both his parents have brown eyes.

 

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My nephew, now 10 years old. Note how both of his eyes have darkened to a more hazel color.

There are many disorders which can cause a change in iris color later in life.  Some of these are vision threatening, conditions such as albinism, or  and if you notice any change in your child’s eye color past the age of 3, please see your ophthalmologist.

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This young boy was born with one brown eye and one green eye

There are many causes for heterochromia, some of which require urgent evaluation and management, such as possible tumors in the brain or chest (Horner’s syndrome), inflammation of the eye (Fuchs heterochromic iridocyclitis) or even a type of glaucoma.   Some glaucoma medications can also change hazel or green eyes to darken, as can Latisse, the eyelash growth medication (which is based on a glaucoma drop).  Tumors, nevus (moles) of the iris can cause a darkening of the iris, as can a foreign body, This article is an excellent summary of the many causes for different or changing eye colors.  If you notice a difference in color between the 2 eyes, called heterochromia, please also see your pediatric ophthalmologist.

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First, sorry, I’ve been MIA for a while.  I was on my nice posting schedule and I got hit with the flu back in April when I was attending our national pediatric ophthalmology conference in Vancouver.  It seems as if every time I attend a conference, I get sick – 2 years ago, I had to be ambulanced out of the conference because of what turned out to be kidney stones.  That was a little embarrassing.

Anyway, I don’t usually get sick and I’m pretty sure I had mono.  It was supposed to be a nice time to hang out with my friends from Boston Children’s Hospital, enjoy Vancouver and spend some child-free time with my husband.  Instead, I was in bed with high fevers and a box of tissue. And, though everyone keep telling us how lucky we were because it was so warm in Vancouver, let me tell, 50’s and 60’s does NOT feel warm to a girl who is used to Hawaii sun. Being a physician, of course, I couldn’t actually go get the mono test, but just relied on my skills of self-diagnosis.

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However, the conference was great. I really think it’s important that physicians in Hawaii attend the national conferences.  Jeff and I try to make it a point to do one or two a year.  We’re so isolated out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, that I truly think it’s worthwhile to make the trip to the mainland to stay cutting edge in terms of research and surgery.  And, to be honest, I don’t learn the most from the conferences themselves, but I actually learn the most when I’m with a group of senior peds ophthalmologist and I can get their take one of my difficult cases.  I’m not ashamed to ask someone’s advice who has more experience than I do!

Dr. Carolyn Wu on my left and Dr. Alexa Elliott on my right.  Two of my attending when I was a fellow.

Dr. Carolyn Wu on my left and Dr. Alexa Elliott on my right. Two of my attending when I was a fellow.

We had a dinner of all the fellowship alumni from Boston Children’s, which was terrific.  Two former alumni are Chairmen of Peds Ophtho Departments one at Childrens Hospital Philadelphia, and the other at D.C. Children’s, so I was really surrounded by the best and brightest in my field.

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The other neat thing was meeting former fellows who graduated after me.  At least 3 of them immediately recognized me and said “you’re the one with the blocked tear duct blog and video”.  That was kind of cool – though I wish in retrospect that I had taken more effort with filming it.  I am literally holding my iPhone in one hand as I perform the Crigler massage on my squirmy 4 month old son with the other!

Though I spent most of my time in bed at the hotel, recuperating, I did force myself to get out of bed to go biking around Stanley Park with Jeff and then I coughed for like 6 hours straight (it was worth it though). Vancouver is beautiful, I’m hoping the next time I visit, I’ll be in good health!

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So, mono set me back about a month. And, then I’ve literally been scrambling for the past 4 months to catch up.  But, I’m back now, and should resume my regularly scheduled posts.  I’m really aiming for once a week now so keep checking back!

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I’m definitely of the mind set that the more prepared you can make your child for doctor’s appointments, the better they turn out.  So, I thought I’d post about the details of what I do all day, in the hopes that maybe this will help calm the fears of our littlest patients.  I’ve had some parents tell me that they show their kids picture of my Honolulu magazine cover before the appointment and just that simple thing, makes my patients much more comfortable with me.

First up in an any eye exam is to check vision.  Vision should be checked with an actual eye chart for any kid over the age of 3.  Your pediatrician (or his/her nurse) should be doing this at the well child visit.  They may either use an old fashioned wall chart or any one of the number of new vision screeners out there that pediatricians are currently using. I’ve actually found that the Plus Optix screener that couple pediatricians use in the area is very accurate.  When your child comes into our office, we try to immediately escort them into our pediatric waiting room. IMG_6963This way they don’t have to feel antsy about sitting in a grown up chairs in an adult waiting room.  Here, they can play and read until they are called for their appointment.  Then, they are called into the exam room by one of technicians.  The child will sit in the chair (on a parent’s lap if necessary) and we will check vision. We have the children wear special glasses that have a hole on one side to check vision.  We have a pair which has the hole on the other side to check the other eye.Wong(Opt)Shoot42Older kids can check vision like adults, using the paddle.

Then we use a vision testing system which is a computer program.  It’s nice because we can isolate the chart to a single letter and can change the letters on any given line (for any of you guys who try to memorize the chart!).  It also has the advantage of having different types of tests to use based on the age of the kid.  This is why we can usually test any child older than 3 years of age.  Sometimes, we’ve even been able to do 2.5 year olds!

IMG_9161 And, if the kids are too young to know their letters, then we do these shapes or the HOTV letters.

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Some pediatricians still use the chart below to test kids who don’t know their letters.  They are called Allen symbols, but most pediatric ophthalmologists don’t like them because each picture is so unique in shape, that they’re easy to guess.

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Which kid now a days knows that that is a picture of a telephone? I had one patient call it a hot dog! I figured, close enough.

Then, we use special polarized glasses to do a test of 3D vision.

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“Grab the wings of the butterfly”

Then, if the child is older than 12 or 13 years old, I will refract them – that means checking to see if they need a glasses prescription.  That’s the whole “1 or 2 ” test.

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“What’s better – 1 or 2?”

If the kids are younger than 12 years old, then I don’t do this for them.  It’s tough enough for most adults to figure out which is clearer – 1 or 2.  For some reason, this simple question seems to provoke a lot of anxiety.  I check the glasses prescription for younger kids only after dilating their eyes.  Click here to read more about how I can figure out if babies need glasses.

If a child is old enough (at least 4 years old), I will try to examine the front part of the eye at the slit lamp biomicroscope. You’ve probably had this done if you’ve gone to the optometrist or ophthalmologist.  This basically gives me a closer look at the eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea, iris and lens.

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Then, on to the dilating drops.  This is probably what gives children the most anxiety.  I try to minimize this by combing all of the various drops into one spray bottle.  This way, the child doesn’t need to have 3 different drops (even though they may need 3 doses even of the spray).  And, the convenience of the spray is that I can apply it to the child’s eyelashes when their eyes are closed and if I really soak them, then whey they open their eyes, the drops get into their eyes.

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It’s actually quite rare for kids to scream and cry for the drops.  OK, maybe rare is an overstatement – my own oldest son cried when I put drops in his eyes to do his eye exam and that was me putting them in.  This is when the teachers at his preschool kept insisting that he needed glasses because he tilted his head to the side when watching TV or thinking.  And, they knew I was a pediatric ophthalmologist!  “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve checked my son”, I condescendingly thought.  However, add 2 more kids to the crazy mix of our life and I will abashedly admit that I’ve never checked their eyes.  So I guess it wasn’t totally out of the range of possibility that I could miss my kid’s need for glasses.  But, that’s a tangent.

Once the eyes are dilated, I use this crazy thing on my head, called the indirect ophthalmoscope to examine the inside of the eye.  For young kids, I use toys to distract them so I can get a good view inside.  For older kids, I have movies playing to hold their attention (best money I have ever spent when setting up my practice!)

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For the young kids, this is when I check the refraction.  I do this both with an automatic machine (pictured below) and then I double check everything by using a retinoscope as well.

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And, that’s about it.  Of course, they get to choose a toy from our treasure chest on their way out.  I have a lot of kids who don’t want to leave our office.  We have the nicest techs and they are just wonderful with children.  We try to make the experience as pleasant as possible!

FullSizeRenderAnd, no I don’t usually have a professional photographer following me around the clinic.  Almost all of these pictures were taken a freshman in college, right before he graduated from college.  His pics are amazing, for any local moms who want to use him when he comes home for summers and breaks.

 

 

 

The holiday season is always a super busy time in our house, but this year it has been even more so.  For Thanksgiving last week, we actually had both sides of our family in town, which was really wonderful, but a little chaotic!  My brother and his family, as well as my parents flew in from the mainland.  And, my husband has 3 older sisters – his oldest lives just down the street, but the other 2 live in the Bay Area.  They also flew in for the holiday.  My kids had such a blast with all their cousins.  Even Arya, who is only 2, was running around with everyone.  I thought it would be great to get family pics done since everyone was in one place.  But, since my brother was leaving Friday morning and Jeff’s side wasn’t getting in until late Wed night, that meant 2 separate photo shoots.  My husband was less than thrilled with this prospect, since he really doesn’t like posing for pictures, though he is always super glad that we did them after the fact.

So, on Wednesday, my good friend Daphne Hargrove, an amazingly talented photographer came over to shoot my side of the family.  I’ll start with our “after picture”.  Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did.  We just took the pics in our backyard and of course it rained.  Then my oldest son got stung by a bee on his foot.  Then, my middle son fell over backwards after standing on the chair we were using for the pics.  We bribed everyone with candy/chocolate which pretty much showed up in each picture.  I posted this on FB and everyone wanted me to use this as our Christmas card, so we did!

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But, despite all of that, we did get some cute ones of the kids.

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Arya with her cousin, Kiran. She looks like she’s barely tolerating his sweet kiss.

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And then a group shot of Jeff’s side of the family.  I’m so short and everyone in his family is so nice and tall, so I had to wear really tall heels so that I wouldn’t look a foot shorter than everyone else.
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And then a fun one with Jeff’s side of the family.  I saw this idea on pinterest so I cut these signs last year and everyone wrote their names on it.

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a Pediatric Ophthalmologist/Working Mom/Administrator.

As a working Mom, I wear many hats, just as many of my colleagues do.  So, for today’s post, I decided to chart down what I did for a full day from the time I woke up to coming home.  People always ask me how I can manage working with 3 kids and it’s a juggling act.  We’re also super blessed with terrific babysitters who we can really depend upon when we have late days.

5:45 am: Arya is awake.  She likes to reach over from her crib and turn the light on and then calls to us “Mommeeee, Daddeeee”.  Her brother, Taj, who is a very light sleeper, will wake up then and run into her room “I’m coming Arya!”.  It’s very sweet.

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Then, get ready, make my bed (I read somewhere it’s part of starting the day right).  Man, I need some coffee.  I look longingly at my Nespresso.

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Since it’s a surgery day, I don’t drink caffeine, just to make sure I don’t have any jitters when operating.  But, I miss the routine of my coffee.  Gotta remember to buy some decaf pods.  Help get the kids ready for school, etc.  Show the nanny where the stuff for dinner is, so she can prepare it (tacos for kids tonight)

6:45 am: Leave the house.  

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Jeff usually drives and I take care of admin emails.  It gives me time to eat my yogurt.  It’s nice having a chauffeur !

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My chauffeur, Jeff, does not like being photographed.

 

7:05 am: Drop Jeff off at the office and I drive over to the Eye Surgery Center.

7:15 am:  Arrive at Eye Surgery Center, greeted by friendly smiling nurses.  I love this place.

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One of the pre-op nurses at the Surgical Center.

 

7:20 am: Say hello to my patient, mark above his eye with a large S (don’t want to operate on the wrong eye! – don’t worry, I always print a large photo of the patient and place it on the wall in the operating room to remind which muscles I am operating upon), and sign the necessary paperwork.

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Change into my scrubs  and head into the operating room.

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My scrub nurse, Jackie, enjoys 80’s Pop music in the OR just like I do!

 

8:45 am : Surgery is finished.  My second surgery canceled at the last minute, so there was no time to move up another patient.  So, now it’s coffee time! Yes!  I always go to Padovani’s.  It’s a cute little shop 2 doors down from the surgical center in Dole.  They have wonderful hand made gourmet chocolates, delicious cappuccinos and fresh muffins (my favorites are the pineapple and and mango)

Phillipe Padovani, owner and chef.

Phillipe Padovani, owner and chef.

Now, I usually wait about 45 minutes to an hour for the patient to be awake enough to perform suture adjustment on him.  So, I grab my usual bench and get to finalizing some charts on our electronic medical record system, EMA.  Paper charts are still way faster than electronic charting, but at least I don’t have to carry 25 charts with me in my bag.  It’s all on the iPad.  I am WAY behind, as usual

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9:45am-10: Perform suture adjustment.  I’ll do a separate post on this next month, but this is basically when I can fine tune the eye muscle surgery to make sure the eye is aligned exactly where I want it to be post-operatively.  My surgical coordinator in the office, Ronnie, is my scrub assistant in the OR when I operate at Eye Surgery Center and she is fantastic.  A real joy to work alongside.  And, the patients adore her as well.  She assists me with the suture adjustment as well.  I am lucky to have her as part of our team!

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Ronnie, surgical coordinator, scrub assistant and all around awesome girl!

I change and drive Ronnie and I back to the office.

10:30-12 pm.  All the fun, sexy stuff that goes into being a physician and administrator (that’s sarcasm, in case you can’t read into that).  Finish my charting, sign all the paperwork for the company 401K, talk to our financial adviser at Morgan Stanley about the conversion from Nationwide to Mass Mutual, decide upon profit sharing contributions.  Fun, fun, fun!

12-12:45 pm: Reconcile bank statement for July.  Try to locate a missing payroll report from that time period. Did I mention how much fun this stuff is?  Oops – forgot to bring leftovers from dinner to eat.  Thank goodness, one of my staff, Brandi, was kind enough to grab food for me so I can eat while at my desk.  I have the best staff.  But, quickbooks is still not working and syncing with my bank, even after spending 1 hour 38 minutes with them on the phone on my day off.  I’m not in a good mood.

Yes, this is my desk - 2 monitors, an iPad and tons of bank statements.  With a spicy poke!

Yes, this is my desk – 2 monitors, an iPad and tons of bank statements. With a spicy poke!

I’m a very neat person, but my desk at the office is always cluttered.  I think I’m just mid-project all the time.  I remember when they were filming the Hawaii National Bank commercial and they wanted to shoot an action shot of me working at my desk.  I started cleaning my desk and they said “No, no, keep it.  It’s more authentic”.  OK, so now, it’s out there, I have a messy desk.

12:45: First patient is ready for me to see. Steady stream of patients until 3:45.

3:45 pm: My gorgeous girlfriend, Amelia, arrives for our cosmetic event we are having that, yikes, starts in 15 minutes!  We’re having a high tea party with stations for colored contact lenses, Botox, and hair/make-up by Amelia.  And, I have to help get everything set up pronto, though my office manager, Sara, has already done a ton.  I kind of fell into doing Botox about 7 years ago.  I was meeting with Thomas, the rep for Botox to ask about purchasing Botox for medical purposes (strabismus surgery) and he asked if I considered doing cosmetic Botox.  My training in cosmetic Botox was injecting my attendings with the leftover  Botox that we had used for medical reasons (since it has to be thrown away anyway).  And, I do enjoy it – I don’t ever want to be a primary cosmetic surgeon, but it does help people feel happier with how they look.  Most of my patients, are moms of the kids I examine for their eyes!

4-6 pm: Cosmetic event.  It’s a great turnout and all of the guests have a blast.

 

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My friend, Amelia, performing a mini-makeover. Who wouldn’t want to look like this girl?

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Our optician, Joel, doubles as a personal butler.

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Dr. Bossert explains the technology behind the new colored contact lenses

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My friend and I, with our hair styled by Amelia.

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6:10 pm:  Yowser, I was supposed to leave 10 minutes ago for my son’s 1st grade orientation, which got rescheduled at the last minute.  I stuff some sandwiches on a plate and eat while I drive.

6:30-7:10: 1st Grade Orientation.  I’m an hour late.  It started at 5:30, but at least my husband made it there on time.  The kids each drew a picture for us.  Here’s my son’s.

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“Do not feel bad if you come late ”  Uggh.  The guilt of being a working Mom!

7:30 pm: Back at home.  My oldest and youngest are asleep.  But, my middle child takes forever to fall asleep.  He comes out when we get home and asks for a massage.  He’s such a high energy boy, so I started doing nightly massages with essential oil to help calm him down.  Now, he expects it and chooses his scent.  Sorry, future daughter-in-law!

8:00 pm: All kids asleep! I settle in on the couch to do some Netflix binge watching while I do, what else?, finish charts!

 

 

 

As many of you know, I have 3 children.

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We found out we were pregnant with my oldest son the first weekend we moved to Honolulu.  We had just taken over Honolulu Eye Clinic, and out of nowhere, I came up with the idea to have a nursery in our office.  My husband thought I was crazy, but I figured, we are the owners, we can do what we want!  And, I also predicted (correctly, as it turns out), that Hawaii is so family centric, so focused on ohana, that I didn’t think patients would mind.  Plus, since I am a pediatric ophthalmologist, there were going to be kids crying from dilating drops anyway, what’s one more kid?

At the back end of the office, there was this room which Dr. Edwards was just using as a storage space.  I told Jeff I thought this would be the perfect nursery.  He didn’t have the vision I did and had a hard time imagining it.  He said “We’re going to put our first born in a storage closet?”.

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It was definitely a bit of a mess.  The 2 nice things about the space was that it was pretty large and that it was right across the hall from the pediatric waiting room. (which we stayed up until midnight before our first day putting together).

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Pediatric waiting room at Honolulu Eye Clinic

 

So, after craig’s listing everything in the room and reorganizing it all, we had a blank slate.  The room is actually bigger than the nursery we have at home. I kept everything pretty simple.  Just some paint on the walls and I found a comfy chair to nurse in off of craig’s list.  I was given a second hand pack and play which fit better in the room than a crib.  Then off to Target for a couple rugs and a changing table.

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Hard to believe it’s the same room ,right? I made some green curtains from fabric from Walmart to hide all the storage we still needed to keep in the room.DSC_0178I cut the top off cardboard letters and filled them with fake flowers from Ben Franklin.

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Lots of books from garage sales! You can never have too many books

It was so wonderful to have my kids close by when I was nursing.  It really helped me go back to work sooner, because I wasn’t worried about who was watching my children.  We were so blessed to find a wonderful nanny, Gabi.  And, I just scheduled a block in my schedule mid-morning and mid-afternoon to breastfeed.  It was ideal.  I never had to pump or worry about not producing enough milk.  Though the downside was that none of my 3 kids ever learned to take a bottle, they were very spoiled!  Our nanny would take the kids for walks, and when they were older to activities like Wee Play, Ohana Music Together, Children’s Discover Center, Aquarium, Hawaii State Library, Honolulu Zoo.  Queen’s is so well centered, that a lot of things were walking distance.  So, as the babies got older, they weren’t actually in the office nursery for that long, but they would come back for lunch and nap, and just seeing them at those times was wonderful too.  Gabi moved to the mainland when Nikhil was a little over a year old, and we were blessed again with another amazing nanny, Shawna.  She truly loved our kids as if they were her own.

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The other plus side of having a nursery in our office was that my children grew up with the wonderful girls we have on staff.  They call them their “Clinic Aunties”.  Again, another reason they could have been a little spoiled.  My kids love coming to the office because not only do they see us, but they adore seeing their aunties too!

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And, that’s what is truly wonderful about Hawaii – my patients loved seeing my kids, they wanted to see the nursery and be updated on how they were doing.  I have one patient who even made her appointment times with me around my baby’s nap schedule so she could see him!

My youngest child juststarted preschool last week – hard to believe!  So we will no longer need the nursery in the office and the plan is to turn it into an exam room next month.  I know, kids growing up is all a part of life, but clearing out this nursery definitely tugs at my heart strings.  And, no, we’re are 100% not having any more children!

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And for any other DIYers out there, here are some pics of our nursery at home.  It’s the same room, just decorated differently.  For Taj’s nursery below, my mom made the crochet airplane mobile with sewed in musical buttons.  I painted the canvas with Taj’s name in Tamil and his Chinese name as well.

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Taj’s cultural/travel themed nursery.

When we had Arya, we moved Taj to another room and I really DIY’ed everything from the crib bedding (thanks Mom!), to the felt mermaid crib mobile (made that while sitting in the doctor’s office during my pregnancy), hand stenciled curtains for Arya’s room with a coral paisley (absolutely never again – want to get back pain? then hand stencil curtains when you’re 36 weeks pregnant and then sew them with black out liner), paint stick mirror, gallery wall from old frames that I got for free from Pictures Plus and spray painted gold.  For some reason, I really love designing and decorating kids spaces.  I think they’re just so much fun and are meant to be creative spaces for your little one to grow.  It’s my stress relief from work!

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Arya’s gold glam mermaid nursery

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I haven’t been blogging lately because we are doing a website overhaul and I didn’t want to keep adding too much content for the company to have to pull over to our new site.  For the new website, I wanted to add some additional photographs of our patients and staff.  I always feel like it’s much easier for someone to take that jump into having cataract or strabismus surgery if they can actually see pictures of patients who have the same procedures.

Through my friend, I found a great high school senior who is in the Photography club.  He has been taking pictures of my kids for the past year and I thought it would be great to hire him to do shots for our website.  He’s great – extremely reliable, easy to work with and turns the pictures around in 3 days.

Here’s a sneak peak.

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Our optician, Joel, performing pupil measurements on a patient.

This is our newest licensed optician, Joel Babb.  He’s a wonderfully experienced optician who is skilled at matching the exact lens type to fit the patient’s lifestyle.  He is also extremely personable and filled with aloha spirit.  We are really lucky to have found him.  He joins our stellar optical team of Rachel Rolison and Kristel Rabago, who have been doing an awesome job helping our patients.

We have 3 full time opticians and all are uniquely trained to assist with fitting glasses for kids.  Our selection of glasses is also one of the largest for kids.  We carry Roxy, Hello Kitty, Adidas, Disney, Flexon, Liberty sports goggles and Miraflex to name a few. We have kids as young as 10 months old in glasses.

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Our optician, Rachel, marking the pupils to make new glasses for a pediatric patient.

Here’s Dr. Bossert teaching a patient how to insert and remove contact lenses.  Our contact lens technicians are also specially educated at providing one on one contact lens training sessions for all patients – from pre-teens getting their first pair of contacts to adults who previously thought they could never wear bifocal contacts. With the range of different types of contact lenses now available, we can fit even the most complicated patients. Our staff review correct wearing schedules, proper lens hygiene, insertion and removal techniques, and contact lens care systems with every patient, making it the ideal place for patients new to contact lenses. We fit spherical, toric, multifocal, scleral, and rigid gas permeable lenses, to name just a few.

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We have an awesome surgical counselor, Ronnie who makes herself available to patients 24-7.  She answers emails, texts, and phone calls at all hours.  She obsesses constantly to make sure everything is complete and finalized for every patient.  And, she is able to reassure patients as they navigate the entire surgical process from booking the initial consultation to the post-operative visits.  In addition, she is also my assistant in the operating room for strabismus patients.  Patients love seeing a familiar face in the operating room.  Here she is reviewing an upcoming surgery with a patient.

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Of course, I do exams on children and most of them are so interested in every aspect of the exam.  They love getting examined at the slit lamp.  Often times, my pediatric patients can hold more still than my adult patients!

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Here’s our staff hard at work.  We’ve transitioned to a new Ipad based electronic medical record, from Modernizing Medicine, so you’ll often see us on both the tablet and PC.  It’s a really new system.  I believe I am the first private practice pediatric ophthalmologist to use it, and Dr. Bossert is one of the first optometrists to use it, so we’re helping them work out the kinks.

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And, finally, Aubrey, our front desk receptionist, getting some make-up done before her close-up.  Look for her beautiful smiling face when you come in for your next appointment.

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Keep checking our website for the new updates!

 
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I know it’s been a while since I posted on the blog – the holidays were wonderful, hectic and crazy.  I did my usually DIY projects around the house to decorate and bring in the Christmas cheer.

I made these stockings last year, they took forever because though I’m a patient sewer when I am sewing eye muscles, I am a bit a impatient when sewing fabric!

 

I tried to take a little more time off this year to spend with the kids when they were home on break.

Taj at his Christmas show

Nikhil singing Christmas carols around his elementary school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We worked on little projects together, such as making “Reindeer Chow” together to give my middle’s son’s preschool classmates.  Got the idea from this blog.

Making 20 of something is always more time consuming  than I expect it to be.   I thought making it in bulk would be easier, but the packaging took up time.  And, yes I know – are these 3 year olds really reading these labels?  Probably not.  Am I doing this for myself? Possibly.  But, I’m sure any Moms out there understand – there is this pressure to keep raising the bar with these kind of things and not in a good way.  But, I will say, the reindeer chow was darn tasty and even though I was trying to be low carb, I convinced myself this somehow fulfilled that criteria!

My older son is in kindergarten and the room moms asked for locally made presents for his two teachers.  I am ADDICTED to the Magnolia Mom blog and they had this great tutorial on making gingerbread cookie Christmas ornaments.  I actually found this modeling clay at Ben Franklin that was non-toxic so my son could help roll out the dough and cut out the shapes.

And the finished product.

We spent so much wonderful time with my in-laws family.  My husband has 3 older sisters – one of them lives just six houses down from us, but the other 2 live in California.  They traveled to Hawaii for their annual vacation.  That means 9 adults and 10 children!  We found this great high school senior who is an awesome photographer.  We’ve been hiring him lately to take our family photos.  Check out his website here.  I saw the idea for the signs on pinterest and though I was for about half a second contemplating buying wood, sanding, staining and then painting with chalkboard paint to make the signs as in the original idea, better sense actually prevailed for once and I went with simple posterboard and a chalkboard pen.

The entire Wong side of the family

 

We did a lot of things that I’ve just never had the time to do here in Hawaii, even though I’ve lived here for over 6 years!  When we first moved to Hawaii, we were so overwhelmed with getting on insurance plans, learning how to manage a practice, build our patient base that we never had much of a chance for me to truly explore Hawaii.  My husband grew up here and his family has been here for generations, but I am an East Coast girl and hadn’t even been to Hawaii before we got engaged here!  So, it was wonderful to take the time to do these things with our family.

Hking Diamond Head with the kids

Koko Head Stairs with my in-laws on New Year's Day (my first time!)

I think that was the most important lesson from this past holiday season – even though I’m busy with work, I really think it’s about creating intentional time and moments with your kids.  Quality, not just quantity, right?

And, then last week, we went to Maui for the annual Hawaiian Eye Meeting.  The meeting conferences were from 6:30-1pm, so it left plenty of time to hit the pool and hang out with the kids.  So, we decided to take the children with us.  Here are we are the beautiful resort – look closely because this was the last 5 minutes that all kids were healthy.

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Yup, that’s right – the flu that’s been going around Oahu hit all of the children.  The first 3 days of the conference, our oldest son had it, then the baby for the next 2 days and then the middle child for the last 2 days.  They weren’t even sick at the same time.  And, if you can imagine – 5 of us crammed into one hotel room, cleaning up vomit off the beds, floor, etc.  Not exactly the vacation we were planning.  So, after this meeting we immediately decided to cancel our plan to attend another meeting in San Diego in April.  Just too hard.  I’m sure parents out there can relate – you come home from a vacation, needing a vacation from your vacation!  And, that was with just a 30 minute plane right.  As Arya gets older (she’s now 16 months old), it just gets tougher to travel!  But, when we moved out here, my husband knew we would need to do a lot of traveling to the mainland, since all of my family is there.  Before we were married, Jeff and I used to try to take one international trip a year.  We scrimped and saved as residents and fellows – lots of ramen, walking instead of paying the $1.50 to take the bus somewhere, you know all those things to save money .  My hope is that we will resume international traveling in the way of medical mission trips and I’d love to take the kids.  I think it’s so important for the children to see how life is in the developing world.  However, the thought of being outnumbered on a plane trip lasting over 15 hours with 3 kids scares my husband to death.  I think it’s just about adjusting expectations – you realize it won’t be pretty and it’s not the same as traveling without kids, but you’ll live through the plane ride and the end result will be to create memories that are amazing.  But, that was a bit of a tangent.

I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule with an ophtho post about strabismus surgery next week.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted – mainly because of the holidays.  Everything just snuck up on me this year.  I still don’t know where the time between Thanksgiving and now went!  Some of my patients might not know this, but I love decorating and entertaining.  I’m obsessed with pinterest (as is every woman in America) and I love searching through there to find ideas for everything.  So, I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing for the last month (instead of blogging).

I had a potluck the week before Thanksgiving.  I scoured pinterest and came up with a chalkboard/burlap theme.  I love entertaining, but with 3 kids, I have to keep things somewhat simple and I don’t like spending tons of money on decor. Here’s the invite I designed.

I usually go super overboard with decorations, but I kept it simple.  I bought black Kraft paper from Etsy and used chalk markers to label the dishes.  

I read on a blog that you should put the napkins and cutlery at the END of the buffet line because why make your guests pick it up in the beginning and have to balance it with their plates.  So simple, yet GENIUS!  I saw this cute way to assemble napkins/cutlery together in a clear bag on pinterest (of course) and had to do it.  I purchased the eco-friendly cutlery on amazon and the clear bags from Ben Franklin.

For the table, I just spray painted some mini pumpkins in blue and white and placed them in a bowl with some votives I bought on sale at Soha ($1.60 each!).  I was going for a coastal Thanksgiving theme.

To be eco-friendly, I placed chalkboard labels on mason jars for glasses for guests.

For the kids table, my 5 year old son helped decorate by writing “Give Thanks” on the black Kraft paper which we put on small tables I bought at Costco to serve as a tablecloth.  Easy and a fun thing to keep the kids occupied while waiting for food!

And last, a super simple banner that I made from burlap, blue card stock and  left over ribbon.

Lots of simple ideas for a rustic potluck for tho holidays!  Hope you can use some of them!

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