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!

 

 

 

I love what I do.  Sometimes, it’s challenging, but it is always rewarding.  Most patients don’t really understand what it is I do, or my training.  I’d say 90% of the people out there don’t even know exactly what an ophthalmologist is!

So, here is summary – I am specialty trained in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus.  This means, I am an eye surgeon as well as an eye doctor.  After medical school, my husband and I both did internships and then proceeded on to our residencies in ophthalmology for 3 years where we learned how to perform eye surgery.  I then went on to finish a fellowship in Boston in pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus.  These two are linked together since children often have strabismus, or misaligned eyes (eyes that point in different directions) and the training covers how to address this condition in both kids and adults, as well as other childhood eye diseases – glaucoma, congenital cataracts, blocked tear ducts.  When I was on at Boston Children’s Hospital, I did more pediatric surgeries since there were several senior members of the department who who were expert in adult strabismus (which tends to be more complicated).  However, when I moved to Hawaii, my surgical practice shifted and I started doing more of the more difficult adult strabismus cases.  Both types of rewarding and below is a testimonial from an amazing patient who I had the privilege to meet when he was visiting Hawaii to take care of his sister.  He is a firefighter from NY and hearing his NY accent definitely made me miss the 8 years I spent there.  Crazy to think I’ve been living in Hawaii now almost as long as I lived in Manhattan!

Anyway, here’s a before/after picture of Ed:

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Before strabismus surgery

 

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After strabismus surgery

 

One thing to note is that the procedure is NOT cosmetic surgery.  It is covered by health insurance because it causes double vision in adults or poor vision in children.  Even people who are blind in one eye and it’s wandering out – it is still covered under insurance.  I’m so surprised when patients come to me and say “Doc, I’ve been going to an eye doctor for 30 years and they said nothing could be done for this”  or “My eye doctor told me that medical insurance won’t pay for this surgery”  If you take away one thing from this post, please let it be that strabismus surgery is not a cosmetic procedure and is covered!

Forgive the editing of the video below – it was my first attempt at using iMovie.  And, the music that I dubbed in is actually Jeff, my husband, playing slack key guitar (he’s self-taught, very amazing!)

Strabismus surgery involves tightening or weakening the eye muscles to better align the eyes.  I did the adjustable suture form of strabismus surgery for him.  I do that for all of my adult patients.  Basically, it allows me to fine tune the surgery after the patient has woken up from the general anesthesia.  I can actually pull on long stitches connected to the eye muscle when the patient is awake and adjust the surgery further.  Since pa.  Strabismus surgery is a whole another post that I will get to next week, with some cool pictures!

It was a real honor and privilege that Ed trusted me enough to perform surgery on him when he was out here visiting Hawaii.  I truly enjoyed working with him and I’m so glad he finally had the surgery done.

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