Chairs Missing by Joe, resident at the New England College of Optometry


Writing Myself into a Corner

I originally wrote this post about my friend Keri’s son, who has an inoperable brain tumor, which started as an optic glioma; I was in fact down to the proofreading phase. Keri had given the okay, and indeed she herself has kept a very well written blog about her experiences.  She even came in for our Pediatrics class and allowed students to examine him, and I wrote a term paper about his condition.  However, in the recent weeks, his condition has greatly worsened. I get to visit with him on a nearly weekly basis, and the changes have been disheartening.  His doctors have discontinued all chemotherapy treatment, and have turned to palliative and hospice-like care in the hope of at least relieving some pain. It is feared that even in the best case scenario, he may not have more than a few months left.  It is a very tragic situation, one that I do not wish to exploit for the purposes of this blog. Therefore I am unable to say anything further, other than to ask that whatever beliefs you may have, religious or non-religious, that you keep people such as him with inoperable brain tumors in your thoughts. Beyond that, if it’s possible for you to do more, please volunteer or donate to reputable pediatric cancer organizations such as the Jimmy Fund or the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  A sad way to start a blog post, but I needed to mention this nonetheless.

New rotations, new rules

Life seems to keep speeding forward, no matter what else is going on around me.  My current rotation, second out of four, is called Special Populations. Instead of being at just one clinical site, I’m at three different ones, each with its own type of specialization.  In a way, it’s almost like being a third year student again, in that I am a transient again.  Not being at any one place for more than two days in a row means I had to dig out my equipment bag and lug all my gear from site to site each week.  I have yet to master any one site’s paperwork system. And I have to drive to three different locations with three different wake up times. But the tradeoff is more than worth it, as I have been able to see a much wider variety of patients and exam types than I ever would at any one place. It’s been almost the exact opposite of the VA.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I see kids with a pediatric ophthalmologist. I have already helped manage the treatment of about 30 plus kids with amblyopia (aka a lazy eye).  On Thursday and Fridays, I am in specialty contact lenses, where I see patients with irregular shaped corneas, for whom glasses don't allow them to see as well as they will with a special hard lens. On Tuesdays, I am at Perkins School for the Blind, which is an entirely different animal, so much so that I want to save much of what I have to say for its own post.  Needless to say, the type of exam there is much different as we work as team to provide a functional assessment of the patients' visual needs rather than focus on discovering whatever illness they may have.  "We" being myself, my attending doctor, the resident doctor, and another 4th year intern, along with an orientation therapist and occasionally a third year student. We all work together at the same time, all in the room together.  It’s been quite eye opening and humbling, and I’m only 3 weeks in.

So much more to talk about, so much that next post, I’m not really sure what to pick from. Beside the stuff I mentioned above, there are many exciting events set to happen around the school in the next weeks, such as the NECOlympics.  Or the fact that I get to vicariously re-live life as a First Year; turns out my brother has moved to Boston and begun at NECO as a member of the newest class, the class of 2016.  On top of all this, I am on the verge of experiencing the Return of the Boards, parts 3 and 2! In three weeks, I’ll be flying to Charlotte to take Part 3, before I take Part 2. Should be interesting to say the least, so stay tuned!


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