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

11Nov/13Off

Academy Fight Song

photo 1 (11)

The end of daylight savings is my favorite holiday of sorts. As a natural night owl, every year I'm like a kid before Christmas, counting down the days until I can regain the extra hour and be able to feel naturally sleepy at a reasonable time. Despite what I said a few posts ago, I still struggle with sleep occasionally, especially after the weekend messes up my bedtime schedule.  And after what has been a exhausting, jet lagged week and a half of educational extravaganzas,  it couldn't have come at a better time.
265_578101862162_4380_nLast Wednesday my wife drove me to Logan Airport and I hopped a plane to Seattle for the four day American Academy of Optometry's annual meeting. Among other things, the meeting provides a venue for optometrists, residents and students to attend lectures, find out about new research projects and network with fellow ODs.  It was a very worthwhile trip for me, despite feeling somewhat lonely. This was my first long trip without my wife for the first time in several years.  It's a little alienating to be in a big city alone when you're reliant on a constant travel companion over the years.  I forgot how weird it is to eat at a restaurant or drink coffee in a cafe by yourself.

I have visited Seattle once before and seeing it for a second time, I feel like it is really one of the best
265_578101792302_71_ncities in North America to visit. Since my friend, Steph, is in Seattle for residency, I was able to hang out with her a bit and revisit some of the famous sites with some of our other friends from our class. Additionally, I got to share a hotel room with my friend and classmate, Nick, who is now a resident at Nova, along with his friend Christian, another Nova resident. It was cool to hear about their experiences in residency at sites that are administered by other schools. On Friday night, there was a NECO alumni reception which proved to be a mini-reunion of sorts, where I got to catch up with many familar faces, former classmates, upper classesmen and professors alike. It was great to feel the NECO sense of community that has been absent since graduation, 3,000 miles away
265_578101882122_5710_nMuch like when the Academy was in Boston two years ago, there were tons of varied educational programs, where I feel like I learned things that I can apply to my everyday practice. For example, I attended a great lecture about changes to the retina as a side effect from treatment for Hepatitis C (many of my patients are affected by this terrible disease) and how to co-manage these patients with their primary care doctor. I also really enjoyed attending scientific poster sessions as well. Though I opted not to do a poster for this year, many of my fellow residents had done posters, many based on a case, and turned out to be as informative and interesting as any lecture I attended.

I took a red eye home Saturday night, which was probably about half filled with optometrists, faculty and students from NECO. As is usually the case for me, I was unable to sleep at all and had a wasted day Sunday trying to stay awake. I failed, and my sleep pattern was completely thrown off.  The lack of regular sleep reverberated into the week as I struggled to readjust to the time difference and still preform my usual duties.  Nevertheless, the extra  learning opportunities continued into the week.

On Friday, the residents at NECO got to attend a special grand grounds event about anterior segment diseases held at Mass Eye and Ear Institute, run by their ophthalmology department and their own residents. It was awesome to hear about some of the challenging cases they see on a regular basis.  Saturday, all the NECO residents attended the quarterly residency conference which, as a change of pace, had lectures about the business side of optometry and how to approach finding jobs post-residency. It, too, was great and I plan on writing more about this in a future post.

So to summarize, thank god daylight savings ended. All this bonus lecture learning was a fantastic way to expand my knowledge separate from the usual patient care, despite how exhausting the last week was. The entire residency experience is greatly enhanced by these activities and in my mind has justified the residency in and of itself. These have been chances to learn that I couldn't have gotten any other way and I am grateful. Hopefully I will be able to integrate all this new knowledge into better care for my patients as I go forward into the second half of the residency year.

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