When orthopedics cannot mend the broken..

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Over the last six years, I have worked in orthopedic surgery and quite enjoy the experiences and skills acquired through my profession.

Why orthopedic surgery? My answer- Why not?

The most appealing part of my profession is that I am actively involved in fixing a problem. The outcomes after surgery, especially in the subspecialty of orthopedic trauma, is tangible.

A broken bone fixed.

An arthritic hip replaced.

Very often, I am a witness to that transformation.

I am a witness to a life transformed.

BUT, I know there are broken aspects of healthcare and our society that orthopedics cannot mend.

As the holiday season comes along, I like to ask patients if they are ready for the holiday season. In previous years, the answer has always been a resounding “yes, I have my tree up” or “I have most of my shopping done already”. However, this year has been different.

More recently, I hear “no!” or “I do not have any money this year for Christmas”. I would venture to say that about 10-15% of the patients I have seen recently in the outpatient clinic were not in the spirit of jingle bells and deck the halls.

Instead, they are concern about where their next meal will come from and how to find a small gift for their children. Even more so, they are unsure of their next job.

These are the issues of life. The real problems of society that I wish I can mend.

So what can we do for others during this holiday season?

My suggestion is simple and one that I am following.

Be mindful of others, realizing that they do not have the same means as you do. DO not be boastful, but rather kind and considerate.

If you have excess, find a local place to donate or a family to sponsor. I guarantee that the families you help will appreciate the love with the highest gratitude.

Our actions today will lead to a society with one less fracture.

Let us give each other support! Be each other’s crutch.

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Feeling Sad? How to cope with the winter blues.

If you live in the New York area as I do, then you are no stranger to the winter months and heavy snowfalls.

For many, the winter months can be extremely tough with earlier sunset, heavy snow, and the onset of seasonal affective disorder. Personally, I can relate to feeling slower in the winter months. I often rush home from work to cuddle up on the couch with chili and hot chocolate in hand.

Finding healthy ways to cope during the winter months is even more important during the lockdown season and current pandemic.

Staying home is our new normal. And understandably so!!

But what can we do to fill the void of socialization and lack of vibrancy that we all miss so much especially in the winter months;

  1. Allow yourself to feel sad about the changes around you. I think it is totally fine to see the difference in your environment and feel a sense of sadness. However, do not be consumed by sadness. Changes can be good.
  2. Make a plan with your friends, co-workers, or family member to get together virtually. I am now so proficient in making video-calls and connecting with family across the US and in Guyana
  3. Try Netflix Party. A group of co-workers and I watched TigerKing together during the lockdown and quite enjoyed it
  4. Pick up a new hobby. Here I am starting a blog. You can do the same!
  6. Get some exercise. Exercising aids in mood improvement and weight control. A simple exercise I recommend is dancing. Put your favorite song on and dance the entire song. Watch your mood improve.
  7. Set aside a time for meditation and mindfulness- whether it is a moment of silence, yoga, or prayer taking the time out to reflect and heal is crucial.

What other things have you found to be fun during the winter months and pandemic lockdown?

If you are completely overwhelmed by everything around you and feeling hopeless, please reach out to a family member, friend, or healthcare provider for further care and support. We are in this together.

Uncertainties of 2020 in this COVID-19 era

I had every intention that my first post would be lighthearted, fun, flirty, and easy. Typical of my personality. But if 2020 has taught us anything; it is the uncertainties that lie ahead of us and the unpredictability of our health and the health of those around us.

So here I am writing my first post from my “quarantine room” at home.

After finishing a long day of work in the outpatient clinic, I showered, ate dinner, and sat down to drink some hot chocolate and prepare for my usual nighttime Netflix binge. But my phone kept beeping. As I peered through the messages, I was alerted that I had a positive COVID-19 exposure.

I would love to tell you that I became fearful, but that was not the case. Instead, I knew, that possibly one day I would hear this very news. After all, we are in the year 2020. As a good friend of mine would say “I got twenty-twentied”. As if twenty-twenty is a verb. But it is true, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years for many of us. We have been pushed to our breaking points and yet here we are in the last month of this year.

I can sit here and type all the reasons I disliked 2020 and a very long list I would compile. Instead, I will share with you three reasons I feel blessed to be alive in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. It allowed me to slow down and really focus on my long-term goals with intention.
  2. I began to cherish the people around me even more- My friends, my family, and my colleagues. Every phone call, text, meme, reel was received with joy and love
  3. I became HOPEFUL. Hopeful that there will be a change; hopeful for new possibilities in medical science and hopeful that 2021 will be better.

What are you thankful for in 2020?