ophthalmology-off-the-grid
Ophthalmology off the Grid
Episode 92

Comedic Relief From Dr. G

In this episode, cohosts Gary Wörtz, MD, and Blake Williamson, MD, MPH, are joined by ophthalmology's favorite comedian, Dr. Glaucomflecken. Dr. G talks about how comedy started as his creative outlet and led to him becoming the comedic voice of medicine on Twitter. He also shares how he has used humor to help him cope with personal adversity.

Speaker 1: Welcome to another episode of Ophthalmology off the Grid.

Today, Drs. Gary Wörtz and Blake Williamson are joined by ophthalmology’s favorite comedian, Dr. Glaucomflecken. What started as a creative outlet has led Dr. G to become the comedic voice of medicine on Twitter.

More of his story coming up, on Off the Grid.

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Gary Wörtz: I'm Dr. Gary Wörtz, and I'm so excited to be back doing a regular edition of Ophthalmology off the Grid again with my partner in crime, Dr. Blake Williamson. We're diving back into the real stories of ophthalmologists who are impacting our profession. We have some interesting stories we share, and tonight, I'm super-excited that we have a very special guest. Blake, why don't you take it away?

Blake Williamson, MD, MPH: The one and only Dr G. Anybody who is on Twitter and likes to follow different medical accounts, especially ophthalmology accounts, knows Dr. G. Usually, we're laughing along with his Tweets, and we're retweeting everything that he does. But, he had some real-life stuff happen just about 8 weeks ago, couple months ago. So, we thought that it'd be great to have him on to talk about those experiences, to talk about how he's doing now and what's going on in the immediate future, with COVID and everything else. So, Dr. G, thanks so much for coming on, man.

Dr. Glaucomflecken: Hey, Thanks for having me. And I just want to say, I'm feeling really self-conscious about my hair right now. I know a lot of people are listening, can't see our haircuts, but mine just pales in comparison to you two. I'm impressed.

Blake: I get cut every 3 weeks on a schedule. Thank you for noticing that. I do work hard at this.

Gary: Dr. G, the list is long and distinguished of folks who've said that, so don't feel bad.

Dr. G: OK. All right. Good.

Gary: Yeah, no problem. So, it's so funny, the first time I think I saw you on Twitter, because I have probably an overactive Twitter account for my relative interests in ophthalmology, but I was like, who is this guy? What in the world? I was just laughing out loud. I couldn't believe how you were able to connect your experiences in ophthalmology with the way ophthalmologists are perceived by the rest of medicine, which is hilarious. There's kind of an open lane, but I'm just curious, when did you decide that you were going to take this comedic approach to your professional development in ophthalmology? Like that is a lane that, we talked about earlier, is kind of open. When did you decide that was going to be the thing you wanted to brand yourself?

Dr. G: Well, I've been doing comedy on and off since high school. I started doing open mics in Houston, growing up, with a friend of mine, and it continued through college and into med school, actually. I never considered comedy as a career choice. I'm a little bit too risk averse for that. I gravitated more toward the sciences, but, I still had that itch that I needed to scratch.

I still had that comedy background, I love to make people laugh, I love telling jokes, and so, joining Twitter ended up being a way for me to have that creative outlet. And, it actually started in, I think, my second year of residency, at ARVO. I went to ARVO to give this...I don't even remember what my poster was about…

Gary: Well, let me stop you there. ARVO’s a real laugh a minute, if you've been…

Dr. G: Yeah, exactly. There's so much material there, right? It was by far, and no disrespect to the people that put on ARVO, it's a very well-run meeting, but my God, it was boring. It was like my first time to ARVO I was like, "Well, I know I'm never coming back to this meeting." So, at that point I was like, I'm here for like 3 days, I can't just go to these sessions, these talks and just not talk to anybody, and so I got on Twitter. Actually, a friend of mine, Steve Christianson, which I'm sure you guys know, he was on Twitter, and he was like, "Hey, you should join."

So, I got on it, started telling very specific jokes about CRISPR and basically some of the very entertaining topics that go on at ARVO to an audience of about five people. And then it just slowly, very slowly built up from there. But it did. It gave me that creative outlet. It was like, "Oh, people are actually seeing and reading my tweets and my jokes, and some people find them funny.” I got that little dopamine rush right at the beginning, and it just carried on.

Blake: That must've been a tremendous opportunity, whenever you were really young in high school, to be able to get up in front of an audience and do a set. Just to prepare you for interviews and med school and talking to patients, 40 patients a day that you don't know. That’s got to help tremendously in terms of social awareness and being able to connect with people or an audience or, in this case, patients.

Dr. G: Oh, it does. For sure. It was terrifying starting out. First time I went on stage, I wrote like 5 minutes of jokes. And my first joke, it was great, I had this huge laugh, and then the rest of that set just absolutely bombed. It was awful. And then, you just slowly get better at it from there. But it's such a great experience to put yourself out there. And just like you said, it certainly has helped me out in a lot of different things, just public speaking in general, and seeing patients is a form of that. You're having to talk and reach people where they're at and connect with them. So, absolutely.

Gary: I'm imagining, like what you said, that this is maybe like playing golf. That one great shot. You remember that great shot and all the bad ones you forget. You’re chasing after that one thing. I don't know if you play golf or not. I really don't because I only remember the bad shots. I'm the opposite, but I assume it's like that.

Dr. G: Well, it's kind of like that and that it's the exact opposite. I remember most of my failures a lot better than I remember my successes, but, with the exception of a few. I did a few comedy competitions over the years and did fairly well. I remember those, those were always fun. But, I don't know. Whenever things don't go well on stage, it's really not fun. It's like, I might rather break the posterior capsule than go on stage and bomb. They're very synonymous in a lot of ways.

Gary: Well, one of my saying about complications of cataract surgery is, there is no limit to how much the eye can punish you.

Dr. G: Oh yeah, it keeps you humble. Doesn't it?

Gary: And it sounds like there's no limit to how humiliated you can be on stage. Is that similar?

Dr. G: Oh yeah. It's terrifying whenever it's happening, just like bad things in the OR.

Gary: And you're trying, you're using your mind, you're trying to figure your way out, and everything you do keeps making it worse.

Dr. G: Your heart's beating like 200 times a minute. Oh, yeah.

Gary: You can't leave…

Dr. G: You're sweating…

The difference is, you got hot lights on you. You not sitting in a 60-degree OR.

Blake: I don't know what you guys are talking about. I never have these issues…

I have a question, man. So, a lot of us been watching Netflix while we're in quarantine, and there is some crazy, good Netflix standup documentaries recently. Like the one with Dave Chappelle and the one with Aziz—both of those guys had some controversial things happen recently.

It's kind of moved to this whole cerebral take on…I don't know if you have seen both of those, but it's just so different than the normal standup stuff. So, I'm just wondering if there's some good stuff on Netflix or these standup comics that, you'd recommend us take a look at on the streaming services.

Dr. G: Yeah, honestly, I haven't seen a lot lately. I'm a big fan of Jim Gaffigan. I love Jim Gaffigan, everything he does.

Gary: How about Sebastian? Have you seen Sebastian Maniscalco?

Dr. G: I haven't, no.

Gary: I've recently got…someone told me about Sebastian Maniscalco. The dude is hilarious. He's an Italian guy, and very classic, physical comedy. He's a very physical comedian, and just the stories he tells crack me up…

Dr. G: I’ll have to check it out.

Gary: I want to know…your life has not been all laughs. It's interesting. Nobody's life is all smiles and comedy. You've had some things, health-wise, even before recently, which we'll get into that, but, I think it's important that we frame this conversation that you're a cancer survivor.

You are someone who has been through a lot in your life. How have you dealt with those things? Has comedy been your therapy through these ordeals? Is it a way that you can deal with this stuff? Because, it's heavy stuff you've had to deal with.

Dr. G: It's absolutely the way I deal with some of the stuff. So, in my third year of med school, I diagnosed myself, basically, with testicular cancer. So, I woke up and felt a lump, and I was like, "I'm only a third-year med student, but I know my testicle is not trying to grow another testicle," and that was it. So, I got treatment, and at that point in my life, I had kind of gotten away from comedy. I really wasn't doing a whole lot; I was obviously busy. But that really lit that fire again for me, because that's how I deal with things.

I use humor as a coping mechanism, like a lot of people do. I just happen to really enjoy doing it in a very public way. And so, basically, as soon as I was hit with that diagnosis, I started writing jokes again, started doing open mics, some comedy competitions, things like that. Nothing professionally, because I just didn't have time to try to do that, but it did help me to get up on stage and talk about those issues and make light of it. It was really helpful for me to process and move forward. Yeah, and I still do it.

Gary: I found that the times when I'm put on the spot and I'm most stressed, and we talked about this a little bit earlier, it's sad, but I feel like as I've gotten older and I've become more serious, and I just feel like that part of me has sort of gone. But I remember times in medical school, I probably shouldn't even tell this story, but I'm going to anyways, and you bring out the funny in people.

So, I'm a third-year medical student, and I'm terrified. It's my first rotation. It's OB-GYN, of course, and it's GYN-ONC, which we all know, GYN-ONC is one of the more challenging rotations, especially to be thrown into, when you don't even know how to do an HMP. And so, we're doing rounds. I went to Louisville, and we had four hospitals. So, we're doing rounds at four different hospitals every morning, and I had this British OB-GYN named Dr. Helm, and he loved to pimp us on rounds. And so, the topic of the day was rectovaginal fistulas.

It's a great topic for the morning. It's something you want to really think about and discuss. And so, we're going around, there's myself and another medical student, there's a couple of residents of various levels, and him. And of all the people, he stops and says, "Student Dr. Wörtz, have you ever seen a rectovaginal fistula?" And I said, "Dr. Helm, I’m going to be real honest, I've hardly ever even seen a vagina." And so, at that point, it was like, it broke the tension.

Dr. G: Well, that's great.

Gary: It got a pretty good laugh at the time, and honestly, it was like self-deprecating and pretty honest, to be really truthful, and the rest of the rotation was actually a lot more fun from that moment on. So those little things you remember, it keeps you coming back to the well.

Dr. G: Self-deprecating, that kind of humor, it just gets everybody on your side. It's so, so important, especially in medicine, to be able to laugh at yourself. We have a very serious profession, it's extremely serious, not just ophthalmology, just the whole thing. And so, to be able to put that aside and just be able to let your guard down and laugh at yourself, it seems like it should be an easy thing to do, but it's not.

Gary: Well, our profession is filled with people who have tried to climb and claw to the top, and a lot of that is ego driven, and I'm prone to that as well. There are times when I feel like I need to have more accolades or whatever…everyone feels that way. So, I think it can be refreshing when someone who is generally thought to be someone who's climbing into the top to say, "No, I'm not really that smart. I'm not really that experienced."

Dr. G: I really haven't seen that many vaginas.

Gary: That's right. And that was very true.

Blake: Speaking of vaginas and rectovaginal fistulas and different specialties, I'm just curious how you landed on ophthalmology, because Gary and I, we always talk about how ophthalmology has the best collection of funny-ass people and just hilarious, total characters. And I bet you a lot of specialties think they do too, but I think ophthalmology has the widest array of personalities. Can you talk about how out of all those specialties and OB-GYN and everything else, how you decided on what you do now?

Dr. G: Yeah…Actually, I decided pretty late. I was right at the beginning of my fourth year that I decided, so it was really late compared to some of my peers. But I had just done vascular surgery as part of my core general surgery rotation, and I kind of had an interest in ophthalmology, and so I set up an elective right after that. So, I went from standing in the OR wearing a lead vest for like 5 hours, to being offered a stool during a 10- to 15-minute cataract surgery, and I was like, "This is possible? This is a thing that happens?" And it was just like a breath of fresh air because I wasn't a big fan of the longer cases.

So, that set me up right there. You could have told me anything and I would have been a fan of ophthalmology. And now actually, and I've talked about this a lot on Twitter, trying to help people figure out…it's hard, figuring out what you want to do, but I realized that to decide to become an ophthalmologist, there's three questions you have to be able to answer. So, the first question is, do you like surgery? Do y'all like being in the OR?

The second question, do you like to sit down? Because that's a big part of what we do. The average ophthalmologist spends over 800 hours adjusting the height of various chairs. All right. And the third question, obviously, is are eyeballs gross? And that's the last hurdle. Because a lot of people think they just can't do eyeballs. So, if you can answer those three questions, you have to be an ophthalmologist. That's the only career for you in medicine.

Blake: Isn't that crazy how many people think eyeballs are gross, but they're very quick to do a digital rectal exam or pelvic exam?

Dr. G: I agree. It's a weird thing. Like, people have it with dentists too. They can't do teeth, or I don't know. People have their things, but, fortunately, I was able to tolerate eyeballs and landed in ophthalmology.

Gary: I want to talk about the word Glaucomflecken. That is your proper name. Dr. Glaucomflecken. How did you land on Glaucomflecken? I need the origin story of this. And what were the runner up names? If there were any.

Dr. G: So, again, it was at ARVO.

Gary: All good things start at ARVO.

Dr. G: All good things start at ARVO. I was just surrounded by all these people using all these big fancy words. Maybe I was just feeling smart at the time. But I just…like, what is the most ridiculous, meaningless, to most people, what's the word that just is so ridiculous, so out there…and that's hard in ophthalmology because our specialty is full of those words. And it just kind of came to me. I was like, Glaucomflecken. It's got to be Glaucomflecken. Like what a ridiculous, stupid word that is. And the alternatives were, the main one was Dr. Pseudophacodonesis. But I thought…

Gary: Is that one still available?

Dr. G: Yeah. I think it is. You should get that one, Gary.

Gary: OK. I'm thinking about that.

Dr. G: Too many syllables, though. I can only tolerate…people can only tolerate so many syllables.

Gary: It's true.

Dr. G: I just went with Glaucomflecken.

Gary: Glaucomflecken. I'm loving it. It sounds profane a little bit. It kind of sounds a little profane.

Dr. G: But the downside is people assume I'm a glaucoma specialist. I get messages all the time about glaucoma, emails about glaucoma. They pegged me into glaucoma.

Gary: That's funny. One thing I've noticed on Twitter is, you seem to be able to translate ophthalmology to the rest of the world of medicine. It's like, we're on this secret island. It's like Wakanda in a way, where, it's like, no one can find it, no one knows where it is, it doesn't really exist, but yet you are somehow able to transverse from our little island to the mainland of other specialties and explain what we do and sort of punch down at ourselves for all the funny things that are associated with being ophthalmologist, like going home at 4 o'clock and having a nice weekend and those sorts of things.

But I think you've even gone to ER conferences and been a guest speaker at other outside…we had you at MillennialEYE a few years ago, which is where we met, actually, and had a great time. But you've actually gone and performed at other medical specialty conferences. Can you talk a little bit about that and where you find enjoyment translating ophthalmology to the rest of medicine?

Dr. G: That was the audience I fell into. So, getting started on Twitter, there's really not a lot of ophthalmologists. There's not a big ophthalmology community. The biggest communities are emergency medicine, primary care…

Gary: Anesthesia…They have nothing else to do.

Dr. G: And so, that was the audience that was out there. And part of what I was doing at the time, I was also writing for GomerBlog, writing satire articles for GomerBlog, which is like the medical onion website, and so, that actually really helped me to be able to branch outside of jokes about ophthalmology and to other specialties, because I was writing these articles trying to come up with ideas about other specialties. And eventually, I went away from GomerBlog and just started doing my own thing. But that set me up to be able to reach that audience.

And I very quickly realized that, general ophthalmology education, number one, is horrible for people outside of ophthalmology. It was just in med school in general. How much did you learn about ophthalmology in med school that you didn't just actively seek out yourself? It's abysmal. Nothing.

Blake: If they actually sat down and told people the real deal about ophthalmology, everybody would go into ophthalmology. You know what I mean?

Dr. G: Well, we like to think so. But the other part of it is that other specialties need to know something about ophthalmology. Emergency physicians need to know something. They're not taught about these things, but they need it. So, that was the niche I gravitated toward, and that helped me come at some educational topics that are pertinent to those specialties, and I've been able to develop this way of describing it in a humorous way that is on a non-ophthalmologist level. So from there, I started getting asked to do talks and be able to combine education and humor, which is really something that I've really been focusing on the last couple of years.

Gary: Yeah. It's like you established a beachhead where you were able to come across and communicate things that...I'm not sure how many times an ER conference has asked an ophthalmologist to come and lecture. I assume that if they do, no one's going to show up. That's the time you're going to go and get your coffee and pastry and soggy fruit. But this, I think, was probably very well received.

Dr. G: There's a disconnect, I think, between the ophthalmologists and what not ophthalmologists know, and there’s obviously this disconnect, but I just don't think ophthalmologists, I don't think we really understand fully the extent of that gap, which is enormous.

Gary: So, I want to talk about your recent health challenge, and that's probably putting it very mildly.

Dr. G: Pretty mild.

Gary: This is something that, when I found out what happened to you, I was really shocked. That's a bad word for it, considering. But I would love for you to just, in your own words, explain what happened, and leading up to that, how were you feeling? Did this happen out of the clear blue sky? I cannot imagine what you went through. So, paint the picture for us.

Dr. G: I’ll start with Mother's Day, because we had a great Mother's Day. I went to my in-laws’ house and we, as a family, had like a water balloon fight and just got to play around outside. It was a great day, and to be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about that day. I've seen pictures. But a lot of that's, I'm still missing bits and pieces of it, because that night, about 4 o'clock in the morning is when I had a cardiac arrest. Just completely out of the blue. I felt fine, a little bit tired, but I'm an ophthalmologist, I have a very busy schedule, so of course I'm going to be tired.

So, I went to bed, and my wife, fortunately she's a light sleeper, because she woke up to hear me having agonal breaths, so, kind of gasping, and immediately just knew something was wrong. Called 911, and she's not BLS certified, she's not in medicine at all, and so, they walked her through it. She said, “I don't think he's breathing.” She listened for a heartbeat, nothing. And so, the 911 operator, who was just phenomenal, we have since listened to the recording, and it's pretty harrowing to listen to it, but it was good for us to do that, but walked her through the CPR, which she then proceeded to do for 10 minutes. Ten minutes of CPR.

Gary: That's exhausting. That's unbelievable.

Dr. G: Could you think about how long…well you could probably do two cataract surgeries in 10 minutes, Gary. Can you imagine that? I honestly can’t. I was a pretty fit guy, and you guys are pretty fit guys. It seems impossible to be able to that up, keep up effective CPR. I had 10 minutes where I wasn't getting oxygen, but she kept it going, and she was just an absolutely amazing. And this is on our bed, too. So, it's not like, she couldn't get me on the floor. I have like 90 pounds on her.

And so, not only that, but she was able to give like directions to our garage door, tell the code to the garage door, the Cardinal directions to which bedroom we were in, she told them we were in the Northwest corner of the house. All of this while understandably panicked and doing chest compressions. And so, finally EMS arrived. They busted in our back door, which is totally fine, I’ve since repaired it, and that was a fun activity, and took me downstairs.

We were upstairs, took me downstairs, shocked me six times, they shocked me six times and eventually got sinus rhythm back, so I was in V-fib, and they took me to the hospital. And from my perspective, I went to bed Sunday night, and I woke up in the ICU 3 days later. And, in the meantime, all this had happened. I was in the ICU, I got cooled. I wasn't on ECMO or anything, but they cooled my body temperature down for about 24 hours, and then brought me back.

Everyone was very nervous to see what my cognitive functioning would be, and fortunately, they were asking me questions, and I was able to answer everything appropriately. I want to say I got lucky, but it was out-of-hospital arrest. CPR starting within minutes was key, and I owe it all to my wife, obviously.

Blake: All on Mother's Day, too. I don't know if it’s too soon…but you better plan a hell of a Mother’s Day next year. You gotta blow it out next year for her.

Dr. G: And every year after that. My days of winning arguments, I mean, they were already gone, they weren't great, they were few and far between, but now there's no chance. And it's been a process, because one thing people don't realize is, yeah, that was a big...it was a trauma to me personally, I'm the one that almost died, but in a lot of ways, it was harder for my family, people around me.

Gary: If you're willing to talk about this, clearly don't answer if not, but how is she dealing with this? Because, like you said, she lived it. You almost had the benefit of the amnesia to not have to re-live it. If you wake up with her putting a mirror over your mouth, see if you're still breathing? What's the new normal like?

Dr. G: She does. I think we're pretty close to normal, and just day-to-day life is pretty normal. That trauma is still there. We've had to go through...I talked about the 911 call. It was important for her that I listened to that with her, and at first I didn't want to do it, because I can't hear your voice, I can't hear how scared you were, I can't hear what it sounded like to give myself compressions. But she was the only one that lived that. In her words, she was living in that space by herself, and she needed somebody else to experience that, and which, when she told me that, I was like, that makes perfect sense.

And so, we listened to it, and that was really helpful too, just so I was able to understand, to a certain extent, what she had experienced. It's going to take a while, but, we're just happy that everything's OK now.

Blake: I imagine that you've become quite the expert, per compared to a year ago, on cardiovascular health and how the heart works and everything like that. Did you have something going on that made you more susceptible to that? Obviously, you're a young, healthy guy.

Dr. G: No, really. Everything…I got a cardiac MRI, I had a cath, I had all kinds of…a huge workup, that nothing came up. Nothing at all.

Gary: Any theories? …Abnormalities?

Dr. G: Yeah, the only thing was my potassium was low, whenever I arrived at the hospital it was, I think, 2.0. I'm really not sure why. I'm not sure if that triggered anything. But I am doing genetic testing now. So, I sent in a swab, and there's a whole list of like 40 genes that they're going to look for. That mainly just has implications for my kids, obviously, not really anything for me, there’s nothing to do. I got to my subcutaneous ICD, and, so, I'm back in action.

Blake: Yeah, I read one of your Tweets afterward, and it said something like, after you die, for a little while, quote unquote, one of the first things you do when you wake up is say, “OK, cool. You made it through one more night.” Talk about waking up now and how much happier and also grateful you are to do all the normal things we do in life. Has that worn off at all? Is that going to be an everyday thing from here on out, or what?

Dr. G: In my mind, I've had milestones. Like, first day, morning, waking up in my own bed was, I think that's probably when I Tweeted that. It's like, “Great, awesome, I'm awake. I get to live another day.” I don't really have that as much anymore, but after that, it was more like, "Oh, cool. I can walk 10 minutes without…" Because you'd be surprised at how deconditioned you get laying in an ICU bed, not moving for 3 days. And then it was, "Oh, cool. I can go to work. I can see a patient in clinic. I can do a cataract surgery."

And so, it's been little incremental improvements. I can lift my children again. That's really been driving me. So, it has been a lot of improvement. I do still have this sense that…Oh, man, especially when I do something with my kids, like preschool graduation was one of them or seeing them do something funny or cool or any sweet tender moments we have as a family. That's when it hits me like, “Oh, I almost didn't get to experience this.” I still have those feelings, and that's probably never going to stop, or at least not for a long time.

Blake: Yeah. I like that you've kept a great sense of humor about it the entire time, too. As you mentioned earlier, your coping mechanism. I went back and scrolled back to when it happened, and I wondered if you looked back and just thought it was funny that the last thing that you Tweeted about before you, quote unquote, died for a second was about Michael Jordan's conjuctival melanosis.

Gary: Always contributing to the field.

Dr. G: I know, what if that was it, the last thing. Oh man, I guess that's better than nothing, but yeah, all the jokes and stuff, it comes from a place of necessity for me. That's just how I've viewed this whole thing through that lens of “How crazy is this situation?” And people say my brain is normal, but I don't think it's ever been normal, because that's how I deal with these types of things, and I'm glad to do it.And I think people enjoy hearing my random, crazy thoughts about all this stuff. And the TikToks, my God, the TikToks.I'm going to regret ever getting involved in that app.

Gary: It might be gone. So, who knows?

Dr. G: I kind of hope so. I was like, please would you do me a favor, because I obviously don't have enough self-control. I can't stop recording myself doing all these ridiculous things.

Gary: Right. I know this is kind of a big question, but the big questions in life, I think, a lot of times we go around with faith, or we go around not knowing or feeling pretty confident that there are no answers. Have any of the big questions in your mind changed through all this? I don't know that there's a right or wrong answer. Any thoughts on the metaphysical world that you danced between?

Dr. G: I think maybe, if anything, what motivates you? What are the important things that are going to sustain you? That's the type of thing that makes…whenever you have an experience like this, you're like, “What am I doing in life right now that's important? And what's not so important?” And so, I find myself thinking about that a lot more and realizing that some things, they're not important, and they don't need to be taking up my time. And really having more of a focus on the things that really matter, and this whole experience has just really put that into perspective for me.

Gary: No, I think that's fantastic. I mean, COVID, I think in general, and not to mention you were in ICU.

Dr. G: I know.I've been tested several times.

Gary: I imagine you have been.

Dr. G: Like tickling your brain. It’s very unpleasant.

Gary: I’ve been tested a few times. I call it a brain biopsy. I think we all are going to come out of this with new perspectives…I've got this mug sitting on my desk that says, “I survived another meeting that should have been an email.” And like, what I wouldn’t give to have a meeting with real people. We're getting back a little bit, but who knows for how long. We're all going to come out of this with lessons that we have learned about the important things in life.The little things that bothered us before that maybe we should just not worry about.

And like you said, I think you said it perfectly, just staying focused on the things that are important in our lives and letting the other things that are just dragging us down or shouldn't be a part of our life anyways, just letting things go. I think that's a wonderful, wonderful maybe place to stop. Any final thoughts, Blake or Dr. G, on this topic?

Blake: I guess my final thought would be, I just think it's great how you've used humor throughout this entire thing, and I think that a lot of people relate to that. I think that you have a huge audience that has loved watching the whole journey. I think there's been some positive things, in terms of charity donations, that have happened after it as well, if someone listening to this doesn't know what I'm talking about, maybe Dr. G, you could mention that real quick before we leave.

Dr. G: Yeah. That's one of those things, that's one of those important things that I've been able to try to focus on, and that's the charity First Descents, which is a charity that, it provides relief and outdoor adventure experiences for young adults who have been affected by cancer, which, obviously, I'm included in that group. I've taken part of a lot of their programs, and it's really made a big difference in being able to connect young adults who have experienced cancer or have cancer or used to have cancer, because it can be an isolating experience as a young adult to have that.

And so, First Descents really provides that network. I've been really fortunate, and I'm thankful to all my followers and all the organizations and academic departments, because I donate all my speaking fees to First Descents. So, I really appreciate all the support from everybody who follows me and has donated. It really means a lot to me. It keeps me going.

Gary: And where can we find First Descents online? Is it firstdescents.com?

Dr. G: Firstdescents.org, and you can find a donation link on my Twitter account as well, and you can find the website there and look around at it and check it out. It's really cool. You can advocate it for your patients, if you see patients, young adults who have had cancer. Yeah, it's a cool organization. I love it.

Gary: Well, Dr. G, Dr. Glaucomflecken, this has been just a real treat. I've wanted to connect with you for a while, even before this. I thought with this event happening, I appreciate your willingness to come on and be so vulnerable and open about your life experience. I think it's a lesson that, when we do tell our story, it actually has a way of connecting us in different ways. We learn from each other much more when we really sit down and have a good conversation and listen. So, thank you so much for coming on and sharing. I look forward to seeing you IRL, in the near future.

Dr. G: Maybe ARVO. Do you want to go to ARVO?

Gary: I've heard that ARVO is great. So, yes. We'll make it a date for ARVO. Blake, any final thoughts? Kick us off here.

Blake: That's it, so much fun. Thank you everybody for listening to another episode of Ophthalmology off the Grid.

Speaker 1: Thank you to Dr. Glaucomflecken for joining this episode of Off the Grid, and thanks to our listeners for tuning in.

This has been Ophthalmology off the Grid. Until next time.

Speaker 1: Support for Ophthalmology off the Grid comes from Diamatrix, supplying surgeons with innovative products like the X1 iris speculum. Its unique ability to simultaneously capture both iris and capsule makes this device a game changer, providing superior stabilization of the pupil, capsule, and anterior chamber. Visit diamatrix.com to learn more or request a sample.

8/18/2020 | 42:37

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