Supporting Residents with Professor of Ophthalmology Dr. Thomas Oetting

KKH Trailer Wide


Knock, knock. Hi,

knock, knock. Hi. Hello. Welcome to Knock-knock. Hi, we are the Glock Flecking. I am Dr. Glock. I am Lady Glock Flecking, otherwise known as Will and Kristen Flannery. Uh, we have a, an, an exciting, a very special show for us today. Uh, we are having on one of my favorite people in the entire world, uh, Dr. Tom ODing.

He was my residency program director at the University of Iowa. And, um, he’s gonna talk with us. He could share some stories. We’re gonna share a lot of laughs. I, I honestly, I. It’s, it feels so good to laugh with someone, you know, he tickles your funny bone more than most people. . He does, he does. It’s great.

Uh, and we have a lot of memories, a lot of life events happened during residency. That’s right. And in particular for us, while we had a kid mm-hmm. , our second child was during re residency years. Uh, and also I was working as well. So you were working and, um, I had my second bout of testicular. You kind of had a lot to juggle.

Lots going on in those years in addition to residency. I was, I, I was primed for it. Like I knew, I, I, I had already diagnosed myself with testicular cancer once. That’s right. So I was like, I got, I know what this is all about. Mm-hmm. and, um, went in and got checked out, got an ultrasound and was very quickly diagnosed with cancer, but it was a lot harder.

that that second time was more challenging because the first time you know you’ve got a spare. Yeah, right. You have one. You still have something that makes sperm and testosterone and now, well, and some people may not realize that to treat testicular cancer you have to remove the testicle. Of course, the medical audience will know that, but yeah.

A lot of other people usually, usually you remove right, the testicle and, and so that was the idea for me is that ba I was faced with the prospect of losing both of my testicles and, um, and so it, we had questions, we had to figure out, you know what, I have to postpone residency. We had, were we done having kids?

Do I need to bank? That was another one. And, uh, let me tell you about an interesting experience, right there. I’m gonna, I’m just gonna give everybody a little tip here. Okay? If you ever find yourself in a, in a situation when you, where you have to bank sperm, take the day off from work. Okay. Trust, trust me on this.

All right. There’s just, there’s something about, uh, being at work. For me, it was in clinic, uh, and then just like going on your lunch break, like three departments down the hall. Banking sperm and then coming back to work, it felt a little off. Yeah, it was. Uh, I didn’t see that. Not something I expected to ever be doing.

normally that kind of behavior would be discouraged. Yeah. At work. On your lunch break. Exactly. , um, . And so it was, but there was a lot of, you know, mental and, and physical and emotional, you know, challenges associated with this. Uh, with, for me and for Kristen and just our family in general, and Dr. ODing who we’re talking to, and the reason I’m even talking about this is because he.

Was so supportive. Mm-hmm. and the program at the University of Iowa was, Iowa was so supportive and all your fellow residents as well? Yeah, they took call for me. Yeah. It just, uh, you know, Dr. ODing really just creates that culture of. Of support and that’s why that role, the program director is so important.

Um, and, uh, I just, I can’t thank him enough for what he did for us. Yeah. Just as an example to give everybody an idea of like, what can this look like in, in real life, you know? Obviously your work was one piece of it, but he didn’t stop at making it possible to figure all of that out. He also looked at, you know, your, just you as a human and then your family as well.

And he understood that it would be affecting us, um, in addition to you. And so he, um, He sent you home. I don’t know how this all happened during the day, but from my perspective, you came home that day from um, residency and you had some cash, which of course in residency is like you never have any money.

Yeah. Let alone cash. So I was like, what? What is that from? Where’d you get that? and you said that Dr. ODing had given it to you as, you know, quote, babysitter money so that I, cuz we had a toddler and an infant at that time. So you said it was for, for me to babysit the infant while you. and the toddler sat down together to watch Mary Poppins and he said specifically Mary Poppins.

And that was because he had just watched it, um, with some children in his life, um, very recently. And he, you know, he, he paid attention to the, you know, how that felt. And he said, You should sit down and watch that with her because you need some magic in your life right now. And so it was like a way to give us a little bit of financial support during all of that time.

A way to give you emotional support and then also, You know, the support he was giving you within your residency. So that is, I tell that story all the time when I am speaking places because that is just the, I mean, that’s how it’s done. If you are a program director or if someday you become a program director, I hope you’ll remember that story.

Uh, because your residents are humans. They’re not just, you know, I don’t know if he had to pay me under the table or not. Oh, I don’t know, maybe. Well, it’s been a long time. It’s been a while. So we won’t get him into trouble , but you know, it was not, it was not money for me, it was for my wife. Or babysit.

That’s right. She was babysitter. Right. So Uhhuh, uh, I don’t know what the legality of that is, but it was more, I mean, it, look, it wasn’t like we’re talking thousands of dollars or something. It was like, it was more about the gesture. Yeah, that’s, but it was very kind. Exactly. It was very kind. And, um, and so, yeah, let’s get to it.

All right. So here, Dr. ODing.

All right. We’re here with, with the one and only Thomas ODing. Tom ODing. When did you start going by Tom? Were you a, you were probably Thomas as a kid, right? Growing up I was only Thomas when I was in trouble. I was, I was always a tom. I was never a Tommy. To Tom. Yeah, so Tom, I, I, it’s, it’s weird calling you Tom because I know you as, as to, uh, so, uh, yeah.

So I was a resident from 20, when was it? 2014 to 2017 and, um, 23rd. No, that was transition. Yes. 2014 to 2017. The, I mean, you’re probably, you know, as you get older, the years just kind of run together. You can’t really remember things. But, um, uh, I, I have a very, um, great opportunity here for you to tell me where I ranked on the, on the match list.

I, it’s been, it’s been, I, I think legally you’re allowed to now, because it’s been however many years since I was. So I, if you don’t remember, just make something up and make me think it’s accurate. I just remember that it was, it was odd for us to put somebody, number one that went into a med school that was named after Dr.

Zeus . And I remember all the arguments about it and what’s he like. And then, and then I think your, your letters of recommendation were, were from like, you know, They’re, they like your, your high school teacher and then . That was his mother. Your third grade. Yeah, my mom. Is that not good? You don’t wanna have your parents write your letter of recommendation for you.

It was, it was all the sad, sad tales about we don’t have an ophthalmology department there and so on. You know, there was actually were all the sad tales. , there were, you’re right. Because I was at Dartmouth, there was no ophthalmology department and I actually, uh, I, I thought that that would actually help me in some way because I, I overcame all the adversity of not having an eye department and, uh, uh, there was an eye department.

There wasn’t a residency program, but, um, I did, I was concerned that, that people would see that I went to the Dr. Sue’s School of Medicine and would, uh, think that it wasn’t, So, uh, that was a, I’m, I’m glad you cut onto that. That’s probably the reason you gave me an interview, actually. Probably, yeah. I wanted to see, I wanted to see what the deal was.

Well, let’s see what happens. . Um, well, I mean, you had an interesting application. You, you know, we knew about the, uh, the standup comedy and, and, uh, it was different, you know. and there was a lot of white space in the area where there’s supposed to be research that that showed me potential. He’s got potential

That was, that was, I, I’m pretty sure I, I added some things in there. I really embellished to try to decrease that amount of white space . But you’re right, I did. I hads a giant font on that case. Come on. Okay. You tell me. Cause Cause how many, okay. How many years have you been a residency program Or you’re not residency Program director.

I just gave it up. That’s right. You just gave it up. Oh wow. But you, you were for how many years? I was, uh, about 18 years I was doing that biz. So, so that’s a lot of interview days. That’s a lot of interviews. It’s a lot of going through, lots of applications. Is is research really that important? What do you think?

No, the cra now that we’re through it, the crazy thing now is because we’re, we, we have this new system where it’s all digital, so it’s not on paper anymore. There, there’s this crazy system where you just scroll through all of these, these things and, and honestly, you can’t tell the difference between, uh, a nature article and, and some, you know.

From article in the Neighborhood Journal of Siberia, you know? Yeah. And so, and, and you just scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, and then, and then you just, uh, you say, well, that took me a while to scroll through that. That’s, that’s the extent of Martin view of the research that took a while to scroll through

um, to say that to those of you that are, that are out there applying. But that, that’s, that’s the truth of the matter because, you know, there’s just, there’s. There’s, there’s other parts. Are you checking to make sure they’re actually research articles that you’re scrolling through, or can they just put anything?

Yeah. What are you looking at? It’s like, why read the, like do you, do you look at the journal? Do you look at the, are you just like, kind of, they’re just this words on a page and, and you’re waiting to get to the next section? The, the, maybe the first one or two I’ll. Yeah. And, uh, and I, I, I got a kick. I looked for things like, you know, were they, um, were they journals that, that, that were, they have funny sounding names, you know, like from some strange place I’ve never been or something like that.

And then, and then, um, and then there’s a lot of them, the really sciencey journals. I’ve never, this is, by the way, this is like a top 10 ophthalmology program in the country. So just, just to, I’m starting to wonder if this is why you’re not program director. No, he did a, he did a great job. Yeah. I’m supposed.

I’m telling you the truth. But then, you know, there’s a lot of, a lot of those really, uh, really in-depth science journals I’ve never heard of. And uh, you know, they’re just, they’re, they’re, I can tell they’re not super high-end mm-hmm. because they have so many words in the title. You know, right. Is that how it goes?

Nature? And then like the further down you get, the more words in the, the more words in there, the, the less, it’s like nature cell, cell membrane, right? Nature, cell membrane, uh, towards the inside, you know, towards you . It just gets more and more obscure. It seems like it’s less important. But yeah, those are, those are honestly, um, for me, at least for me personally, they.

They’re not super important. Cause there’s, there’s a, there’s a huge amount of anxiety. I, I felt it and I, I assume that applicants still feel it, um, still feel it, and, uh, about needing to get research done and published or something out there. Uh, because people just bypass your application and, well, there’s no TikTok section, so you have to, I wasn’t, something wasn’t on, I wasn’t doing this , it wasn’t, wasn’t doing.

No, I had, I, I was, uh, actually the reason I, I actually started my social media account at Iowa. I was in my second year there. And, uh, you guys paid for me to go to a conference. That was you, it was a research conference. It was a research conference, , and we’ve already been over my research prowess. So you can imagine how much I got outta that conference, but it did set me on this path, so thank you.

So yeah, there you go. But I guess I remember, I remember some of your first posts there at Arva. I remember. Uh oh. Yeah, there was one. God, it was, it was, uh, I can tell you I know, is um, uh, There was a, it was the hashtag arvo fights. Yes, it was, uh, arvo fights. That’s what it was. It was a, a drusen researcher called another drusen researcher.

A pseudo drusen researcher the most, that jo that joke will not make sense to 99% of people watching or listening to this. And so, uh, but it’s a good ophthalmology joke. I stand by that. . Yes. So what is your favorite part of the application? Well, what I really like, I like to read the letters cuz uh, it’s a little bit gossipy for me.

You know, I know, I know a lot of the letter writers and, and I wanna see, um, you know, if, if they say that this person’s better than one of our current residents or something like that, you know, like, this is the top three resident and, and, and we’ve had four from there or something like that. Uhhuh, . Um, and I, so I like the letters and I, and I like, um, I like to read their personal state.

Yeah, I used to, when I first got started, I, I, I’d never read the personal statements to be honest with you, but they’re more and more fun the older I get. You know, this, the, the, the tails are fun. Do you like the off the wall ones? Like the, kind of the weird, like the, because I remember, uh, you telling me about, uh, one applicant, uh, this is probably years ago, that had like a, a french fry blog or something.

Yes. Right? Yes. And so it is like, things like that, that you know, are probably very interesting cuz you’re, you’re looking through so many applications. I don’t know, like hundreds, right? Like 800, a thousand. I don’t know how many. We have about 600. We get about 600. 600. And so yeah, the French, the problem with the French fry blog is, you know, that’s gonna bog me down.

So I’m gonna look at the blog, the stupid french fry blog, and I’m gonna look at ’em all. And there were about 30 entries in that French. Fry from. So it was legit. It wasn’t like, Hey, let’s start this just to put it on my application. Yeah. And, and then they were growing it. They were growing it as they did their interviews.

And so if you’re listening to this, whoever you are, That made that blog was applying to ophthalmology. Please, please let us know. We’d like to get in touch with you. Well, they’re probably a, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’ve got a job now. That was probably four or five years ago cuz Yeah. Yeah. They’re, they’re clearly going places.

I mean, that’s, oh yeah. Yeah. That’s great. They’re going places, eating fries. I mean, they’re, They’re having a life. They got a real life. I think. I mean, you and me are sitting here on our microphones and they’re eating french fries right now. sounds a lot, a lot better to be honest. Um, doing that, uh, it’s, um, uh, you know, I, I never got to be on the residency selection committee like, cuz you, you put residents on, it’s probably smart.

You, you never, you didn’t let me do that. I didn’t get to interview people. Is that, I was kinda disappointed about that. A real sore point with you. I don’t, I don’t like the way said it Uhhuh. Yeah. I, I’m not, I still think about it. It’s been five years and like, let me interview the people. I, I won’t scare off too many.

We could bring you back for alumni interviews. That’d be awesome. Yeah. There you go. Um, so I wanna talk about, Just the, just training an ophthalmologist how to do surgery. This is a question that I still get asked, like, how do you learn how to do this? Yeah. And you have done it for most of your career, teaching people that have never operated, never done anything on an eyeball, in an eyeball, how to do this very delicate, intricate surgery.

And, uh, my question isn’t like how you do it. It’s, it’s how, how are you still? From like a stress standpoint, , like, how are I, I just, I don’t know how you didn’t just at some point drop dead, uh, of some kind of catastrophic illness from the, the just Yeah. He did the sheer stress of, of teaching 20, how old are we?

27 year olds had to do eye surgery. I, you know, you know what’s scary to me is when I first started, when things would start to go a little sour. , my heart would start to beat hard and fast. Mm-hmm. . and the residents are still doing the same thing. But my heart doesn’t do that. And I’m not a hundred percent sure if it’s just cuz my car, my heart can’t do it anymore.

You know, just my heart doesn’t have it in it. Are you on beta blockers? ? Are you? Because it used to be used to be much more stressful, honestly. Yeah. And uh, I think part of the deal is, is as you, as you move along, you, you, you get a set of, uh, of tricks for almost every condition. Mm-hmm. . And at first you didn’t have that, um, But honestly, I mean, that’s the other day, just two days ago, this lady asked me if I got bored at work, you know, cuz you know, I’ve been doing it like 30 years.

And, and she was wondering, you know, how can I just do the same thing? And, but I mean, to me, the variability that’s introduced by the residents operating with me is by far the most fun. Mm-hmm. , you know, because, um, I’ve kind of figured out how to get out of all those tricks, out of those problems and stuff.

Try to keep it safe. Um, yeah, and it’s, it’s a stepwise thing too. It’s, yeah. And I think the way, the way to learn it is like any other sport, you know, you sort of do little, little easy things first and then you move forward. Um, you know, we, we had, um, we had a, a. That we were, I was talking to you the other day and we were talking about his tennis grip.

And you know, you know how really serious tennis people that change their grip, like as they advance forward when they first start, they have a, a rookie grip and then they have a more advanced grip. And so we’re trying to just get people through with the rookie grip grip, you know? Yeah. It takes longer, but it, it’s slower, but it’s safe.

And then, and then when they get to your stage, you know, when they’re out and they’ve been, they, they, you’ve got a totally different. Than whatever I taught you, right? Yeah, no, I, I do. In fact, I, not too long ago, I went back and looked at, I still have some of my videos, my surgical videos from the end of residency and it’s night and day.

It’s, it’s just, you know, having the, you know, 3000 cases. Under your belt versus what you end up after residency with like 200. You know? It’s uh, uh, uh, just so much different. You know, you’re competent when you, when you leave training, you know, but it’s, I don’t, just having that repetition, it’s incredible.

I mean, you’ve done, how many, how many cataracts have you done in your life? You’re probably at like, I mean, how old are you? It’s, it’s, I can’t, I mean, it’s hard to, This is a, uh, this is all audio, right? ? I assume it was all audio. I would’ve, I would’ve gotten spruce up. Yeah. I’ve got like, I think I’ve got like 20 over 20,000 resident cases cuz I counted those up for something.

Oh really? Oh wow. But the, the, um, yeah, but so, so you, you know, our job is to get you to the point where, where you’re fairly safe and you can, you can you. Move on, move on from that point. But everyone, everyone grows so much after they leave. It’s crazy. Well, what do you, did you, um, did you bring us some stories about Yeah, I had a couple, I had a couple things I was thinking about.

You bring one about will. No, surely not. . I was, I, we, there was, there’s nothing about me. I was a perfect resident. I could actually, I could tell you some stories, but let’s hear what to had said. Well, my favorite will, my favorite will story was, was, I can’t remember what he did wrong. He’s some infraction.

And, uh, I don’t remember how serious the infraction was, but I just remember I was, I was in, in my office, right, right back here where if you could see it right behind me here, and he, he had, he had fashioned a duns cap out of a, out of a piece of paper, like a cone, a piece of paper. And wrote dunks on it and then put it on his head, you know, like the cone DUNS cap and sort stood over in the corner and I don’t think he even said anything.

I just think, I think he just came in and had his DUNS cap on and then he walked out. , I guess it said it all. Really? What? Yeah, it really takes the wind out of the sail. If anyone tried to discipline. I, I do remember making that cap. I have no idea why I. I took a picture of it. I still have a picture of it.

actually, I posted that picture on, on, it was funny. In the early days of your, of your site when your, when your real name was secret. Yeah, I posted that. But it had your it, it said Will flannery on it. And I said, Dr. Glock Fln as I knew him as a resident and it had his duns cap up. And then somebody like, I got about 10 people of your sort of mafia.

And they said, you can’t put that on that site. It’s got his name on there. Don’t you have any respect for him at all? And I said, well, that’s his name, . But it was that, remember? Remember that? Well, you know, there was a period of time when it was all secret who you were. Yeah. Yeah. Now, did I overreact? Like did I need to be so secretive about my identity?

Cause that was mostly for your benefit. That was, that was for like, not embarrassing the, the University of Iowa, but I, I maybe I just kind of, you know, didn’t have to, I, what I really should have done is just saw the example that you set. I was about to say, and I should have realized this is not a big deal.

look at this guy. He runs this place. You’re, you’re. You know, you’re, you’re one of the least embarra compared to me. You’re, you’re not embarrassing at all. I mean, you’re, there’s like this, this beacon of, um, of Hope . Well tell what, so tell, tell us a couple stories. Well, so the thing I was thinking about, especially in the context of the, of the two of you, um, is, is I just, I’m just, today was another example of this.

I’m just so overwhelmed by these couples that. It’s like it’s, this is, this is the thing that makes it so much fun for me. And, um, and what I really, what I really like is old men, but. What I really like is the old men in and out of the environment of the couple. And, and there’s so many crazy examples of this.

Um, but, um, and, and I think, I think it’s because I’m, you know, cause I’m getting older mm-hmm. , but the suppression, the suppression of the old man in the context of the couple in the room with me, what are you talking about? Is what really get. So, so today I had several guys that come in and they’re with their spouse.

Okay? Presumably their spouse, I don’t know this lady that’s with them every time, and they don’t say Jack, right? They just sit there. Oh, oh, you’re talking about the patient side of things? The patient side. Okay. Okay. I was thinking residents, couple residents. Okay. No, no, no. I’m talking about So the patients, okay, gotcha.

Yeah, I’m talking about patient. So, so, so the, the guy just sits there and you say, how you doing? And he’s, and he, and he doesn’t say anything. She answers for him. How you doing? Doesn’t say anything. Answers for him. And so it’s just such a crazy recurring thing that you are heading that direction, , and I’m heading that direction and.

that, that’s kind of the, the context with which I’m thinking about, um, these old men. So during, so during Covid, the, the, the stories about old men were really interesting because the women couldn’t come with them, right? Mm-hmm. because right. We had all these, we were clamping down on, on who can come in the hospital and uh, and then these guys come in and they’re all chatty

She’s not over there, you know, and, and so he’s like telling me all of his life story and he’s telling me about his little whatever. His blepharitis. Yeah. Or you know, whether, how his eyes are doing when, when in the past he never said anything. And so that is so interesting to me. That is interesting. And uh, but the other part of it that’s interesting.

The other covid part of this. So many good things come from Covid. So here’s another good thing that comes from Covid . So that’s good. Silver linings, let’s go. That’s good. So the same guy and it comes in to have his surgery, right? So he is in his, having his surgery, wife’s not allowed to come in. So I, after the surgery’s over, I call, I call the wife and say, oh, I’m so sorry you couldn’t come in for the surgery.

Everything went really well. and she says, you can keep ’em . I’m so tired of that guy. You just keep him, keep him for the weekend. I was up around Fridays, you keep ’em for the weekend, and the other, and the guy’s just sitting there just happy as a bug. Oh, what did she say? ? But anyway, that story just repeats itself over and over and over again and it’s just so funny to me.

And, um, so anyway, that’s, that’s, I love that. That’s good that, that’s, that’s sort of the old guy now, another old guy thing. So, and this has to do. With you having had. Your, your major heart thing. Mm-hmm. . And there’s Kristen right next to you who saved your life. You must not have had life insurance. But let’s don’t talk about that

I have, I have very little, very badly life insurance. Very little because he had already had two. For those who don’t know who, he’d already had two rounds of cancer prior to the cardiac. Yeah. Once, once you get that cancer diagnosis, that’s it for your life insurance, insurance that you’re done, like life insurance.

Unless you wanna go to some shady like, uh, you know, underground. Uh, you know, pop-up shop that’ll sell you something for like a part of your body. I don’t know, like a, like a kidney. I could sell a kidney and probably get some life insurance, but no, for the mainly, no, I could not get much life insurance. So, so Marguerite, I got plenty of life insurance.

Margarite doesn’t pump any chest, lemme tell you that right now. , that’s my wife, Marguerite. Anyway, so, so I’m doing cataract surgery over the va. This is the old days of the va, the old days. And we used to bring patients in and they would, they would, um, spend the night for a couple days for cataract surgery.

So it was. So we, we called this guy and said, come in early cuz it’s snowing. Come in the day before, we’ll get you in, we’ll get you tucked into the, to the hospital. Comes in, gets all of his labs. In those days we got an ekg, so we got an ekg, was normal, got all these labs. It was normal. Didn’t think about the guy.

He’s tucked in, he’s happy, he’s getting his snacks and, and meals and stuff. We don’t even think about ’em until two days later when we’re doing the surgery. So do his cataract surgery. Here’s the great news of all. This is really good news for, you’re gonna love this. We do his cataract surgery right after the cataract surgery’s over, I get a call from the cardiologist, the cardiology fellow, and says, Hey, this is the cardiology fellow.

I just want you to know, you know that second EKG you got? And I said, no, we didn’t get a second ekg. Yeah, there was one yesterday. And I said, we didn’t order one yesterday. Said, yeah, that was part of the routine order because he was supposed to come in that day so well, we didn’t order that. He said, well anyway, it doesn’t matter that ekg, you got y.

It shows he has a heart, he’s had a heart attack, and we just checked his labs this morning and he ruled in for a heart attack. And so, so wait a second. And so, so wait a second. So you mean I just finished two seconds ago doing cataract surgery on Sunday. That was actively having a heart attack. goodness.

Now, but here’s the good news. Here’s the really good news about this. You can do cataract surgery on somebody’s having a heart attack. , don’t you Not the do not let the cardiologist hear that. , . That’s to really, it doesn’t, so don’t worry about that. Now here’s, but, but you know, of course, now these days we don’t check labs anyway.

Well, we, we have to, we have to send them to, for cardiac clearance. That’s what, that’s what we do. And then, and the cardiologist. You know, they don’t like us about fair. Yeah. Well, we we almost never send them for you send ’em for cardiac clearance. Well, we do. We, we have to for some patients. What do you, I guess, uh, university, what do you do?

Do you have to like, call their PCP ever and or you just do it? We just, you don’t worry about it. If they made certain criteria, we don’t, we don’t have to get any labs or EKGs or anything anymore. Oh, we don’t do that. I mean, I, I don’t, I’ve never even looked at an ekg. How long has it been? When was the last time you actually looked at an ekg?

It’s probably that time and I realized , that was it. That was just, that was such a crazy story. And then this, this guy, I just did so well, it just didn’t matter at all. So here’s another symbol. Was he happy with his vision? Did he, did he do well? Yeah. Well, he’s super happy. He was disappointed because we couldn’t do his other eye for a while because he had had the artifact.

But it doesn’t matter. But the, the other crazy story, which is very, , uh, is, uh, we were doing surgery on this fella and he was really nervous because he was having a hard time getting rises to come in. He had, uh, he had, uh, somebody with them, and we did, we did cataract surgery on him. Believe or not, we did both eyes.

This is what we’re doing now, both eyes. Hm. And when we do cataract surgery, you kind of move, move their, you know, get their head in position. We did both eyes, but no complaints. Everything’s fine. Beautiful. So, uh, we, after the case was over, he said to. I just want you to know my neck is still sore from when I fell.

I was, what do you mean? He said, well, I fell. I fell coming in. I slipped on some ice coming in. I said, why didn’t you tell us about this? Well, I thought you might cancel a surgery. And I said, well, what do you mean your neck’s sore? He said, yeah, it’s real sore. Cuz I really hit my head when I fell coming in.

Oh no. And I said, Okay. What? You know. And so then we sent him down to the ER and he had a broken neck, and the next day he was fused. So here’s some mortgage news for you, . Oh my God. You can, you can operate people that have broken, that have broken necks, . Oh my God. So he, he kept it all quiet from everybody.

Wow. Because he didn’t want anybody to know. And, and the, the, the lady that brings them in didn’t see him fall because she was parking the. So she, you know, she didn’t cover for him. This begs the question, you know that, right? It does beg your question. This begs the question, I think I’m on the same page.

Yeah. What, when can’t you do cataract surgery? What, what would have to be happening for, for you? Not like what? Like when I, if I was, if I had cataracts and I had that cardiac arrest, and they would, could you do you have come in and just do that real quick for me? , or you have to do it? It would be over before I finished cpr.

Just, yeah. Just doing the, uh, moving my head around a little bit. But I mean, that’s, uh, um, wow. Yeah, I know. Well, both of those are just such, they’re just such great old guy stories. Um, you know, there’s, there’s a wiggly spectrum, you know, about the wiggly spectrum. Of course. I’m sure. Hopefully talk to that when you I think, I’m sure.

I don’t know is told me. I don’t know, but he forgot everything. , you know, in terms of wiggs, young men are by far the worst, right? Oh yeah. They wiggle all over the place. Absolutely. Young wo young women are next. Mm-hmm. old women are next, but the best patients to operate on are old men cuz they’re just solid.

Because they can sleep, they sleep anywhere. They can have heart attacks. Yep. They, you’re right. I never really thought about it. You’re right though. They don’t, they do not move. Yeah. At all. And it’s, it’s, it’s great. It’s partially because maybe the wiggly ones die. You were almost wiggly. You almost went out on us.

And now look at how much calmer you are now. . Oh, you’re saying I was wiggly. You were wig wiggly. I was a little bit . Oh, a little bit wiggly. Yeah. And she, she brought you back and now you’re, now you’re. Sorry, I, I think one of my favorite stories of yours, um, was the, uh, the patient who had the aqueous misdirection.

Oh, yes. But you didn’t call it that. Tell that story. . Well, there’s this, um, there was a patient, we were operating just one of my favorite patients, just this super cool, um, fella passed away. And he, um, we were operating on him and everything was going fine. I was with, uh, uh, with this resident and, uh, and, and we started noticing there was more pressure, like the, like the, the inside of the eye had more pressure than usual.

And so, um, and our patients are awake and so we were, we sort of lost track a little bit of the fact that the patient was. and we were, um, we were talking about the possibilities that could, that could cause this increased pressure inside the eye. And they incur, uh, uh, uh, you know, included several things, but one of the things they included is a condition called malignant glaucoma, which basically means there’s a lot of pressure inside the eye from misdirected fluid.

That’s a bad thing. That’s something you don’t want during surgery and you don’t want her surgery. So we, we, we mentioned all these things. We were thinking about it, we were talking it through. And then eventually, um, we were able to complete the case. Um, the patient did well. I didn’t think about it at all.

I didn’t, I didn’t worry about it. I didn’t think about it. So I saw the guy right after the surgery, everything’s fine. And then at a month after the surgery, so a month later, I come in the room, he tells me, close the door. I said, okay. I closed the door. He said, sit down, doctor. And I said, okay. He. Well, when are you gonna tell me about the malignancy

I said, well, what do you mean? He said, I heard you talking during the surgery about that malignancy. And so malignant glaucoma is not a malignancy. Of course, it’s man, it’s just, it’s just a funny term for glaucoma that’s bad. And this poor guy had been thinking about this for a month, that he had a malignancy and.

He was thinking how rude we were for not telling him about it. Right. Yeah, sure. That’s, I like that. I love that story just because, and I, I still think about that story whenever like people start getting a little bit loose in the operating room, just talking about, you know, just, you know, not talking about the patient, just talking about just anything.

And when patients have a little bit of sedation, you know, You, you just, you never know like what they’re gonna hear or how they’re gonna interpret things. And so that story, I always think about that. So let that be a lesson to like, you know, oh yeah. Anybody who operates or does anything on patients who are still awake, you know, you just gotta be careful and just remember that they’re, they’re still awake there.

Well, and the other thing, you don’t realize how charged some of the, you you the words. Right. That’s an obviously charged word. Yeah. You didn’t think about it, but in the context of talking about glaucoma, it’s not quite as charged as it is was for him, you know? Yeah. Patients don’t know what you guys know about what is and isn’t very dangerous, you know, so you always just, when you’re the patient, you assume when you hear so.

Like that, that it’s very bad, but that’s also kind of a classic old man thing, to just let it sit for like a month and not even like, oh, I’m not gonna bother the doctor. Like, I’m sure he’ll tell me about it. Eventually. then, then he sat you down and this, this, this fellow, um, help used to help me with our Iowa I golf tournaments.

This, this, this patient did, he was a, he was a friend of mine too. And, um, we used to stack the IY golf tournament so that my son and I would win and he was always on our team. And basically what we would do is we would change the age at which my son could use the women’s tee to whatever age he was , and then he’d go off to the women’s tee and boom, a winner.

So anyway, the, the, the but the funniest, the funniest thing was we had won this tournament and, uh, and, and, and my son who. 13 or something was on the winning team. And so he, he told my son, he came and said to my son, you need to go up there and, and accept the trophy and give a little speech. And my son’s like, oh, give a speech , and this is a stupid, you know, work, golf tournament.

Nobody gives an acceptance speech. Right? Yeah. So anyway, my son thought he was supposed to, and he went up there and gave the speech and he did exactly what this guy told him to say. And he said, I want to thank my teammates and I want to thank my father for. A wonderful home.

didn’t do exactly what this guy said. It was just such a beautiful memory of mine. I love that. That’s awesome. Anyway, love that. We do get a, uh, to, to get to know our patients in ophthalmology. That’s one of the, one of the highlights, I think, of our field. All right, well, let’s take a little break and then we’ll be right back with Tom ODing.

A big thank you to all of our listeners. This is a new show. Spread the love share with everyone. You know, leave a rating and a review. Be honest. Please tell us what you think. Give us that feedback. Later on we’re gonna be sharing some stories, uh, from you. The listeners. Share yours with us. Knock knock high a human

We also have a Patreon. Come hang out with other members of the community, early access. Uh, check out bonus episodes. We do this, uh, monthly thing of the monthly eye exam that’s right where we react to, uh, to medical shows and movies. It’s great. It’s a lot of fun. I, and we’re over there hanging out. Yeah, that’s right.

So hang out with us. All right. Let’s get back to Dr. Oda.

All right, we are back with, uh, Tom ODing, who is, uh, you know, at the University of Iowa and was my residency program director. We talked earlier, uh, to about, um, about interviews and uh, I thought we’d do something kind of fun here and I thought I would interview you for re. Since you got to interview so many people over the years, so Totally fair.

Yeah. And, and, and, and here’s here’s the setup though. Um, there was some kind of administrative, um, snafu, all right? This was caught recently by the, uh, American Academy, the American Board of Ophthalmology. And, um, they realized that, uh, you actually didn’t, uh, successfully complete your re. All those years ago, something happened.

You didn’t, I don’t know, you, you just took you, you took off. You didn’t tell anybody where you were. You didn’t finish, you didn’t complete your retina rotation. And so, um, and so your residency training is, at this point, Nolan void. . Yeah. But, uh, because you have not saved enough for retirement, you still have to work.

And so, um, true. You now are in a position where you have to apply for residency. Again. This is a big deal. Marguerite is not happy with you, . Um, and so, uh, and now I am the residency program director and we’ll be interviewing you. Okay? Okay. All right. So first, uh, Dr. Oting, actually, you’re not, you’re not really technically a doctor at this point.

You’re, you’re a med student, Mr. Oting. ? No. You’ve, you have, you have finished, you are an md. You are md Yeah. You just are an MD that practiced for like 25 years and now I was trying to go back to residency. Okay. Um, what are your strengths? Well, my strength is, yeah. Um, my main strength is I can really fill out a billing code like you can’t believe.

And I mean, I, I can fill out 30 to 40 billing codes in 15 minutes. , and I, I also know some of the other little special codes that you can get extra money from. And, um, I also know I, I have, I also know important things like, um, When to bring snacks to people. I know that certain technicians get grumbling if they don’t get the right snacks, and I can know, I know how to do that.

You know how to read people. Okay. I can read people. That’s about their snacks. Yeah. That’s good. Yeah. Well, tell us what are your weaknesses? My weakness is, um, there’s certain parts of the eye I’ve never seen

I’ve never seen the real peripheral retina . Does it exist? And my What do you think? I’ll be, I’ll be honest with my, my knowledge of radiology, um, stopped, uh, in the area around the time of CT scans and didn’t include MRIs, , okay. That’s interesting, Dr. ODing. Uh, well I also see on your application, uh, that it’s, it says here, you have not taken primary ophthalmology call in 25 years.

Uh, you have had, uh, residents, sometimes two or even three residents and or fellows take call for you as a barrier between you and having to work while on call. Yeah. Um, how do you think you’ll handle taking primary call in re. Do, do those other people have telephones? . Because, because what I usually do when I, when I get the first call is I, is I figure out somebody else and I, and I transfer the call to them.

best. He’s honest. . Interesting answer. Um, when was the last time you were in an emergency department to see a. It wasn’t me. That wasn’t . That wasn’t, that wasn’t you. Well, usually you can transfer the patients over to the eye clinic and so, um, you know, I, what I would suggest is if they’re, if they’re so sick, they can’t come to the eye clinic, that they’re not ready to come to the eye clinic.

That’s what I would say. They’re not ready for an eye doctor. That’s, that’d be my strategy. That’s a good line. That’s a very, that’s, that’s a great, that’s the, that’s, uh, a statement that only comes with experience. . Yeah. Okay. Um, in your hobbies and interests section on your application, you only listed cataract surgery.

Yeah. Can you do anything else in. Well, like I said, I could do the billing part,

I know how to do the billing part and, and I know that the 66 9 82 and 66 9 84 two codes, . Okay. All right. Um, what does an ideal workday look like for you, ? Well, the ideal workday involves, um, coming in and, uh, and, and. Other people do a lot of work, , and then giving them pep talks, like, you know, Hey, that’s a good job or, and some nice outfit today.

And, and, uh, here’s a, here’s a chocolate for you, . And then, and I like to go the patient’s room and I like to say things like, yes, that doctor is a nice young doctor. . Yes, they, you, they’re from California. That’s a long, that’s a far, far away, away from here, . And I’m gonna leave now and they’re gonna come in and finish.

Okay. And then, and then that’s my ideal workday. , that’s your ideal workday. And then you go home. Okay. Alright. Very interesting. Dr. Oing, um, I read through your personal statement, uh, and I noticed that it’s written in third person. Did you pay a college student to write this for you?

I pity the man that wrote that paper. The personal statement also ends with an interesting sentence. Uh, it ends with the sentence, please. My dad needs this. Did your college-aged kids write this for you, ? Well, I’ve got, I got some sad news for you. My, my, my kids are, are like 32 now, so, yeah. Oh my God.

They’re not, they’re not even college-aged and they’re getting old. Honestly, God, the last thing they need from me is money. That’s the, that’s the truth. So I. I, um, are you asking them for money now? ? Yes. Yes. If I was in this situation, that’s what I would do. I’m be honest with you, , you know, I gave you an out, I tried to like let people believe that you’re younger than you are and then you just, you just threw it back at my face, , so.

We’re clear. You, you are not too smart. All right. Uh, and then, uh, also, yeah, I looked at your, um, uh, your letters of recommendation as well, and Yeah. Yeah. We reached out to some of your colleagues, uh, who wrote letters on your behalf. Uh, one of them, um, said, um, What is this? Why are you asking me to write a letter of recommendation?

And that was it. That was it? Yep. Um, another one, uh, said Dr. ODing, why doesn’t he just retire? Hmm. Um, why don’t you think you got any good recommendations from your, from your colleagues to go back to residency? Jealousy. It’s gotta be jealousy, . It’s gotta be the fact. That, that I already, um, know a lot of stuff about billing and cataract surgery and they don’t want me to know more about other things.

I would think. I would think that’s the answer. I think that All right. Um, well, thank you for, thank you for your time and for, and for coming in. Please enjoy some snacks out in the lobby. Yes. Well, please let me know. I want, I want to know soon if I’m gonna get in. Yeah, you’ll, you’ll be ranked highly, I promise.

And that’s the end. Thank you. That end. That was the end. That’s it. That was good. Uh, I don’t, I don’t think you did very well, . Um, but, uh, you know, better than I thought you’d do. So, so that’s something there. Um, do you, what else? Do you have anything else for Dr. I don’t know, for dogs. What do you wanna tell us about, do you have, tell us what you’re doing.

What, uh, do you have any, uh, any interesting, no. Like right now, what are she doing that you wanna tell us about things happening in your life? Tell us where we can find you on social media. How about that? Well, I, I tell you the, the most interesting thing I’ve been playing with, which I, I think you would love is this, uh, these generative AI things.

I think they’re so. Oh, that you agree with those at all? The speech? Yeah. Yeah. I haven’t played around with it much. Yeah. Oh, it’s so cool. I’ve been playing with that. It’s just so addictive. Um, when I’m not billing, that’s what I’m doing. I just love it. Um, you know, that’s how, that’s how people are gonna be writing their personal statements.

Mm. Well, that, that, or, or, or, or pictures. Images. It’s just so, so incredibly cool. Um, but yeah, I mean, I, we, you know, basically we’ve, uh, uh, we’ve, we had, we just got through with our interview season, so we had our 60 interviews. We went from 600 to 60. And the weird thing we have to do this year is after we put in our list, we’re gonna have an open house.

And so we’ve already put in our list and then people can come in, in see Iowa City. So we’re just hoping for good weather, right? I mean, when are they coming? They’re coming on the 13th of January. So you’re not, you’re not gonna have good weather, Iowa, you’re not gonna have good weather. It’s, it’s January.

So we’re um, but these, but these are the people that are really interested though, right? Yeah, hopefully it would be, it would only be people that were interested cause they’d have to pay their. Right. That’s, that’s a smart move because I remember when he told me that he really liked that program and there’s a good chance we might go there if he matched.

I cried so Well, I mean, it’s calm. She was a bit confused. . Yeah. It’s, it just doesn’t make sense. Why would you, why would you come to Iowa? But then, yeah, once you get to Iowa City and you see everything like it’s, it’s not what you think it will be and it wins you over. Okay. Remind me, I’ll, I’ll record a little video for.

To show on the Oh, that’d be great. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We gotta, we gotta keep the Iowa pipeline, especially any comedian op uh, future ophthalmologists that you interview. You’ll let them, let them know, because I’m, I’m sure there’s many out, many more out there. There was so many this year. We comedian ones, Well, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, yeah, I, you already give us a lot of good press.

I mean, honestly, a lot of people know about you. I mean, everybody knows about you, but a lot of people know you. You’re from Iowa and it helps us trying to spread the good word about the University of Iowa. Yeah. I real, in all seriousness, that’s, that feels like the least we can do cuz you know, There’s not very many residency programs that take such good care of their residents and even the residents families, um, as the ophthalmology residency program in Iowa did so.

Absolutely. And that desk right there that he’s sitting at, I mean, just, I think this really just speaks to, I don’t know if you ever told him this, but, um, I don’t remember why we were in the eye clinic after hours when it was all dark and there was no. Um, but that’s where he sat at your desk and, um, signed the contract that he got offered when he was done with residency and, and got offered a job because I, he wanted to, he wanted to be, that was just a meaningful place for him of everything you had done.

Exactly. That’s so many conversations in that office. It was just, you know, yeah. Specialized special place. And so, so we broke into your office. Yeah, exactly. I, I stole some things. I mean, nothing, nothing good. Um, but, uh, you know, decent, it’s, it’s, uh, he took his stunts hat back. the, um, I mean, I think the fun, the fun thing, uh, about the interview season is it’s kind of renewing.

you know? Yeah. It’s, you, you, you, you meet all these really cool people that, that wanna do our job and of enthusiasm and a lot of enthusiasm, excitement. Yeah. And then, uh, I’m, since you’re obviously not gonna do it, I’m gonna plug your, uh, your, all your social media, um, presence, uh, mainly with your, your.

Surgery videos. So if you’re, if you’re a resident, if you’re interested in Eyes ophthalmology, uh, uh, you know, Dr. ODing is one of the best educators out there. And so, um, uh, cataract Surgery at Cataract surgery, Facebook, Twitter, um, check ’em out. And, uh, thanks so much for joining us. And, uh, we’re gonna have to do it again sometime we got, there’s so many stories like we have that we could go with.

So we’ll save them for the next. So thanks. Good seeing you guys. Yeah, thanks for being here. You too. All right. We’re gonna be back, uh, here in a minute with some of your own medical stories, so stick around.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite medical stories sent in by you, the listeners. Our first story comes from Whitney. I have type one diabetes. I like to prank my endocrinologist, especially when it’s a new endocrinologist. I’ll say things like, you know, I’ve been eating really healthy, but I just can’t get my sugar down.

I’ve been eating a lot of lean meats like chicken and fish and vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, and I even switch to skim milk. I’m doing everything right and I’m just stuck, so. The reason that’s that’s funny is because, uh, with type one diabetes, you don’t make any insulin whatsoever. Mm-hmm. , so it doesn’t matter what you eat.

Oh, , you have to have insulin . So I could see how that would make a, an endocrinologist blood pressure, just like a rise, like, oh my god. Uh, and then she goes on to say, I like to watch their face slide from a polite smile to a frown, to a grimace. When my last endocrinologist moved states and I got assigned to a different one, I walked into the exam room and the first thing she said was, I know about your games

She, uh, did not, uh, care for the games. So , I, I like that. Uh, I think, I think, uh, patients should prank their doctors. Yeah. More frequently. So please, if you, if you prank your doctor, if you have a good one, send them to us please, cuz I love that. I love that we, uh, we take ourselves a little bit too seriously sometimes we gotta lighten up a bit.

All right, so, uh, second story from j and t. My mother was in the intensive care unit. She hadn’t opened her eyes or responded to us for two days. My father was hard of hearing, but too proud to tell the doctor he couldn’t hear what he was being told about my mother’s condition. My brother and I approached the nurse on duty and explained the situation, asking him to please speak up when he talked to my father.

We then went to rejoin dad in my mom’s room. A few minutes later, the nurse came in and boomed, well, hello there. As loudly as he were speaking through a Bullhorn , no. No. My mother’s eyes flew open, and though she settled back into her sleep right after we felt heartened by that sign of life. , the nurse moderated his volume after that, but still took care to make sure my dad.

Could hear everything he was saying. We had some hard months yet to get through with my mom, but that memory is a bright spot that will make us me laugh when I think of it. I love that. Oh my goodness. That’s one, that’s great. little, little overboard. Just tone back. He’s trying. He was trying and, and they, they figured it out together.

So thank you to Whitney and j t for those stories. Send us your stories. Knock-knock. High human

Oh man, I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. No, it was good. It was, uh, good stories. You know, the, the, just like being with someone and talking with someone that you’ve known for a long time. Yeah. And just sharing stories and having those like belly laughs. Right. Even though I, I hope it was funny for you too, the listener, because I found it all hilarious and so, Um, it’s, uh, always good to see him.

You can see how you maybe got to be the way you are if that was your, your role model in ophthalmology. It’s, yeah, I mean, when you’re going through medical training, having a, a program director that, that you can have fun with and that you trust who you know has your back. Yeah, it’s, it’s such an. Part of medical training because it’s a very vulnerable part of life, right?

Because you’re figuring, you’re trying to learn an entire field of medicine and you need support. And sometimes, like I had a ton of support from family, but sometimes you don’t have a lot of support around you. And, uh, and so having that program director, that’s just, it makes a big difference. And so, right.

Especially when I think of, you know, historically Anyway, hopefully it’s maybe changing. I don’t know. But yeah, historically, you know, residency is, is. Easy and it’s, it’s kind of designed to take advantage of the, the resident labor and yeah. So, yeah. You know, having a program director like that who is very focused on wellbeing in addition to your education, I think was, was amazing.

All I’m saying is the University of Iowa ophthalmology is, uh, I mean clearly in my biased opinion, the greatest ophthalmology. Maybe even the greatest residency program in existence. That’s all I’m saying, that that’s, I’m just take it or leave it, however you wanna interpret that. Um, alright, so do you know someone that we should have on the show?

Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Email us, knock-knock high human Visit us on TikTok, Twitter, YouTube. Uh, well, I think that’s, Um, you can also hang out with us in our Human Content Podcast family on Instagram and TikTok at Human Content Pods. Thanks to all the great listeners leaving wonderful feedback, awesome reviews.

We love to see it. We love hearing from you. If you subscribe and comment on your favorite podcasting app or on YouTube, Maybe we’ll give you a shout out. All right. Like today, how about now? Vince m on YouTube said, will you accept veterinarian stories? You may be amazed at how similar the experiences are.

I have heard that from people. I’ve had people ask me to, to make like skits about veterinarian. Um, and so send us some vet stories. I’d love to, uh, to kind of get some parallels, some overlap, you know, talk about what the similarities and differences are between humans and. That’d be great. I’d love to hear it.

Um, let’s see. YouTube. YouTube episodes up every week on my YouTube channel. Uh, Dee Glock Flecking. Uh, we also have a Patreon, tons of Cool Perks bonus episodes where we react to medical shows and movies. Hang out with the Knock, knock high community. We’re there, we’re hanging out, we’re talking with you.

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Thank you for listening. We are your host Will and Kristen Flannery, also known as the Glock and fls. Special thanks to our guests today, Dr. Tom ODing. Our executive producers are Will Flannery, Kristin Flannery, Aron Korney, Rob Goldman, and Shahnti Brooke. Our editor and engineer is Jason Porto. Our music is by Omer Ben.

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