Use It Or Lose It

Use It Or Lose It

As a surgeon, it is of utmost importance during these unprecedented times, for me to try to keep my skills intact. My surgery schedule has essentially been canceled in order to protect the health and safety of my patients as well as those involved in their care. But rest assured that I have been diligently maintaining my skills in useful, and creative ways.

Precise and meticulous knife skills are, of course, paramount to a surgeon. To keep my knife skills sharp, I have been doing a lot more cooking, much to my family's delight.

We hand surgeons have always prided ourselves on our ability to delicately handle skin and soft tissues, much as a plastic surgeon would. For this skill in fine details, I have taken up a beading project, involving the smallest sewing needles and beads and sequins I've even seen. Yes, they are Christmas ornaments, but I do think this is going to take me the rest of the year to complete! If any of you want to see what the finished product will look like, check out this Etsy Advent calendar.

And yes, at heart, I am still an orthopaedic surgeon, and this requires certain manual strength combined with attention to detail. I have taken some of my extra time at home to work on a long-term project that has been in the works for several years now. This colorful mosaic will hopefully one day adorn the ugly concrete bench that dominates my front patio.

In the end, what we do is take things that are broken and put them back together again. One of my new roles has been home educator for my 6-year old. Recently, I led a session for her and her 5-year old cousin on Archaeology. Something you may not know about me is that I majored in Art History at Stanford. One of my favorite classes was a seminar on Greek vases. A very specialized area of Art History, for sure. (Kind of like Hand Surgery in the grand field of Orthopaedics?!) So, I was thrilled to share my love of Greek vases with these kids. They then painted their own pot, joyfully smashed them to pieces, and then tried to put them back together again. Future orthopaedic surgeons in the making, perhaps?

So, as you can see, I am doing what I can not to "lose it", in more ways than one! I hope all of you are doing the same, and taking some time to be creative and artistic. It has been a joy to feel the creative juices flowing again - a small silver lining in this storm. Stay well, everyone.




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  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH)
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)