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A picture speaks volumes

Q. I am a bit concerned. I had my eye surgery done a few weeks ago by a surgeon. I am doing well but have a question. While I was recovering I had a lot of swelling a few days after surgery. When I called him to see what I should do, he asked me a few questions and asked me to send him a picture via my phone. He then called me back and told me not to worry and that I was OK. What do you think of this, and do you think he should have met me in his office?

I think he did the right thing as long as you were comfortable with it. With the advent of technology, there are many ways to deal with patients that make the post-operative experience much more comfortable. I have done the exact thing with my patients over the past few years. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and, in your case, it saved you a lot of discomfort. When I get a call from a patient I ask important questions as it pertains to a particular surgery. If the answers do not arouse concern, I will ask the patient to send me a picture. The picture only confirms that the situation is not critical, but a normal variant of the recovery process. By having my patient send me a picture I accomplish a few objectives. One, I do not make the patient get out of bed and have to move at a time when they may be very uncomfortable. Two, I can assure the patient that everything is going well. And finally, I can get a good night’s sleep knowing that my patient is fine. I only go back to sleep if my patient feels comfortable with the assessment and does not feel like he or she wants to see me.

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