January 8, 2021

Recently, I had an inspiring experience and learned a great lesson from a surgeon that I met through Zoom telehealth. I injured my right knee on hiking several weeks ago and went to my orthopedist for diagnosis. She did an X-ray and MRI and concluded that I have a lateral meniscus tear and need a surgery. She said that the tear would get bigger in the future and my knee would not go back to the original state if no surgery is done. At the end, she said, “OK young lady, make an appointment for a surgery and I will meet you there”.

I made a second opinion appointment with other surgeon who is regarded as one of the Atlanta’s best surgeons.  He used a picture of human body on a wall in his office and explained where the tear is and why I should do the surgery. He also said that my tear wouldn’t be cured by exercises. He was very pleasant, thorough, and nice.

Those two are both Atlanta’s well known practices and great doctors.

Right after I made the second opinion appointment, my friend who made an Aliyah was in town and visited me. She saw me limping and talked about her surgeon who operated on her knee. She enthusiastically praised him how wonderful he was. I originally didn’t plan to get the third opinion but due to her enthusiasm about this doctor, I decided to give a try. Though people often visit me for counselling of managing their wealth and to get a second opinion, this is one of the first experiences that I seek for the second or the third opinion.

Before a Zoom call, I uploaded my MRI result and the original doctor’s note to the third doctor’s portal. When the Zoom call started, the doctor’s assistant initially appeared and asked me about my allergies and medications. Soon after, the doctor’s nurse appeared to the screen and asked me what I do for living and what kind of exercises I do. She also asked me how to pronounce my name. She said that they are a little behind and apologized for the delay.  I don’t remember the last time when someone at a doctor’s office apologized for the delay. Soon after that, Dr. X showed up on the screen with big smile.

He started with mentioning about a book that he used to love whose author shared the same last name as mine. My nervousness to meet with the chief doctor at Emory’s Sport Medicine went away very quickly. Then he asked me to stand up with my right leg only and twist my body toward left and right. He also asked me how much pain I would have if he were with me and pushing my right knee down to the ground and stretch it to top and bottom. He asked me whether I am working with PT and what kind of exercises I am doing with her and at home. No other doctor asked me that kind of lifestyle questions.

Totally surprisingly, he said that he wouldn’t recommend a surgery for me. He said that it’s much more important that I ride stationary bike or swim and do more aggressive muscle training than a surgery. Then he asked me where I live and recommended a great PT near my house. At the end, looking at Mt. Fuji picture on my wall, he asked me whether I am Japanese. When I said yes, he told me how much he and his daughter were looking forward to make a trip to Japan this year, especially a city, Sapporo and eat their favorite food, uni.

I decided to listen to Dr. X’s recommendation and not to perform the surgery. No other doctor was interested in carrying non-knee related conversations. With the 10 minutes Zoom call, I felt that I bonded with Dr. X deeply and trust him. If he were to recommend a surgery, I would have definitely scheduled it with him. It was a delightful experience since though it was a Zoom call, he had me do this move and that move while in person meetings, other doctors did not ask me to perform any movement.

I learned the importance of connecting with people emotionally. He basically tried to connect with me in a human level, not as a knee surgeon. As a wealth manager, we tend to try to show off our knowledge and impress our clients with our investment knowledge. But that’s not what makes us a great advisor.  Through this experience, I vow that I will be a better advisor by caring sincerely about each and every client not only for their finances but also for who they are as human beings.

Thank you Dr. X for your greatness!