Happy Birthday Betty!

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Happy Birthday Betty!

Today I celebrate the birthday of a good friend, Betty. Betty is my OR nurse, but she also taught me my surgical skills. Happy Birthday!

Betty O turns 80 this month and on Friday we celebrated her birthday.  Betty is an operating room (OR) nurse and works with me at Woodburn Surgical Center in Fairfax, Virginia.  Her specialty is Ophthalmology.   She pioneered the development of the retina service at Fairfax hospital in the early 1970’s.

Who is Betty O

Betty has been an OR nurse for 59 years.  She has taught most of the Ophthalmologists in the DC metro area, including myself, as our residency training rotated us through Fairfax Hospital.  I spent about half my residency there and remember the long nights of assisting retina doctors with their cases.  For some reason, retina surgery could only be done at night.

So, 3-4 nights a week, I’d be in the OR assisting retina surgery enduring the “wrath” of Betty.  I often wondered why she never took a night off.

In short, Betty would make sure that I “behaved.”  By that I mean, I learned proper operating room etiquette, what to touch, what not to touch, how to assist the surgeon, proper care and use of the instruments, etc.

Woodburn Surgical Center

Most retina surgery is now performed in an outpatient surgical center as we no longer require hospital stays.  We are separate from the hospital which allows us to give our patients a more personalized experience.  The setting is smaller and cozier, too.

Betty still works full time.  As I am now the attending physician (one who has completed training), she keeps a watchful eye on the residents and students that “dare” to step into “our” retina room!

Betty still takes care of me.  She makes sure that we are prepared for all of my patients, making sure we have the right instruments and supplies, and especially…making sure the patient’s needs are met.

Birthday Party

Betty says she never had a birthday party.  In a way, I believe it, because she is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met.  We had a  surprise party and had one of our famous “pot-luck” lunches to celebrate.  I made my favorite barbecue ribs.

What Does This Mean? In this fast paced age of digital media and time where people may actually never meet face-to-face (a la social media), it was nice to have a real celebration.  We had something real to celebrate.

For me, it was a reason to celebrate someone so special to me, my career and my patients.  For the center, it was a way to say thank you for showing us that dedication and loyalty still exist.

I wrote today to share Betty’s birthday with all of you.  Maybe this will be her “15 minutes.”  If you do know Betty,  let this serve as a small reminder to say “Happy Birthday!”

Happy Birthday my friend!

Comments
  • Sondra Unverferth October 5, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Way to go, Betty! She has provided an invaluable service for so many years.

  • Sheree Lopez October 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful nurse. I too learned everything I know about opthalmology surgery for the queen herself Betty…….I can remember her saying….”if you do everything I say I can have you through this service in two weeks”…..Congrats Betty!

  • Celeste Kennedy October 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    What a privilage & honor it is to be able to work with an icon! Betty is the master at what she does…as a scheduler, many of the requests I receive for eye surgeries are often complex and confusing. “Better than Google Betty” is my “go to girl”…she is always available & happy to share her knowledge! Betty is truly a gem to work with! We love you, Betty!!!

  • Chip Perkins October 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Happy Birthday Betty. Speaking as a “repeat” patient, you are the best careprovider a patient could hope to have! You’ve always taken the time to answer my questions and reassure me about the procdure. Your grace, professionalism and your wonderful personality always made me feel comfortable as a patient. I wish you continued success and happiness! And, you always have the best looking scrubs on the surgical team.

  • JoAnne Kelch October 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to an amazing OR nurse. I worked with Betty for many years. Happy Birthday Betty.

  • Ann Marie Bartholme October 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Betty is truly amazing and we are blessed to work with such a special person. Dr. Wong – you and Betty are the ultimate duo. Superb tribute to her!

  • Vannette Poole October 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    How awesome is this tribute to one of the most selfless, knowledgeable and tireless person I know. Someday, I hope to “grow up like Betty” in her ability to work us all into the ground and us groaning loudly, “uncle” while she continues like the energizer bunny. My congratulations for a very happy happy bithday Betty – may the vodka run like water.

  • Lois Shanks October 9, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Very nice. Great job Betty and Happy Birthday

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