OPS Blog

Looking back at 2020.

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Given the state of the world this year, I thought that I might add my own (unsolicited!) insights as to how COVID-19 has impacted my outlook and my practice. Before COVID, the year started off very well professionally for me, but my family suffered a terrible challenge and were faced with the crushing news of a critically ill child. The experience was very sobering and terrifying for us, and gave me a deeper insight to being on the other side of the healthcare equation.   

As if this wasn’t enough, all hell broke loose in March with the unprecedented effects of a global pandemic. At first there was a sense of disbelief, and the mistaken assurance that all would be well within a few weeks. Of course, this proved not to be the case, and had far-reaching impacts on all of us. My practice was no exception, and I saw my beloved practice that I had built over the past two decades shrink down to an almost non-existent trickle. As did many of us, I found myself with an undesired excess of free time, a business and staff to sustain for an indefinite period of time, anxious and disappointed patients who had to postpone or cancel their treatments and surgeries, and most of my kids returned back home. Laid on top of this was the need to care for an ailing parent confined in a retirement facility, who required attention, love and stimulation in the face of rigorous restrictions, so it’s been a year!

Having got all of that negative stuff off my chest, I prefer to look at the positives of this experience, as all plastic surgeons must be optimists at heart! As mentioned, I did gain an up-close dose of empathy through my son’s illness.  Though I don’t believe that it is necessary for a doctor to experience such things firsthand to have empathy for their patients, it has made me stronger and will also make my son (who is doing much better now) a better physician in the future. My free time allowed me to tend to all those neglected chores and tasks at home. This got old quickly, though, and when I caught myself pressure-washing the pressure-washer, I knew that I had to come up with a better plan! We are lucky enough to have a home gym, so I spent a good amount of time suffering in the basement, but in the end, I know this will pay off! 

Having almost all my kids at home was an unexpected bonus as well. My wife and I have been empty nesters for a few years, and I must say that watching our kids grow up and succeed as young adults is bittersweet. While we are delighted with their successes, it is traumatic to watch your greatest projects break away on their own, and we did not expect to ever have (almost) all of our kids home for an extended period of time, at the same time. We really reconnected as a family and enjoyed being together. Unfortunately, my one wayward son is studying overseas and it was not possible for him to come home due to COVID-19 and his program’s restrictions—we likely will not be able to see him for some time yet, so Facetime has to suffice. At present, I am returning from beautiful Vancouver, having helped my eldest relocate to a new job, and the nest is empty again. I also caught up on online drum lessons, which has been a pastime of mine since I was a kid, and I think that I am at the top of my game right now.  

Professionally, there were a huge number of available online courses and seminars for plastic surgery during the lockdown, and I really took advantage of these to update my skills and knowledge; focusing on facial and eyelid surgeries, the latest on breast enhancement and body contouring, and Brazilian butt lifts. I also caught up on some of my research projects and journal reading. However, what was most informative to me was how important performing surgery is to me. To comprehend, since med school at age 21 and residency beginning at age 25, the longest I have gone without operating at least two days each week, and some weeks more, has been two weeks. The hiatus of almost four months out of the operating room was a shock to my system and reaffirmed my love of surgery and my need to perform it. After more than 21 years of practice, people start to ask if you have thoughts of retirement. I was always surprised by this question as even though I have become one of the more senior plastic surgeons in the city, I still feel like the new guy.  Being out of the OR for this long confirmed that operating is something that I must do, as long as I am capable of upholding my standard of excellence. Fortunately, I have been able to resume the work that I love and am almost caught up with the tremendous backlog of patients who were postponed or rescheduled.  

I also must give tremendous credit to my dedicated staff, who managed to keep the practice alive during the long months of lockdown and have all stayed loyal even though times were tough.  We are all now back and busier than ever and have gained a renewed appreciation of our patients, and the work that we provide.  

Suffice it to say that none of us are immune to the impact of a global pandemic, but there is always a bright spot even when things seem bleak. We will persevere and get through this challenge, and hopefully will emerge from it a bit stronger and wiser!  

Stay safe out there,

H. Silverman, MD

Comments

  1. You can only be a strong as you are, your son has this in the bag he is strong and he will overcome this! I pray for nothing but a fast and healthy recovery for you and your family.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I am so glad to hear that your son is doing better. Hope 2021 is a good year for you and your family.

  3. Dear Dr Silverman
    I met you only once a decade ago for a consult and I liked you immediately. This raw , transparent account of both your professional and personal life reaffirms my initial impression of you.
    I hope your family and business both emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.
    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story
    Dianne Dillon.

    1. Dr. Silverman,
      Thank you for sharing your story. It is a blessing to hear your story as we are all human and it makes the world a better place to have to courage to share, care and be true.
      Have a wonderful new year,
      Isabelle and Bjarne

  4. Loved your blog. It was nice to know you better. Wishing a beautiful 2021. Stay safe Dr Silverman and to your team.

  5. Very touching reflection of 2020.
    Resilience, kindness and strong together!

    All the best in what life might bring next!

    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Your transparency is heart warming and motivating. Thank you for all you and your team do to make us our best. We therefore wish you and your family the best for 2021!! Don’t retire!!! We all still need your patience, compassion, your expertise and your outstanding talent!! Stay well, stay safe!!

  7. Thank you for sharing very touching and the fact that you never gave up inspires people for sure good luck with the future and nice to hear your son is doing much better

  8. Beautiful. Makes me trust you more for when I decide to get my wanted surgery done. My thoughts and prayers for your child. May 2021 be a much more hopeful and happy year. All the best to you and your fabulous team!
    Emma Good

  9. Good morning, thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights., so interesting to read. Covid 19 has really made all of us think a little differently, and took some of us off the hamster wheel! Hope you have a wonderful and successful 2021! You mentioned eye lid surgery??? Lol, I will be thinking hard on that one! !
    All the best!

  10. Thank you Dr. Silverman. All the best to you and your loved ones in the coming new year. As for all our loved ones 🙂

  11. Dr. Silverman, your family and patients are fortunate to have you in their lives.

    I wish you and yours the best in 2021 and onward. (Luved the pressure washer comment.)

    😊

  12. Beautiful write-up Dr. Silverman!
    You are an exceptional surgeon and the world needs your talent for a few more years…no retirement yet, lol
    Thanks for sharing your son’s story, family is soo important.
    Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed 2021!

  13. A beautiful commentary of how life shows us that we are just human beings who are not protected from life challenges. The story shows that you are a compassionate human being no matter your title of Doctor or your accolades.I have had the privlege of being your patient over many years.I will always remember what you said to me after my third revision after what was suppose to be a routine Tummy Tuck.I remember you saying every Doctor has that one patient that they have no answer to why there case is so difficult. I was that patient. After my last cosmetic procedure, (Breast lift and new implants)you told me that I was coming to the end of any other procedures. If you remember me as your patient, I think you know you will be seeing me again.

    Thank You,
    Bonnie Belanger

  14. Thank you for sharing…it certainly has been a year! It’s always good to focus on the positive despite our frustration with the status quo. Thoughts and prayers for your son’s recovery.

  15. You are an exceptional person and surgeon. Thank you shearing your feelings and some of your life moments with us.
    Wish you and your family all the best on 2021, lots of joy, health, ans success 🌹🌹🌹

  16. All the Best to you and your Family in 2021 . May your practice and team continue to thrive despite these difficult times .

  17. Dear Dr. Silverman,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I was wondering if you did total body lifts? I have lost 100lbs and would like to have a tummy tuck, get rid of my bat wings to start. I had a lap band put in Aug 2010 so it took me 8 years to lose the 100 lbs and the last 2 years I’ve been stuck trying to lose more but failing. So do you do those surgeries or can you recommend another top notch surgeon who does?

    1. Hi Sonia,
      Yes, we treat many post weight loss patients, and the surgery is tailored to your unique needs after weight loss. Dr. Silverman would come up with a specific plan for you during a consultation. It’s possible to treat a few different areas during one surgery, depending on the patient. If you’d like to book in with Dr. Silverman, please give us a call at (613) 792-4137.

  18. Wow, hopefully your son will be back on track very soon.
    Vous avez pratiqué votre français aussi?
    Je vous renvoie bientôt. En attendant,prenez du bon temps pour vous et les vôtres.
    Une excellente année 2021 dans la santé.

  19. Thank you for the share , I look forward to booking in for my appointment once I build the confidence to do so. Peace to you and the awesome team.

    Ken

  20. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. Here’s to 2021! All the best to you and your family and staff in the new year! ❤️

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. I lost my husband in January of 2020 so this has been a terrible year for me. Still trying to deal with my grief. Hope that 2021 is more caring to all of us. All the Best to you, your staff and your Family. Joanne

  22. You play drums 😲‼️ LoL , I had no idea 🙆
    Wishing you and your family a blessed and better New Year 🎊🎉🎊
    See you next year 🤗

  23. Thanks very much for sharing your experiences of COVID and the past year. The great thing about challenges is they are always accompanied by opportunities – it’s up to use to take advantaged of that. It’s lovely to see that you have done so. Here’s to the new year 🙂

  24. Thanks or sharing your story and struggles. We all have been touched in some way this past year, however I believe it’s how we rise above and show gratitude for what we have; family, friends and health are blessings.

    Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy New Year.

    Lisa

  25. Awww…you’re the best!!!! Thanks for sharing the challenges you’ve endured, along with positive insights. A positive mindset and perspective is everything!!! I’m particularly glad that you’ve been brushing up on Brazilian Butt Lifts – I’m in your queue when the OR opens! Lol 😂 Oh – and I’ve been maintaining my abs from our tummy tuck…my trainer now yells: “Do it for Dr. Silverman!”

  26. Many thanks for sharing this with us.
    We’re looking forward to the next time we see you.
    All the best for 2021
    John & Ann Shier

  27. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt message. Despite the terrible year you and your family had you still managed to find the positives in life. I wish you and your family a much better year for 2021 as well to all your wonderful staff.😀

  28. I appreciate you sharing all of this information about you. You have such a positive outlook on things. You and your wife have certainly had quite a year!

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