For most of us the holidays are a time when things slow down. We get time off work, we spend time with family and friends, and generally get some much-needed R & R.
Our surgeons do much of the same but they’re also juggling things like being on call for emergencies at the hospital alongside family obligations, and being there for our patients if there’s anything at all that they might need.
We thought it would be fun to get a little glimpse of what the holidays are like for Dr. Ahmad and Dr. Austin, so we sat down with the two of them and chatted about everything from holiday injuries to favourite holiday movies.
What cases do you typically see at the hospital at this time of year?
Dr. Austin: We’ll usually see emergency injuries, you know cuts to hands, people will cut their hands carving a turkey, or also with some aggressive present opening with knives. I’ve seen some terrible snow blower injuries, that’s why I only use a shovel – so yeah there are definitely some holiday themed injuries happening.
Dr. Ahmad: Yeah, I’ve seen some similar things, but also cooking injuries, home renovation injuries, people like doing things around the house over the holidays. I’ve seen some unskilled saw injuries, and then your typical, you know, slip and fall injuries (icy sidewalks), and the occasional broken wine glass, ouch.
How do you juggle work and family obligations during this special season?
Dr. Ahmad: I don’t. LOL. That’s basically true most years. I mean we get time off over the holidays, so I really just try to make the most of the days that the clinic is closed. Sometimes I come in for post-op appointments if necessary, but generally I try to keep my days off as days free of work obligations and focus on my family.
Dr. Austin: Yeah, it’s tough. I’m actually on call at the hospital for the whole week over Christmas this year, so it’s definitely a juggling act. But like Jamil said, when I do have the time off I try to make sure it’s really true time off just for my family and myself. It can be very go go go, and during this time of year it’s often busier than ever and some brief time off is essential. This year I’m really going to try to take advantage of the days the clinic is closed and rest up before things start up again for 2021.
What is your favourite holiday meal?
Dr. Austin: On Christmas morning we have this tradition in my family of eating chocolate croissants, which is I think probably one of my favourite things that we do. I’m definitely partial to turkey at Christmas and Thanksgiving but chocolate croissants on Christmas morning is just one of those special unique things we do in our family.
Dr. Ahmad: Whatever delicious food my wife makes. I love these cinnamon and cardamom buns that she makes. I also enjoy a really nice beef tenderloin for Christmas.
What is your favourite holiday tradition?
Dr. Ahmad: For me it’s really a combination of things. I love having meals together; you know, Christmas Eve dinner. We usually have this Christmas day brunch smorgasbord, after the kids open the presents, sometimes our parents come over, depending on who’s around.
Dr. Austin: We have this tradition of getting together with close family on Christmas Eve, and this year we’re welcoming a new generation (our baby girl) into that tradition. We won’t be able to do it this year, so I’m really looking forward to doing it next year.
This year is obviously exceptional, and a lot of things are different. What kinds of things are different for you and what do you look forward to experiencing again around the holidays in a post-vaccine world?
Dr. Austin: We’re actually moving next week with the baby. I’m not really sure we really thought that through, but oh well, we’ll get through it. Anyway, things will be in boxes, so it won’t be a traditional Christmas this year for a lot of reasons. So next year we’re really looking to celebrate a more traditional Christmas all moved in and settled into our new home, and to being able to celebrate with family and friends again.
Dr. Ahmad: For me it’s twofold: it’s getting together with friends and family for holiday parties. We do this glogg party every year with our neighbours, which is super fun – glogg is this Scandinavian hot spiced wine. So I’ll miss all those great holiday parties, but I’ll also miss things like going to our kids’ Christmas concerts. I can’t wait to do that again next year.
Has anyone ever tried to gift plastic surgery for Christmas?
Dr. Austin: I’m sure they have. I haven’t personally experienced it, but I have had patients come in around the holidays saying that this is a gift for themselves. I’ve also had patients where the surgery is a gift from one family member to another, or just simply shared decision-making about someone close to you getting cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Ahmad: I’ve also never experienced this directly, I’ve never operated on someone who said that it was gifted, but sometimes you get people saying their boyfriends are paying for it or someone else is paying for it. Things like that.
You two have another Instagram Live coming up. What should people know about it?
Dr. Austin: We’ve been doing IG Live on the @theplasticsurgeryclinic Instagram account. It’s often the two of us chatting and going back and forth about the types of surgeries we do and people trying to get a word in edgewise. LOL.
Dr. Ahmad: Yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of Q&A IG Lives where our followers send in their questions ahead of time and we go through them throughout the live and answer questions coming in during it. It usually runs for about 45 minutes. We talk about all the different surgeries we do at the clinic. We’ve actually got one coming up on December 15th so tune in!
Final question. What is your favourite holiday movie?
Dr. Ahmad: Love Actually, that’s a Christmas movie, right? And, you know those stop motion animation movies we watched growing up, like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and in it the elf’s dad is a dentist, remember that? Love those.