Well, we’ve almost completed our first week of the new practice! Oh, boy! I am pretty exhausted. And I feel like I have ADD. One minute I’m discussing surgery with a patient, the next fine-tuning the process of ordering tests, next hanging a scope sterilization caddy on the wall, next minute learning about Google Adwords.
It’s like when you are trying to clean your house and you move the blanket to your bedroom, only to see a cup that needs to go to the kitchen, and in the kitchen is your child’s backpack that needs to go to their room. Like that. But it’s every day, all day. 7a-7p. I am not really stopping for meals, just working and grazing.
It’s all-consuming. I can’t stop thinking about the new practice and trying to get every little thing just the way that I think it should be. I know that the day is coming when I will again mostly be spending my time practicing medicine, my first love, and spending less time on the business part, which I like, but it wears me out. It doesn’t feed my soul the same way.
I do love it, though. Building something. Creating a business and a place of healing. Helping people with their bladder problems. Yes, I’m a doctor who hasn’t lost the drive and satisfaction to help people. That is what keeps me from burn-out. Keeps me going no matter what frustration comes along. It is just the best feeling to have a patient smiling and hugging you, because she doesn’t need to wear pads anymore.
I love that I’m also able to employ some great women and (hopefully) help them realize the life that they dream of. And I couldn’t do any of this without their dedication. I truly get so much more from them than I give to them. We have a great team, and everyone has the vision to fulfill the mission of our practice. And we have a lot of silly fun as seen on the Facebook page.
Some of the challenges and frustrations that we’ve encountered: Well, day one, the Comcast internet wasn’t working. In fact it has gone down a couple more times since then. We have a new modem now, so hopefully that will help. And hey, Comcast sent me a $20 credit today! Internet is essential because our medical records are cloud-based. Thank goodness that Methodist has a free guest wifi. Otherwise, I’d have to pay for a backup internet service.
Challenge two: As much as we tried to learn the new Kareo electronic health records (EHR) ahead of time, there is just no way to know all the ins and outs until you go live. Day 4 now, it is getting much easier. We have figured out some good shortcuts.
Challenge three: Today we started using our Phreesia pads. I was hoping they would be ready Monday, but they weren’t. Another lesson in letting go of the desire for perfection! These are like ipads that patients use to check in and pay their co-pay. Very cool. At first, they didn’t work too well, but by the end of the day we were starting to see the light. Patients seem to like them. Decreasing paper waste!
We started out the week with one patient per hour so that we would have plenty of time to figure everything out and that was key. I’m still going to limit the number of patients for a while until we really start to feel like we are getting efficient. The patients have been so wonderful and patient with us. Sweet ladies.
I say we’re off to a good start! I think we are all tired and longing for the smooth-running machine that we all know we are capable of. It will take some time, but each day gets a little easier. It’s like the beginning of a run when you are sucking wind and just want to slow down or stop. BUT, if you can get past mile 3, the breathing gets easier, you reach your stride, and then you are cruising for the long run.
When I first signed up for a urology rotation in medical school, I thought I was going to spending the next 6 weeks seeing old men with prostate cancer. I really was not interested in urology at that time, but I needed something to fill my fourth year schedule. What I really wanted to do was anesthesiology: putting in IVs and breathing tubes, lots of fun procedures.
But, the anesthesia rotation was already spoken for. So, now what? Well, I was planning to be a gynecologist, so I thought, well, at least if I do urology, then I’ll get more exposure to the pelvic anatomy. Get a refresher course on all the blood vessels and structures. That will be helpful, right? Even if it is just old men and their prostates.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even then I didn’t realize just how wrong I was. Now as I sit here practicing not just urology, but 100% female urology, it is ironic that I thought that it was only prostates!
Of course, urology does encompass prostates in men. It includes everything in the urinary tract from the kidneys through the bladder and out the urethra. Urologists have medical treatments and all kinds of surgeries to treat patients. We treat patients from birth through death, men and women, boys and girls for everything from bedwetting to terrible cancers. It is a great variety surrounding that one part of the body. That’s the reason I fell in love with urology and switched from my pursuit of gynecology.
Female Urology, of course, focuses on the female urological tract. We don’t have prostates, so we don’t need to worry about that (thank God!), but we do have other issues. The most common issue that we have is overactive bladder and incontinence. God made us with short urethras (the pipe that the urine comes through) and a big opening in our pelvis muscles to allow us to have babies. If that opening gets stretched out, such as after having babies, then we start to have problems with organs dropping and having a difficult time controlling our urine. Sometimes it happens even if one has had only C-sections, or has no children.
Female urology is here to help with that! We have everything from physical therapy to medications to surgery to pacemakers, Botox and more. It is a very exciting time because we have some very effective treatments for this now, whereas ten years ago, the options were very limited. You don’t have to live with those pads your whole life!
That is not all that Female Urology entails. It also includes urinary tract infections, painful bladder conditions, kidney stones, evaluation of blood in the urine, slow urinary stream, bladder and kidney tumors, and more.
There is even now a subspecialty, in which I am certified, called Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, which focuses on certain conditions of the pelvic floor, especially prolapse (dropped organs) and incontinence. There are even more advanced surgeries that can be used to treat these conditions, including robotic surgery, which I have been doing for several years with beautiful results (beautiful from a pelvic surgeon’s perspective!).
Over the last twelve years, I have narrowed my urology practice down to females only. I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice. I get to treat some lovely women and see them get their life back: from a life of pads and worrying about where every bathroom is to urine control. And for others, it is helping them with infections, pain, stones, or reassuring them that the blood found in the urine isn’t serious for them. Female Urology is my complete career focus and my mission.
As 2015 draws to a close, I can’t help but look back on this year and think about how far Houston Female Urology has come since we first opened in July 2014. This year we celebrated our one-year anniversary. That’s one year in the books as the only urology practice in Texas that exclusively serves women. This is something that makes my team so proud. It’s an honor to help our patients get their lives back and say goodbye to urological issues every day.
This year we also added the MonaLisa Touch laser – a leading edge treatment that resolves gynecologic health issues often caused by menopause. I offer this as an in-office procedure that is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia. I am excited to be one of the first physicians in Houston to offering this treatment to help postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors. (We are also thrilled that the Houston Chronicle covered our story!)
I love interacting with my patients. One way I did this in 2015 was through free seminars. My team organized two amazing events where our patients (and their friends!) were able to gather and learn more about urological issues and treatment options. We had drinks, snacks, door prizes – the events were so successful that I’m already planning more free events for 2016!
Giving back is something that is really important to my practice. This year we gave new athletic clothing wear and monetary donations to Houston Area Women’s Center. We prayed that these donations would bless the women who receive them as they break free from domestic abuse and start a new life.
So as the year winds down and Christmas approaches, I pray for real joy and peace for the whole world. So much heartache has happened in 2015, and it reminds me of the poignant lyrics of the Christmas song, Oh Holy Night – “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Take time to rest and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. This is a time for joy – God reached down to touch mankind.
Enjoy your fresh start to a new year, and come see me in 2016! I can’t wait to continue providing the same great care to my patients.
Hello, I am Dr. Christina Pramudji. I am a urologist who is a female who only does female urology, and I LOVE it! This is where I intend to blog about female urology, about the conditions that many women have, the treatments that can help them, and about my journey into solo practice. Thank you for reading my blog!
As we blow out the candles, I am so incredibly proud of the way Houston Female Urology has grown over the last year. With God’s grace and guidance, we helped more women than ever get their lives back to normal so they can continue to do the things they love to do.
We are still the only practice in Texas dedicated entirely to Female Urology and Pelvic Restoration.
In case you’re wondering what we have been up to this year, here are some of the great ways we have grown:
1,000 new patients
That’s a lot of women! We are honored to have such a huge increase in the number of women who place their trust in our staff. From the bottom of our hearts…thank you.
Exceptional new staff
We are beyond fortunate to have added Rosemary Pinkard as our nurse practitioner. Patients continue to tell us how comfortable they feel in Rosemary’s care. She is one of a kind.
Another amazing addition is Stephanie, our LVN. Stephanie is a dream-come-true for surgery scheduling and triage.
We also added more front desk specialists to make sure your phone calls are answered quickly and your check-in process runs smoothly. And in just a few weeks, online patient registration will be available.
New clinic for Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)
It’s the problem many women don’t want to talk about, but it is real and it happens to more women than you think. Click here to find out how we can help.
New technology: ThermiVa
Women can’t say enough great things about their results from this painless treatment for vaginal restoration and urine leakage.
“I was tired of worrying about peeing in my pants every time I go running, but I really didn’t want surgery. Dr. Pramudji told me about ThermiVa and it has made a world of difference. I had no idea it was such a simple fix.” -35 year old woman
“Intercourse was so painful that I completely avoided it. Now the problems with pain and dryness are gone and I feel great!” -45 year old woman
Click here to learn about this amazing nonsurgical procedure.
As we look toward our fourth year, our birthday wish is to continue providing the very best in pelvic care. There’s truly nothing better than watching women’s lives change for the better, and we are so grateful to be able help.
Our wonderful patients and referring physicians are the best gifts we could ever receive. Thank you for trusting us. We can’t wait to see what the next year holds!
Cheers to a healthy you!
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