A Day With Dr. Yu/Blog #3

A Day with Dr. Yu

After spending my first few days going in and seeing patients with Dr. Sims, he allowed me to spend some time with a physician with a separate specialty: otology. Otolaryngology is the study of ear, nose and throat, while otology is the study of the ear.


Dr. Yu is a younger and more recently certified physician than some of the other physicians at UI Health’s ENT department. He told me he is originally from Canada, and commutes from Oak Park everyday. He has a great sense of humor, but was able to turn it on and off and ask me serious questions about myself and my medical career aspirations. One thing that really stuck with me was his concept of “buying in early,” meaning if you really want to go into the medical field, you need to really be sure about it. It takes a lot of years to be able to practice, and you sacrifice so much time, energy, and other opportunities, which is fine if you’re passionate about medicine, but if it’s not, you might be wasting your time. This kind of hit me deeply. I thought about how expensive medical school is and how long that and residency and fellowship programs will take me, and in comparison to my old undergraduate peers who will all be able to have careers right out of college and make money and be able to vacation. As of now, I feel the sacrifice will be worth it…


Something that a lot of people don’t consider is the importance of hearing, and what kind of world people who are deaf and hard of hearing live in. Dr. Yu and myself are both hard of hearing. We both can hear with our ears naturally, but benefit tremendously when utilizing a hearing aid. Think of all of the sounds you hear daily; think of the softest sounds you hear, like leaves rustling in the wind, a simple whisper, or even something falling in the background. These are all sounds I struggle to hear without the usage of an aid. Hearing is important to comprehension of the world around you, and this is part of the reason that Dr. Yu wanted to specialize in otology.


Seeing patients with Dr. Yu was a bit different than with Dr. Sims. With Dr. Sims, he sees primarily American patients who are vocalists. A lot of them are pastors, gospel singers, teachers. Whereas with Dr. Yu, he gets a very mixed group, and a decent number of people who don’t speak English a all. To combat this issue, Dr. Yu utilizes a wheeled monitor with a webcam to call someone from a company that translates. I never thought about how a doctor would interact with patients if there is a language barrier. It is nice to see that they still have access to the same resources despite not being able to speak the same language.


I thought it was really interesting to see the inside of patient’s ears. After adjusting the otoscope, Dr. Yu was able to show me different ear drums and ear canals, and what was wrong with them. After seeing patients, he even brought up one of my hearing tests from almost 10 years ago. I was actually a patient at that facility for my ears! Spending the day with Dr. Yu was very cool, and it was nice to get to know him, see a different side of medicine, and take in his wisdom.


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