Dr. Jason Coffman, Orthopedic Surgeon- Interview (#13)
Updated: Aug 26
Dr. Jason Coffman talks to us about orthopedic surgery, mindsets for getting through medical school and beyond, and a lot of weird stuff that happened in college.
If you have any questions about getting into med school, the struggles of getting through med school, and the many grinds through it all and after along with the residency program that's not actually much of a light at the end of the tunnel, this is the episode for you!
Jason is a great friend of both of ours, and has had some wild obstacles thrown at him as he's pursued his career in medicine down in Houston with his wife Kim and recently born son.
This was a blast to record, so we hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as we enjoyed recording it!
Special Jam! (coming soon)
Dr. Jason Coffman: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-coffman-5a51ab142/
Dr. Strange (Hands): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRyNUqvP6vg
Scrubs JD & Turk: https://uproxx.com/tv/jd-and-turks-15-best-moments-scrubs/
Dr. Jason Coffman, Orthopedic Surgeon, an Interview.
Andrew: [00:00:20] Welcome back to dead by tomorrow. We have Daniel and Andrew, your host as usual. But more importantly, we have Dr. Coffman on today. He is an orthopedic surgeon and he's a good friend of both of ours. And I don't think I've actually called you Dr. Coffman before. So I'm going to stick with Jason unless you would prefer otherwise.
So Jason, welcome on the show. And do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself
Jason: [00:00:44] hey, thanks for having me. I'm perfectly fine with you calling me Jason.
Andrew: [00:00:49] Okay, good. That would be really awkward. Otherwise.
Daniel: [00:00:51] I'm going only going to say Dr. Coffman. Just for the record. We're getting it all out right now.
Jason: [00:00:55] Good. I'll also take Dr. Jason ;). yeah, I'm in orthopedic surgery. I am in year four of five, for residency training, For those less familiar with kind of the whole process of, medical school and doctorhood and all that stuff. everyone has to go through, undergraduate degree.
and then medical school, which is four years. And then, at that point we become a doctor, get our medical degree and go through residency training. and that varies based on the specialty that you have. I chose orthopedic surgery, that's, bone, and joint doctors. And, that specific, uh, training is five years long.
And then the option to do another year of fellowship training, which is subspecialty, to that, To the specialty.
Andrew: [00:01:42] Are you going to be doing a fellowship?
Jason: [00:01:44] Yeah. I plan to, I'm planning to do a hand fellowship. so that's specializing, really anything hand to the shoulder. some people do less shoulder and really focus on the hand, but I don't know exactly what my practice will look like.
Andrew: [00:01:59] I have watched Dr. Strange, and that's what he did. So you, I think you are on the path to greatness and magic.
Jason: [00:02:07] He was a neurosurgeon.
Daniel: [00:02:08] They just focused a lot on his hands cause they were super important. So you're almost there Andrew, almost
Andrew: [00:02:14] so
I should have watched that movie twice. I wonder if I was drinking when I watched it all to remember, is this Oh yeah, you're right. Because it was just his hands. I got messed up and he couldn't do surgery. Oh. So Jason could have saved him. Huh? Okay. Before we go into it. because I think a lot of what we're going to probably talk about is the process and all the different things that come with in what most of us see as a pretty high tier profession. to a lot of people. That's a really high profession to achieve. So before we get into that, though, I've met a few doctors and they seem to be very identity oriented towards being a doctor.
So is there anything that you also add on to that identity where you're like, I'm a doctor, but don't label me like that. I have this [00:03:00] or X, Y, and Z, that you would rather focus on your achievements or is it, you're really proud of going into orthopedic surgery and that's kind of what your identity is wrapped up with.
Jason: [00:03:09] Sure. So I think that, it has to be a large part of your identity, just the amount of time dedicated to it but, it's certainly not my only identity. I have a lot of other things that I enjoy outside. I'm a husband, a new father and those are the things that I, put priority, over my career. but certainly, It encompasses those things as a part of it because you make sacrifices, no matter what you do.
Andrew: [00:03:39] There you go. I like it.
Daniel: [00:03:41] Yeah. And so one thing I wanted to ask about and just hear you talk about, that's kind of wraps up both being a doctor, and then, being a husband, being a dad is, you're not the only Dr. Coffman in the household, right? What does that, how has that looked in managing time? And, you said being a doctor is a, it wraps up a lot of your identity.
How do you manage that with, not just yourself, but both you and your wife?
Jason: [00:04:09] It certainly presented a unique set of circumstances. my wife, Kimberly, we've been married, coming up on seven years years now. We have a new son, Aiden, he's almost a year old now, and she is in the final stretch of medical school for her. So she is about to be a Dr. Coffman As well, like you said, Daniel,
Daniel: [00:04:32] Oh, jumped the gun there. Sorry.
Jason: [00:04:33] That's all right.
Soon to be very close. I mean, it's one of those process that you're like, are you done yet?
But, yeah, it's been a long journey. there's a lot of crossroads. Like I mentioned, the going to undergrad, going to medical school, going to residency fellowship, all of those, processes, Is, uh, a new change in habitat and one that you don't have a whole lot of control over most of the time, specifically going into residency and fellowship. you're put into a, basically a pool. they call it the match and you put in where you like to go. The program's put in where they'd like to see you go. And I have a, sometimes seemingly random number generator puts you places.
It's a little more complicated than that, but, I, you don't get to say I'm going here. you could say you'd like to go there. And hopefully programs say they'd like you to go there too, but it's difficult. And all that to say is that I've been blessed, to be able to, for the most part being the same place as, my wife.
But there's been several circumstances in which has been difficult. I'll elaborate on that just a little bit. While I've been in residency here in Galveston, just outside of Houston. Kim has been in medical school at A&M, which is based out of college station for the first year and a half.
She was commuting during the week, staying in college station and then driving to our house [00:06:00] here in Houston while I drove to the Island. And we're now in the same place, but we're about to, kind of hit another crossroads where we'll both be entering that new chapter. Hers will be residency. Mine will be fellowship in which we don't know if we're going to be in the same place and we have a kid and there's just a lot of unknowns and uncertainties.
but so far, God's really blessed us, that we've been able to persevere through this.
Daniel: [00:06:24] How do you make that work being in different spots, doing that commuting, how do you have time to build that relationship? Obviously you all found some time you had a kid, right. But, how do you make that work?
Andrew: [00:06:36] At least one minute.
Jason: [00:06:38] Uh, a minute and a half Andrew,
Andrew: [00:06:40] Oh,
Jason: [00:06:43] Yeah. So it certainly have to, you have to carve out your own time. there's certainly the kind of the fallback into digging your own little piece of your relationship and, really getting focused on yourself. And it means being intentional with your time there's opportunities that I've had to further my career education, that would be positive.
but that I've chosen that, family is more important. and I don't think I've suffered in any appreciable way doing that, but if it means that I can't, be the, the top score on this one test, or if it means that I, I can't get down this hundredth practice of something. Sometimes that means that I'm sacrificing it for a night, with a night with Kim to catch up.
And, I find ways to better myself, in other avenues and sometimes that just means less sleep, which is what it meant a lot of times. but that's kind of where we're at.
Andrew: [00:07:44] That's something that has blown my mind over the years of knowing, because in college, we were all doing the same thing and then Daniel and I graduate and we'd go off and do our own thing. And our lack of sleep was usually revolving around playing late night volleyball or something, but. You seem to not have been sleeping for like six years straight at almost how much do you actually sleep?
Jason: [00:08:05] it, it depends, there's lots of rules in place, better than how it used to be as far as, medical students and residents, as far as hours on the job and things like that, regulations, you guys may know it, but all the listeners may not, but there's a rule in place that you can't work more than 80 hours a week, which ...
Andrew: [00:08:24] Generous of them. Very generous.
Jason: [00:08:26] It's generous. it's Oh, twice as much as a normal person. Okay, great. But the thing about it is, a lot of programs, the system is built in which you're going to be at, that are pushing that. and so in reality, kind of my normal day is, It generally 12 ours are a lot of time, it's not more than that.
And I usually have an hour or two of stuff to do at home. That's either preparing for cases surgeries the next day, or ordering x-rays preparing for clinic or doing notes or the list goes on. But, [00:09:00] All in all it's it averages about six hours of sleep at night. there's nights where it's less where I'm on a home call, where I have to take calls from the hospitals.
Hey, I've got this kid with the broken ankle or, Hey, I got this guy who cut off his finger or whatever. And sometimes that means I. We just get my sleep interrupted. and I answer a question or sometimes that means I have to drive to the hospital and fix something. and so sometimes it means less sleep, but, you usually that's fewer and far between as my residency has gone on.
Andrew: [00:09:33] Okay, one more question on that. And then we'll probably actually dig into real questions.
Daniel: [00:09:36] Oh, no, I've got questions too so...
go ahead, Andrew. Go ahead.
Andrew: [00:09:41] Mine's probably less appreciated, but I watched scrubs. On a scale of one being, a fever dream of JD and 10 being Turk in general, just Turk, the best of the show.
Jason: [00:09:55] You sure. You've watched the show.
Andrew: [00:09:57] Turk.
Daniel: [00:09:58] not sure where we're going with this, but I'm excited to find out.
Andrew: [00:10:01] So one with a JD on a fever, dream, 10 being Turk, how close has your experience been to scrubs?
Jason: [00:10:09] Your scale is odd, but I'll, I'm going to
Daniel: [00:10:13] go..
We need to calibrate that scale.
Jason: [00:10:15] I'm going to go off script with the scale, but it's. Jay Beatty's character. he's the medicine doctor in the show for those that don't know, and Turk is, he's a general surgeon, more jockey type. There's actually a even more jockey type.
Who's an orthopedic surgeon on this show and that's Todd. I don't personally relate to him, but there are certainly that stereotype out there for a reason, plenty of my residents, can attest to that. but, I'd say the show is pretty accurate and, minus the daydreams, the fantasies, all the kind of whimsical stuff, but the show is pretty accurate and kind of the interactions residents have to their attendings, to the patients.
the little dramas, I think that's fairly close to reality. As far as TV dramas go.
Andrew: [00:11:03] Would you say you're able to enjoy it? Like if you went back and watched scrubs or you watched it with fresh eyes, would you be able to enjoy the show now? We're just be like, Oh, crap more work.
Jason: [00:11:11] Oh, no, it's absolutely, I enjoy watching those shows back each. Each time you watch it, you're picking up something different. unfortunately the longer you go, the more critical you become cynical of the shows and you're like, Oh, they never used that kind of tube for that or that surgery for that.
You become more hypercritical than you. You were as a , Oblivious medical student or whatever, what have you, but I've watched plenty of the medical shows, Grey's anatomy, shows like that. And, for the most part, I'd say that there's some truth to it. Uh, they're hyper dramatize, but they're still fun to watch
Andrew: [00:11:48] Okay, good. I'm glad scrubs. Hasn't lost its shine because it's one of my favorite shows.
Jason: [00:11:53] minus the last season that never should have happened.
Andrew: [00:11:56] I don't even know what you're talking about. It ends with JD walking [00:12:00] down that hall and that was the end of scrubs.
Daniel: [00:12:01] speaking of shows, Jason, I'm curious, how many movies do you think you actually made it through our freshman year in college? just out of curiosity.
Jason: [00:12:12] I fell asleep for a good bit. I go through some movies. I'm like, ah, I watch that. And I watch it and I'm like, I don't have a clue. What's going on here. I've never seen this before in my life.
Daniel: [00:12:24] no, it's just funny. I'm I really am envious of your ability to get through things on lack of sleep. And, I, me making that comment is definitely, the pot calling the kettle black because. I fell asleep in the midst of so many video game sessions. And I think both of us just had this mentality that, if there are fun things going on, we want to be a part of it until literally our body says, Nope, you're done.
And I think you were just a little bit better at that than I am.
Andrew: [00:12:54] I don't get how you guys do it. I can't fall asleep to save my life in the middle of something like that.
Daniel: [00:12:58] Yeah. At a certain point, Andrew, you just. force yourself to stay awake long enough and you don't have any alternative.
Andrew: [00:13:05] I've never gotten to that point. I love my sleep.
Daniel: [00:13:14] kind of going back into the medical field, the hospital environment, Andrew and I rarely get to talk to somebody that actually has, credibility tied to their name about, just about anything at all. And so it's fun to talk to a doctor, especially in the midst of, the COVID pandemic.
And so I'm just kind of curious, what has the hospital environment been like over the past, three, four months.
Jason: [00:13:41] it's been incredibly challenging to be honest. so being in orthopedics, for the most part have been. Not directly working with COVID patients. And, I'm thankful for that, but it's ripple effects has gone through every hospital. And so there's been waves of it, starting out in March way and by waves.
I mean, yeah. Waves of what's actually going on, in March. basically when everything shut down my. Our residency is built on us doing surgeries and learning. and that was cut dress basically down. they had the ban on elective surgeries. and so luckily orthopedics has traumas that come in, but people weren't doing stupid stuff either.
And so we didn't have any ankles to fix. We didn't have hips to. To replay, things like that. so the volume was really down and that was difficult for learning. and then we started to have the uptick of things were looking like they were going to get back to normal. We had kind of slowed down things at least in Texas.
but people decided to, Yeah, I will. I'll keep from getting too political in this cause it's frustrating, but there's a lot of people that just don't have, the common sense and wherewithal to, [00:15:00] look out for the better. Good. And so cases Rose quickly, and the hospitals got really full, especially around here in Houston.
the ICU where we're at capacity still or are very high, And the surgeries, and that aspect have to get cut down because we were running out of supplies. It was hard to find things as basic as scrub brushes to clean your hands or, I mean, we never did a surgery if we didn't have those things.
but simple things like that or alcohol to clean instruments or things like that. w we're very short, in supply, and that hasn't really gotten better each week. It's some new thing that, Oh, we're out of this type of suture or this, this kind of brace is backlogged or whatever.
so it's really reverberated through the whole system. And so right now, our staff has been very severely effected by actually. getting positive cases of COVID. we had 12 of our surgical, staff, scrub tech, scrub nurses, test positive for COVID.
and. With that kind of staff, hit you, even if there are cases to do, you can't schedule them because there's nobody to help out. And so it just makes it time in which there's people that are concerned about their livelihood, making money to feed their family families, or helping out people or.
things like that. That's difficult for me. luckily, I've been blessed that my paycheck's not at risk. but my, the only time really I have in my career to learn certain things is, severely changed. and so it's been a really tough situation, throughout all of this. Okay.
Daniel: [00:16:47] Yeah, the ripple effect is, something that, honestly, I hadn't even really thought about the fact that it's impacting the ability for this upcoming class of surgeons, of doctors to practice certain things. And that really could have a, a longterm impact on. the curve. And I don't know, maybe all of a sudden, the future generation of doctors are gonna have a lot more knowledge about infectious diseases, but, whenever Andrew and I hit our, I don't know, forties and need to have shoulder replacements, people might not have as much practice with that.
Jason: [00:17:22] I mean, it's certainly something to, to think about. There. There's always ways that. I mean the checks and balances to making sure that it's safe. But when you get out of here, I don't want to sound like, Oh gosh, they're sending people out that has never done such and such. but there are ways around that.
It's just, right now, it's been challenging.
So I was trying to make this a little more interesting for us. I, actually got tested yesterday, two people in our department who I was working with yesterday and, or I guess it was Monday. and over the weekend, they tested positive with symptoms. [00:18:00] And yesterday I had a fever of one or two feet, chills, muscle aches, a headache, cough.
I mean, if you had asked me if I thought I had it, I was certain, but I got tested yesterday morning and the rapid came back negative. now they're not a hundred percent accurate, but. I, went to, had to go to work today, or an a 95 all the time. And, it's one of those tough situations. So I thought I would come with some juicy new experience.
Luckily that's not the case. Cause it would have been a major headache for the next two weeks.
Daniel: [00:18:33] I just, I definitely don't want it because one it's, it seems like it's terrible to get, and then you just kind of never know, but then it's like, if you get it and are symptomatic, like the whole decrease of lung function just sounds terrible. And I, I know how much you love running around and doing things.
All of us obviously love running around and doing things. So it'd be, that would not be ideal.
So you're not in support of the college fat of like COVID party. We're going to throw a party. If you've got COVID come and give it to everybody sort of thing.
Jason: [00:19:02] No, not a big fan of that. I just think when you're doing stuff like that, it just asks for there to be egg on your face. I've seen it too many times already with people doing these COVID parties and they die, or, I mean just crazy stuff. I'd rather be on the precautious, side of it.
And if I'm wrong, then at least I was safe. whereas the other side, if I'm wrong, I could be dead by tomorrow.
Daniel: [00:19:28] Nice. Nice. Alright. We did it. we referenced the name. we lost Andrew in the process, but it was worth it. we'll just go ahead and wrap up here. shortest podcast episode ever.
Andrew: [00:19:46] Okay, Jason, I'm going to divert us a little bit from the COVID and all that kind of jazz. And I want to talk about what led up to this, and if you have any regrets, I guess, would be a way to put it. So you are kind of a year out from truly joining the workforce as a surgeon, which I know you've been working in, like you're probably doing a lot more work than most people, but in terms of your career, You are still in the almost training phase.
Like you, you still have a little bit further to go before you're officially making the big bucks and top dog, I guess you could say
Daniel: [00:20:21] Just rub it in Andrew.
You're not there yet.
Andrew: [00:20:25] and that's the point? How long has it been? It's been eight years of this postgrad.
Jason: [00:20:29] It'll have been a total of 14 years of training?
Andrew: [00:20:33] And you turned 29 this year. when's your birthday.
Jason: [00:20:36] June 12th.
Andrew: [00:20:38] Okay, so you just turned 29. Oh man, I think I miss it. I'm sorry, bro.
Jason: [00:20:42] That's all right.
Andrew: [00:20:43] I suck
Jason: [00:20:44] I remembered years.
Andrew: [00:20:45] coldblooded, man. you know what, I'm sorry. That's all I've got. I'm sorry. It's you're closing it on 30 before you're going to be making money that you have expected to be making, like they've paid you obviously, but you're not what you haven't [00:21:00] gotten, what you've been working for. So to say, so what does that, like, how do you have anything you would have done differently?
Are you excited to be finishing? Do you have any tips, your past self, like, Hey, if I would have done this again, I would have done it differently this way or pick this different profession or is there anything like that or you a hundred percent. This was a perfect storm of options.
Jason: [00:21:19] I think that, I'm definitely really, happy with the specialty I'm in and the path that I've gone. I didn't, I wasn't one of those people that knew they were going to be a doctor since they were. Five years old or whatever, I'm kind of leading up to this. I, into college, I was a math major. I thought that I would teach, at a university level, well, teach math. it's what I like I enjoyed, but I kind of found early on it, luckily that there was no way I wanted to get a PhD in math. It was just. Not that interesting, to me and I found medicine and I really loved it. I think in addition to my passion for medicine, I still really have that passion for teaching. and I think that I'd like to incorporate that as much as I can into my practice. there's opportunities for that. As you go into the quote unquote real world, teaching institutions, like the one I'm at where they are. I have residents and med students is an option. it's one that I'm not sure or what it looks like down the road. but the teaching aspect is something that I'd hope to not make a regret, if that makes sense. so far, I'm really to answer your question really happy. there are plenty of things along the road that I wish could be changed, but they're the nature of the system rather than the nature of something I've chosen. the low pay, the long hours, the lots of, years of training, that's part of the game right now, at least in the United States. And that's not likely to change anytime soon.
Daniel: [00:22:52] All right, Jason. So which one of our Chick-fil-A lunches freshman year, was it that you decided to do med school? Cause I remember you're doing math, just kind of talking about like what the future looks like.
I was hot in the middle of engineering. It was the worst thing ever. but yeah, at what point did that clarity come into place? Cause that's. Probably not a common undergraduate degree for med school mathematics.
Jason: [00:23:17] Yeah, I wish I had like a, Oh, this was that day that I kind of decided, I think it was more of a. A thing that developed over time, there are a few. key people in our lives at that time that really helped influence at our church. our, one of our leaders, was a cardiologists doctor wigley and he really made an early impact, on my decision.
And I got to do some shadowing with him, which was the first experience I really had, with that kind of thing. And, just really. really enjoyed what he did and he was a great role model and mentor, and I, you still keep up with him and his wife, Theresa and their kids. they've just been really a huge impacts and, Kimberly and I's [00:24:00] lives and something that we'll probably. I'd like to talk about later is just our mission work, that we've done with, with medicine. they've just been a huge role in that. I think they're part of what shaped my, interest in it. And I think, I think most people, really that are successful, have some sort of mentorship, that they, it kind of steered them one way or the other.
Daniel: [00:24:22] Yeah, I totally agree with you. And I. I forgot about the wigglies and that's. that's a really great memory going to those groups. well, I guess they were our table hosts and we went over to their house once or twice. I imagine you caught up with them more and continue to from there.
But, I think you're totally right that, those mentorships at different milestones in life really shape the longterm decision making that we, go down and. I feel like if we, he sought out mentors a little bit more, pre college or those sorts of things that might be a little bit easier to have a better idea of what direction to go in life. that's where I kinda chose engineering because that's what my dad did. but as time went on, realize that wasn't the right fit for me. And just kind of looked at people who who's lives. I kind of really wanted to mirror and model after, and I think that's so important.
Andrew: [00:25:20] Yeah, it's one of those things that really resonated with me recently on that was coaches. And I know at the time that we were all making big decisions in college and even high school. I kind of thought that I knew everything I needed to know.
I saw having somebody like a mentor or a coach, almost be a weakness. It was like, Oh, you don't know enough. You need this person to support you and crutch you up. And I thought it was a bad thing, I guess you could say. And in hindsight, and especially after watching a lot of sports, documentaries and reading a bunch of books, there's everyone who has done anything great.
They never did it alone. They all say they did it alone, but they all had coaches and mentors from day one to the day they quit. And after, you know, LeBron still has like a million dollar a year coach that watches and works with him outside of his actual basketball coach. He's got somebody that is watching him specifically to coach him specifically that he pays out of his own money to make sure he's doing his best and how to do better.
The mentors are really good. And I wish I would have known that
Daniel: [00:26:24] Yeah, I'm there with you, Andrew. I think, I don't know which one of us should take the blame for that, but I feel like we both had that mentality of, make it on your own or don't make it at all.
Andrew: [00:26:34] Pride goeth before the fall,
Daniel: [00:26:36] Oh. And there was so many falls.
Andrew: [00:26:44] you said you wanted to talk about your mission work and if you want to talk about something that is more exciting than any questions we can ask you. So please launch into whatever was on your mind. There.
Jason: [00:26:55] Yeah, it was just a cool opportunity that, I got to be a part of, going to Peru, [00:27:00] as part of, my medical school training, I guess you could say. he was part of it, but it was certainly something that was optional. And that was thought out something that Kim and I got to do together from the very beginning before she was even in medical school or in the medical field.
And so I went as a student, she went as a spouse, but got to help out, In certain roles there. And then, the next year I was older medical student and she was still a spouse and we did it one more time. Time is that. And then when she got into medical school, she got to go as the leader of the trip.
And I went as a quote unquote. I was a doctor at that point, baby doctor, but still in that capacity one that was in a teaching role. and so w the trips meant a lot to us throughout the years. And, it's one of those things that, they look back on, and really is what helped shape, what kind of person you're going to be. just those it's really easy to, we talked about what. Gets you through, what's your or your mindset is like as a surgeon. And I mentioned husband, father, and it's another one of those things that are really helps define you. and, it was a way to give back and to grow, and to really see a lot of change in a certain area. and with the continuity of going back, we've been five times now to Peru for week long trips. I know. Less Spanish than I should. but, but I really got to see a lot of lives change, including my own
Andrew: [00:28:36] That's really cool, man. I love to hear that because I haven't had that experience. I've one not been to Peru. And I've also not able to say that I've changed any lives necessarily. So that's really cool that I know someone who has, uh, something on this podcast we get really excited about is mindset.
So you said mindset in there and immediately like my. Podcasts dead by tomorrow, senses went off. So are there any mindsets that helped get through Peru, get through med school, get through the daily grind that most people probably don't understand being as difficult as it is, where you stop, hoping to be a doctor.
And you're actually just working as a doctor.
Jason: [00:29:10] I mean, there is a lot of grind. it goes through phases, luckily. so the grind is different, but there are peers. In medical school, when you're training for your board exams, your big tests that the score determines what kind of residency you can go to and what kind of specialties you can do, for which we sit in front of a computer and study for no lie, 12 to 14 hours a day, doing questions, reading books.
And this goes on for four to six weeks. And it's that it's very grindy. I wish that wasn't the case, but that's one of the times where it really drags on you. but, the lights, the end of the tunnel helps with that, after each one of those kind of big grind sessions, Kim and I, and usually another group of my med school.
A buddy and his wife, we'd take a trip. We went to the grand Canyon and went hiking. We [00:30:00] went to Spain, we went to, Yellowstone. we did these kind of outdoors trips to get your mind off of it, to kind of give yourself a Pat on the back, break. from the grind. And so those are specific, really tough grinds. the other grinds of patient care and note writing and things like that. they're intermittent and be draining. but, the fun stuff is mixed in between and that's doing surgeries, which is what I enjoy doing. but. for physicians specifically, a lot of people are probably familiar with this term, but burnout is a real deal. and, I've definitely felt that, in residency and med school and luckily we change things, like change services, like right now I'm doing trauma next month, I'll be doing pediatric orthopedic stuff. Like we, we move around enough so that. Things stay fresher and it's a little easier to get a different mindset.
Andrew: [00:30:59] So you're kind of keeping like a change of environment going, and you also have rewards that also clear mind kind of at the end of the tunnel to be like, Hey, all I have to do is get through this and I get to do X or Y and you just kind of keep it step by step short term or focused, I guess.
Jason: [00:31:16] Yeah, that definitely is a balance is the short term and the longterm just knowing, this is going to be going on for another couple of weeks, but I also got another couple of years. it's really important. I think to. Like when Kim and I talk about stuff sometimes, like where we're going to be living.
Sometimes I, in my mind just have to shut it down and be like, okay, I got to focus on the next couple of weeks, because if I start thinking about the unknowns for the years to come, it's just a lot to take in. So it's really a balance of those short term versus long term goals and avenues.
Andrew: [00:31:52] I see, I'm not jealous of that workload. I'm jealous of the Lamborghini you're going to get, or is that a Lambo or you have a Ferrari.
Jason: [00:31:59] Probably neither.
Andrew: [00:32:00] okay.
Jason: [00:32:01] I would like to get, I would like to get a Tesla though.
Andrew: [00:32:04] Oh, you got on the Tesla train. I'm so happy. I'll be jealousy. Your Tesla. I'm
not jealous of the workload.
Daniel: [00:32:15] So one thing. Jason that I'm curious about is where that ability to grind came from. And that mindset is that, something that is innate. Is that something that came from a mentor or what, because this didn't start in med school. This didn't start in college as a mathematics major .
You were the, was it valedictorian salutatorian high school? Salutatorian and not like a, one a like, there are 40 kids in town, like this is a Tesco's of what's what, five, a four, a
five, a big, high school, lot of people, you don't reach that kind of level [00:33:00] without having the ability to do what you're talking about to be able to grind, to be able to, focus on the short term.
So where did that come from?
Jason: [00:33:07] there was this game I was introduced in the early two thousands called rune scape. And,
Daniel: [00:33:12] was gonna ask if it was from video games, but I was like, Oh, I don't know.
Andrew: [00:33:17] Not ruined scape.
Jason: [00:33:18] I had to get my wood cutting up from 20 to 60 in a couple hours. I just was on that grind for a long
Andrew: [00:33:25] honestly, all of us from back then, we're all going to go get ruined scape tattoos as like our war banners or whatever. Like
Daniel: [00:33:32] Oh, I'm going to have to get a lobster tattoo. That's what I did. I fished lobsters. That was my job
Andrew: [00:33:36] I killed cows, man. I grinded out on those cow farms.
Jason: [00:33:39] No, but seriously, although, I played my fair share of video games. it's probably hard to put my finger on it. It would be nice if there was something I can say, Hey, do this and you will have that mentality, but I think it's just a willingness to work when you. It's kind of that mentality where you have the team members and you got the one team member that like is going to do nothing, and they're going to escape by any of the one team member that. At the end of the day, like the project, even if nobody else does anything is going to get completed. And you really have to have that second mentality of, in that aspect to just put your nose down and sometimes do the hard stuff. I think there was plenty of times growing up in school where that was the case.
It never feels good. But, that's one aspect. And then my parents really modeled a good work ethic. they were both really hardworking. My mom, she worked from home, so that we could, have it easier afterschool and things like that. And a super hard worker. And my dad, was also a hard worker.
And so I just, I had good modeling from my parents, which I know helped out a lot. I was. An older sibling and am still an older sibling. They didn't go anywhere. but, I, I don't know, my family we've been blessed. my sister was valedictorian. My brother was valedictorian, so I'm the black sheep in the family. but, I don't know. I think a lot of it has to do with the modeling at home.
Andrew: [00:35:05] That's interesting for comparison, Daniel, I think you broke the top 10%, right?
Daniel: [00:35:10] Technically by the time we graduated, I was not in the top 10%,
but at the a time where I was like pulling transcripts and applying for college, I was, and so I was able to get all of the benefits and then just like coast out at the end. I'm trying to remember. Nathan, might've been the person that actually took my spot.
The top 10%
Andrew: [00:35:34] have nothing to say on that.
Daniel: [00:35:35] we were both very, we were very close. I can't remember if it was him for sure, but it
Andrew: [00:35:40] Andrew remember y'all going neck and neck about that. I was, I was not up there. I think I walked out with a 91 or something and was not even close to top 10%.
Daniel: [00:35:48] No man, you pretty much gotta be like at a hundred or like a little above.
Andrew: [00:35:52] yeah, those math classes I needed. Jason, you guys were okay at math, I guess, but like apparently Jason is who I needed, to help me along. But [00:36:00] alas different schools. Ex-girlfriends the whole thing.
Jason: [00:36:04] This is probably deep enough in the podcast that only the true believers will hear it.
Andrew: [00:36:08] 12 people. Daniel's mom and my mom
Daniel: [00:36:10] Hey, Brett listens to every episode.
Andrew: [00:36:13] and Brett shout out to Brett. We'll leave that in.
Okay. Jason, one last question. At least on my front. overall, what was the hardest part about this process of becoming a in my mind, top tier profession, a surgeon.
Jason: [00:36:31] I think we've touched on it a little bit. but it definitely, one of the, one of the biggest parts is just the time commitment in general and a delayed gratification. I think that, you have to be willing to. put in a lot of hours early on, and this isn't unique to my specialty by any means.
I think there's plenty of you look at the professional athletes who are on the grind and club sports and maybe they're D. two school or whatever, and they're just hoping to get picked up again. that's a kind of a way other end of the spectrum, but that there's a long wait time till you hit your break.
The people that are there, they're trying to live their dream. They drop out of college to pursue whatever it is. And, it's just perseverance more than anything else. I think that if you're going to nail down, anything else is just willingness to keep. pushing, even when it's tough. and to keep an eye on your goals.
Andrew: [00:37:29] Kind of like a willingness to suffer perhaps
Jason: [00:37:32] sure.
Daniel: [00:37:33] Jason likes suffering. that's what Andrew was trying to get at there.
Andrew: [00:37:36] Yeah, he's a suffering suffrage. Is that the word I'm looking for?
Jason: [00:37:40] Yes suffrage.
Daniel: [00:37:42] no suffering succotash.
Andrew: [00:37:43] Oh my goodness.
Daniel: [00:37:45] alright, so orthopedic specialty, I know that you are into sports because of the many sports that we've played together over the years. There's, Frisbee, obviously that we played at a and M and college. We did that racketball, class. That was probably one of the most cutthroat experiences ever.
We did a Sheldon. the man, the myth, the legend. All right. We're going to pause my question for a little story about Sheldon Cox. Andrew, I don't know. I don't know if you've heard about this man. Sheldon Cox.
Andrew: [00:38:18] Tell me more.
Daniel: [00:38:19] so we were in this racquetball class and we're all kind of sitting there and we had played a good amount of racquetball before taking the class just for fun.
And so we came in, we were going to like be ACEs in the hole and all that sort of stuff. There were two very important characters that. You need to know about and the racquetball class, we'll get to shell them. At first, I got to talk about racquetball God, very important character. So we're sitting in the class like syllabus day, everything like that show up, just, our Walmart racketball rackets, athletic shorts or whatever guy walks in with like, the tennis bags, right?
Andrew: [00:38:53] I know what a guy with gear looks like.
Daniel: [00:38:55] the full gear, like nice [00:39:00] goggles, nice racket. Like headband, like just everything
Jason: [00:39:03] kind of got the dr. Disrespect vibe.
Daniel: [00:39:06] Yes. Yes. and so we're like, Oh no, this guy is going to wipe the court with us. And. I loved this about the class, but your grade, actually, it depended on how high you finished in the ranking. So there was a little bit of intimidation, when this guy showed up, turns out. He was okay. He wasn't the greatest, but we still call them racquetball God, from, all the way up till now.
So we've got racquetball. God, great guy. in reality, and then the other character that we have in this class is Sheldon Cox. Sheldon was not great at racquetball.
Jason: [00:39:42] They was not good at racquetball.
Daniel: [00:39:44] not good. He just kind of had a look of just your normal dude, like nothing super notable about him, but, One day we're sitting and we're inside the court.
everybody in the class is sitting there listening to the teacher, talk about whatever the rules are and things like that. And Sheldon, which we are already just, we're kind of predisposed to have positive feelings about Sheldon, because his name is Sheldon Cox. Like that's just a name. And so Sheldon shows up late.
And we're paying attention. Cause we're like, we're Sheldon. He's like our favorite person in the class. And he doesn't know it. Sheldon shows up late and is kind of trying to rush to get to the class cause everybody's there and he's late and doesn't realize that he has not selected the glass panel that has the door tries to open the door and just assume that he's gonna be pushing it open walks face first into.
The glass, the whole class, like turns and sees this happen. It makes the commotion. And then he has to like go over to the door, open it, come in, sit down.
Jason: [00:40:56] And this is your Bobby sock wearing glasses, short shorts, but not frat guy type feller.
Daniel: [00:41:04] Yeah. Yeah. Just like, think about the seventies, eighties, like gymnasium scene, like where the nerds are, like just having to go in the gym and they hate it. that's the kind of look, that's the kind of vibe
Andrew: [00:41:17] Oh, I wish I
Daniel: [00:41:18] about the thing about Sheldon too, was like, we got like weirdly obsessed with him and M big school.
I think there were like 50,000 people when we were there, something like that. And it's. Just an enormous campus, but somehow at least once a semester, one of us would come across Sheldon Cox on campus and we would do our best to snap a photo and send it to the group and say, we've got a Sheldon cock site.
Andrew: [00:41:42] Dude. That's why it is rare to kill. tech was the same way. Like if I met somebody and I didn't make plans to see them later, I'd never saw that person again. They were gone. That's crazy. Y'all were able to run into him because I had that never happened to me.
Daniel: [00:41:56] I just hope that someday, somehow we get to [00:42:00] actually meet him and get to know him as a person. Cause we never talk to him.
Andrew: [00:42:03] This is our chance. Millions of listeners do your thing.
Jason: [00:42:07] Yeah.
Andrew: [00:42:07] Thanks mom. Thanks Susie.
Daniel: [00:42:10] man. All right. Alright. It's been established, Jason likes sports, orthopedics, that's a profession that's, all about muscles, bones, joints, right? Like the things that we need for sports. And so in your professional opinion, and I'm excited that I can ask what are some tips that you have for, just injury prevention in sports, like better performance?
What would you tell Andrew? And I, as would be hopeful, professional athletes.
Andrew: [00:42:38] Speak for yourself. I'm there.
Jason: [00:42:40] it's a pretty broad topic, is obvious, but, I think a lot of really good advice, is somewhat obvious things that you're taught, like stretching and, being worn before things, I think, some of the less obvious stuff that we see a lot of. People have having aches and pains from, are things like, really not focusing on your legs? strength enough, quad weakness is, one of the biggest sources of knee pain. as we get older, people come in with it a lot. It's not necessarily arthritis or sometimes it is, but strengthening doing specifically. Quad strengthening exercises that can help stabilize your knee, and, slow down, prevent arthritis, prevent some of the knee pains. it's not a cure all. but it's certainly
a big thing. And then just
Daniel: [00:43:26] are you saying don't skip leg day,
Jason: [00:43:28] Don't skip like exactly. I know it's novel, novel information. another thing we see a lot, that are known as the weekend warriors, one that I've, I'm guilty of as well, but people that, this is typically your late thirties guy that he's been doing nothing all year.
He goes and. he does a Spartan race, or he goes and plays some pickup basketball with the kids down at school. Or he decides to run a five K or something. He tears as Achilles. he breaks his ankle. He tears his quality. He does something, because he hasn't been doing. the exercise to back it up. and this is one of those things that right now you're young people. It's not something you have to worry about as much cause our body can take. But as we can you get older, it's definitely something to watch out for really that turn of the thirties into. Or early forties is when it hits.
So when we see those kinds of injuries the most, and it's people that they were active 20 something year olds and they stopped for a little while and then they try to pick it up too fast, too quickly. and so those are real dangerous, cause they can be, bad operations and just really putting you out for doing anything fun for awhile.
Daniel: [00:44:46] Yeah, that totally makes sense. And so the advice there is either don't stop activity, or if you do make sure that you ease back into it
Andrew: [00:44:57] blows my mind that people don't [00:45:00] train consistently.
Jason: [00:45:01] That blows your mind.
Andrew: [00:45:02] I don't know how
Jason: [00:45:03] Have you looked at America?
Andrew: [00:45:04] I know. And that's the thing. I know plenty of people who do, but like if you're health conscious, it just, I struggle to understand how you're not doing it.
Jason: [00:45:14] We're not talking about health conscious people here, though. it's the same people that were like, man, I was really smart in elementary school and then college hit and I just can't, I can't keep up. it's the same mentality
Andrew: [00:45:25] I feel attacked.
Jason: [00:45:26] It's the same people that They could get up one day and run a half marathon and be fine. But now they're 10 years older and that's just not the case anymore. Your body just isn't built like that.
Daniel: [00:45:38] And then what about, I gotta ask this. So stretching, dynamic, static, like what, where do you fall on that?
Jason: [00:45:46] It's not particularly my area of expertise, as a surgeon. And this is where I would default to the physical therapists out there, roles in specific types of stretching. they both have their roles, but that's not my area of expertise.
So I can't give great
Daniel: [00:46:05] Y'all
Jason is a real doctor now. that right there just sums it up more than anything. I'm just kidding.
Andrew: [00:46:13] that was good advice. we're all about to turn that corner. So I'm going to keep, a weather eye out on doing those legs. I'm real worried constantly.
Daniel: [00:46:22] I know. That's, that's tough
all right, Jason. So as a doctor, I'm sure you have a just wellness, like whole body wellness in mind, that plays in heavily to your decision making. I would guess, I would assume. Right. And so what about nutrition, right? Like how has that looked for you throughout the years? Like any nutritional advice or stories that you want to share with us?
Jason: [00:46:53] Sure. So, of course it's paramount. it's always on my mind. It's all I think about, is eating it, that good stuff. I hearken back to the days of. of early undergrad where, McDonald's was running a special, around the super bowl for 50 of their nuggets for $10. never been a deal better than this.
Andrew: [00:47:13] Wait, did you say 50 nuggets for $10?
Jason: [00:47:16] 50 nuggets for $10. That's
Andrew: [00:47:18] Wow. Yells McDonald's slaps different than ours.
Jason: [00:47:22] it was slapping hard that week. the five of us, myself and Daniel, and, our other three roommates, Nathan, Sam, and, Michael Stebbins. we decided that we were gonna. Go hard, this super bowl. And so we each got 50 nuggets Uh, so it was 250 nuggets, with the goal of eating them throughout the super bowl. and, I ate my first 40 and about 10 minutes and, decided that was. A little too fast. and I took the last 10 some slower, and, then I dropped the bowl of ice cream afterwards [00:48:00] it was one of the best bowls of ice cream I've ever had in my life. Cause it didn't taste like a chicken nugget. most everybody finished everybody except one person finished. and they loved those chicken nuggets in their car for the next three months.
Daniel: [00:48:13] To be clear. that wasn't me. I was joining in the ice cream celebration and I can attest that it was the greatest ice cream. And as Andrew knows, and religion hates it. It's a point of contention. I don't really like ice cream
Andrew: [00:48:26] I'm going to kill you for that one of these days.
Jason: [00:48:28] If you're curious, a three month old McDonald's nuggets look the same they do when they come out on day one. I take that as you will.
Andrew: [00:48:39] that's frightening. That's for those who are curious how to take that is very bad.
Jason: [00:48:43] All that to say, it's one of those things that sh that was not a healthy experience, for our bodies, but for our minds, it was healthy. we had a lot of fun with the guys. I got lots of memories. Eating crazy things going to all you can eat Chick-fil-A is a, at an OU Frisbee tournament and just pound in more bags, nugs and fries.
And you can imagine, and I'm going to Chinese buffets by myself. Cause my wife doesn't like them. And, food is not one that I feel right or feel capable of giving good advice on. Cause I don't like to take it, but I'm lucky in that I've been blessed, with, my body type.
Andrew: [00:49:27] Yeah, we could have brought you on that fitness episode because man you've had abs ever since I've known you. I don't get it.
Daniel: [00:49:32] the whole food thing is funny. So I want to see how many of these trends that we can nail down. Jason, just to really solidify, your prowess as a nutritional expert. So I feel like correct me if I'm wrong, you kind of had a mindset in college of. Kind of that grinding mindset of, I just need to stock up on this particular type of food and I'm going to get this food in me and we're going to go with it.
there was a time that I think that was eggs. Like I think you ate how many eggs do you feel like you ate a day
Jason: [00:50:05] It was a lot Mo mainly that was easy thing to cook. my family would be sad. my wife is a great cook. My dad and my mom, my dad's a better cook than my mom, but they're both good cooks. And, I could, I don't want to say I, because I'm not a good cook and mainly that comes to the desire to, but, I just did not want to cook.
And so eggs were easy and so eggs and stupid things like corn dogs and
frozen 72 cent banquet pies,
Andrew: [00:50:39] I was with you on the eggs.
Jason: [00:50:41] the kinds of pot pies that you. If you didn't heat up, right. They were still a freaking solid ice brick. I'm not sure your grandma's homemade pot pies. These were the 1772 sensors.
Andrew: [00:50:56] I don't know if you can get those anymore. I think they've probably been listed as a [00:51:00] carcinogen
Jason: [00:51:00] they're like 90, 93 cents now. So I, haven't bought them since the price hike. but no, in all seriousness, I don't think it was ever any sort of fad for me, I utility would have been a nice excuse. but, it really just was ease of cooking. and, and being blessed that it didn't affect me negatively from at least on the outside.
Andrew: [00:51:21] I'm not going to throw any stones, man. We, I think all of us back in the day and probably pretty recently still, we're just like, Oh, if there's free food and especially if it's yummy or fried, we're in an otherwise, it was, Hey, this is cheap and quick and I can get a lot of it.
Jason: [00:51:38] I mean that's that is still me. I have not changed the day. I started turning down free food you'll know that I've made it. the day I pay for a soft drink in a restaurant that you'll know, Oh man, he's doing it. he's finally there.
Andrew: [00:51:52] down that path. Cause I've got questions about doctors in that, but we are going to go there because this is. I don't want to throw any stones on that front either, but you and I, we're going to have words, in private one of these days,
Jason: [00:52:03] no, I'm just a, I'm a penny pincher at heart. Andrew: [00:52:12]
I guess that's the end for dead by tomorrow this time around, we could probably talk to Jason for quite a bit longer, but we have been lucky enough to have him. Borrowed away from his kid, wife and job for this long. So thank you guys for coming on. And Jason, sincerely, thank you for joining us. It is always great to talk to you and I'm sorry that we don't get to see each other as mustard.
We probably should. So thanks again. And to all of you guys listening, don't forget to share like, and anything else you think that would show us your enthusiasm for what we're doing here. We appreciate your support and you listening. Have a great day.