SEECA Celebrates 25 Years
Appeared in POINT OF VIEW magazine on 8.2023; SEECA celebrates 25 years of business this month but it wasn’t always peachy. You never realize how awesome things are until everything goes sideways. After working about 15 years in ophthalmology, I took up bicycle racing to provide some balance to my life and to do something physical. I was training for the State Championship bicycle race, which I was favored to win, when I had a horrific bicycle accident. The front wheel of my bicycle came off unexpectedly, and I crashed hard. I broke my neck severely (three vertebrae), fractured my skull, had a stroke, lost multiple cranial nerves and bled to unconsciousness.
I barely survived, was paralyzed and confined to lying flat. The picture below shows me at Ochsner, a few weeks after the accident, wearing a halo to stabilize my broken neck. I couldn’t speak or eat (I was given nutrition, directly into my stomach, through a tube surgically inserted through my abdomen). I couldn’t drink or walk. I was on a ventilator for months and required a catheter because I couldn’t use the bathroom. Very humbling. It was scary because some thought I might die (including me), and almost everyone was certain I would NEVER come back to SEECA. I was transferred to hospital after hospital because I kept getting worse. I truly thought my story was over.
But God had different plans. Through the power of His intervention and about 2.5 years of intense physical therapy, I regained my function. I learned, after I returned to Houma, that my patients were praying hard for me, which was so kind and I will always be thankful for their support. Coming back was 100 times harder than Harvard, but it was so worth the effort.
During my long absence, Dr. Mark Meadows and Dr. Gerard Guidry saw my patients and kept my practice from going under. My current administrator, Jessica Leonard, slept at my home, with my children, every night for months so that my awesome wife, Melissa, could be with me in the hospital. My staff did everything they could to keep my practice going while I was away in recovery. And the patients were awesome because they supported my practice and the visiting doctors in a way that was truly selfless.
How do you thank people for being that generous? I haven’t figured that out yet, but I know that my support team saved my company, so really, this 25-year milestone belongs to THEM!
Recovering from the accident gave me a deep realization. Cherish today, because there are no guarantees about tomorrow. With that new wisdom, I have increased the size of SEECA and its ability to help the good people of our area. We hired another provider named Kim Broussard, who is loved by our patients for her amazing bedside manner and intelligence. Whip smart!
We are currently doubling the size of SEECA at 249 Corporate Drive. Additionally, we recently opened a new location called EYE LA, which focuses on glasses and contact lenses. We also opened St. Luke’s Surgery Center, on Hollywood, which allows us to provide the best cataract surgery in the world. And we have plans to expand into the surrounding regions, because these folks need great eye care too.
SEECA is on the move and it’s remarkable when you think of the odds that we faced after the accident. But that’s what God does for us. He makes life just a little (or in my case a lot) challenging so you will appreciate the good times. And do I appreciate the good times? MORE THAN EVER BEFORE!