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In this Swain Sinus Show episode, host Stacy Wellborn gets to know Dr. Ron Swain, Jr, a fellowship-trained otolaryngologist specializing in rhinology, nasal, and sinus surgery in Mobile, Alabama. we discuss the benefits of seeing an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) physician & Sinus Specialists. Lastly, we discuss how Dr. Swain can serve as a resource for you and your loved ones who may have sinus and allergy issues.
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Ep.1 - Get To Know Dr. Ron Swain, Jr
Announcer: Welcome to the "Swain Sinus Show," a physician and patient discussion on how to better manage and treat mild to serious sinus issues and conditions with diagnosis, treatment, home remedies, and surgery. Stacy and Dr. Swain will talk about improving your quality of life, breathing easier, and feeling better. Let's take control over our sinuses and allergies, so they don't control us.
Stacy: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the "Swain Sinus Show." I'm Stacy Wellborn, coming to you from Deep Fried Studios, and today I'm joined by Dr. Ron Swain, Jr, a fellowship-trained otolaryngologist specializing in rhinology, nasal, and sinus surgery. Today, and this our first episode, we're going to get to know Dr. Swain, understand what an ENT physician does, and how Dr. Swain can serve as a resource for you and your loved ones who may have sinus issues. Hello, Dr. Swain. Let's get to know you. So who is Dr. Ron Swain, Jr?
Dr. Swain: I grew up in Mobile. I went to college at Duke University. I went to medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I did my ENT residency at Emory University, and then I spent a year doing nasal and sinus surgery fellowship with Dr. Fred Kuhn at the Georgia Nasal and Sinus Institute in Savannah, Georgia.
Stacy: And how long have you been back here in Mobile?
Dr. Swain: This will be my 15th year. I came back here in 2002. This July, it'll be 15 years. It's been good to be home in Mobile. It's a good place to raise a family.
Stacy: Is Mobile a good market for sinus doctors?
Dr. Swain: That's a good question. I think everywhere's a good market for sinus doctors, particularly the Southeast. You know, we have so many changes in the weather. It's warm, it's hot, it's cold, warm, cold, so that makes a big difference. We have a lot of mold. It's a moist, wet climate. I think Mobile has more rainfall than any other city in the U.S.
Stacy: It's the rainiest city in the U.S., yes?
Dr. Swain: That's always a good environment for people to have nasal and sinus problems, so it's a very active area.
Stacy: So I've heard the term ENT for years. What does that really mean?
Dr. Swain: That's a great question. So people refer to ENT doctors as Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors. The proper name is actually otorhinolaryngology. "Oto," it's Latin, so "oto" meaning "ear," "rhino" meaning "nose," and "laryngology" meaning the "throat." Most people refer to their otorhinolaryngologist as their ENT doctor. It's a lot easier.
Stacy: Right. We can't say that word.
Dr. Swain: Right. It's actually spelled out on my lab coat, and, you know, people look at me like, "What is that?" I have that conversation not infrequently.
Stacy: So your lab coat doesn't say ENT Doctor?
Dr. Swain: No, it just says Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, which is a lot to put on a coat. It's probably cheaper not to have that all written out. I am an otolaryngologist, a head and neck surgeon, so I specialize in diseases of the upper aerodigestive tract, anything above the clavicles. The parts of ENT that are most commonly thought of are pediatric, ENT, head/neck cancer, rhinology, people with nasal and sinus problems and allergy problems, otology, ear problems, people with airway issues, trouble breathing. Those are the things that we typically see.
Stacy: As a fellowship-trained rhinologist, tell me what that means, what's involved in the training, and then, really, what does it mean for the patient?
Dr. Swain: There are a lot of different types of sinus problems, and there are a lot of different types of sinus infections. And the reason why people get sinusitis can be very complicated. The fellowship is an extra year of training, and in that year, you learn a lot of different ways about how to take care of problems. Hopefully, that means for the patients that when we're seeing them and they're having chronic problems, there are multiple different ways to address a problem. Some require surgery, some require some different surgical techniques, some require some different types of medical therapy.
Since it's such a complicated problem, it really gives us the opportunity to use multiple different techniques to take care of something. Ultimately, it means I'm a resource, and hopefully I can offer some different opinions and maybe some different techniques that might be helpful in certain types of situations.
Stacy: So if I have a GP or an internist or maybe I just go to the immediate care, whatever your local after-hours care might be, can anybody come see you?
Dr. Swain: Yes. We love to see people. I mean, that's how we work is by seeing patients, so we're very interested in seeing people. In this day in age, there are always some kind of issues regarding insurance and, you know, medical records and getting release forms, so the simple answer is call me. Call my nurses. My nurses are available to help schedule and make appointments. The more information that we get, the better.
Stacy: So, tell me what information or records I should bring to my first appointment with you?
Dr. Swain: I certainly love to look at what other people have done, especially if you have other records but, you know, just simple things like, you know, what medication are you on? How long have you been on it? What's the last antibiotic you've taken? A lot of times, when people come in, they're scared and they don't really know things that you would normally ask in the course of a conversation. If we were having dinner, I'd say, "Oh, yeah, you know, what medication?" "Oh, I'm taking this, this, and this." When you're actually sitting in the chair seeing the doctor, you'd be surprised what you actually can forget.
I know this because, you know, every doctor is somebody's patient sooner or later, so having been a patient, I understand that. You sit in the chair, and all of a sudden your mind goes blank. "Why am I here and what did I take and, you know, what happened?" And the other thing, too, I think that people don't necessarily have time for, but if you did, just jot down a little bit of, you know, what your history has been. Sometimes, I'll have people come in with like four sheets of paper that are typed. Well, it doesn't have to be that complete, just, "Hey, look. I've had trouble. It's intermittent," or, "I've had trouble. It's every day" or, "Here's my regular doctor. Here's what we've done before." We try not to make it a very hard process for people. It's all about taking care of somebody else, really.
Stacy: Just to be clear, I don't have to have a major need for surgery. You'll see me if I'm having just chronic sinus issues. Maybe I have allergies. Because you are fellowship-trained and a specialist in rhinology, there would be some fear that I can only see you when I'm in a really bad place.
Dr. Swain: Right. And absolutely, I'm here to give an opinion and to say, "Look, let's see what we can do to try to help ya." It's not, "Hey, I'm going to take my car into the car shop, and I'm gonna have to replace the engine." You know, a lot of times, you don't have to replace the engine. A lot of times, all you have to do is just give the engine a tune-up. I mean, that's a basic kind of analogy. But yeah, we're here to try to help people and diagnose what's gonna on, and that doesn't necessarily mean that you need a procedure or that you need something done. A lot of times, it's a matter of reassurance.
I mean, here's an interesting fact. The majority of people that see rhinologists don't need a sinus operation. When you tell patients that, they're a little taken back, you know. "I don't need surgery?" "No, you don't need surgery. There are some things that we may consider doing in the future." So I think that's kind of an important point because a lot of people that I see, when you tell them that, they're almost relieved. I mean, they...
Stacy: Just think of that.
Dr. Swain: They are relieved. They're like, "Okay, well, you know, I don't have cancer in my sinuses." Most people in town or most people in the world, their septum is not perfectly straight. That doesn't mean you have to have a septoplasty. You know, having that conversation and getting those people to realize that, "Look, there are things that can be done to try to help you without necessarily we're gonna pull out our scalpels and start, you know, whittling on your sinuses." I think that's really important.
Stacy: How do I get an appointment?
Dr. Swain: It's really easy to get an appointment to see me. If you would call and speak to my nurses, the direct line is 251-470-8823. Again, that number is 251-470-8823, and you can find the number on the internet at swainsinusshow.com. My nurses are Mandy Webster and Chasity Wooten and Emily Demet. If you'd call that number directly, my nurses can help you get set up to have an appointment to see me.
Stacy: Thanks for listening to the "Swain Sinus Show." Please subscribe to our show on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, and anywhere you download your favorite podcasts. Want to know more about Dr. Swain or to schedule a consultation or appointment, visit swainsinusshow.com or call his amazing nursing staff at 251-470-8823. We would love to hear what you think about the show. Email us at email@example.com. Again, thanks for listening, breathe easy, and have a great day.
This show is brought to you in part by the fine physicians and friendly staff at Premier Medical Group in Mobile, Alabama.
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