Friday, August 28, 2009
I hope you are having a better week than I am.
I have to tell you this week at the office has been torture. I am going to be very translucent today.
This is the first week of school and that along with the economy (I guess) it was like a ghost town in here. Three of the four days I worked this week could have been put into one day. This week was so slow.
I haven't talked about my office much because I get into trouble when I do this.
But I think it is important to talk about this stuff because if you are going through it I don't want you to feel alone.
Since February we have had to "lay-off" three staff members. It has not been pretty around here. And I have talked to some of my friends and they all have had to do lay-offs.
For us, we hate it, and we have tried to keep an open line of communication with the staff at all times. For example six months before a move we would say, "If things remain slow we are going to have to make some changes." Then again in three months. Then we may sit an individual down and tell them that change is going to be YOU. So we are trying to be as human as possible, knowing we are getting rid of one of the family.
I talked to an endodontist yesterday and he said, "I talk to dentists everyday and I can tell you that EVERYONE is feeling the same pain you are."
I don't know if that is suppose to make me feel any better or not. I am a sensitive kind of guy and when I am not busy I start with, "What did I do?" Are people just not liking the product that I am delivering?" Is it me? Is it me?
But he preempted his talk by saying, "John, I know you are the that kind of guy, IT IS NOT YOU." (am I that predictable?)
I have done all my letters. I have called everyone I needed to call. I have filled out all my charts. Now I just sit.
I don't know what else to do....maybe stand out on the street in a tooth fairy outfit and wave a wand (Please no comments on this).
There was a Chamber of Commerce Business "after hours" thing last night and I just couldn't bring myself to going. It was not because I didn't want to but I left the office at 4 and it was at 6. It was either wait at the office for two hours or go home and come back and that was not going to happen.
I was talking to the president of a large dental company (again, don't think I am all that because I throw names around. The guys kids go to my kid's school) and he said it is bad out there.
He says people are not doing dentistry. But he said the people who are advertising are worse off because they are not doing dentistry and on top of that paying for the ads.
Last thing, I get a 5 page list of everyone that owes us money. The front staff look over list and mark it up for me. People who owe us anywhere $2 to $2000. Each individual is marked telling what is being done. Most people have a check by there name telling me it is under control.
Some are marked 30 days, some are marked 60 days, and some are marked 90 days or sent to collections. Now collecting money has never been an issue here. I think we collect something like 98% but I think this is important, to be on top of this. But I noticed on this list more 30 and 60 days people. And people who you would never think would be on this list.
Just a sign of the times I think.
Now for some I have brought you down and for some I have made you feel a little better. The title of the blog is REALITY....how that for a little dose of reality.
But lets talk about the company REALITY.
If you are brand new to the blog, on Wednesday, I talked about how the company called REALITY. REALITY is a company that reviews dental products for a service. But sometimes there is a product out there that I want to get (well not now...I am not making any money so I ain't buying anything) and I look up the product on the REALITY website and it is not there. It has not been evaluated yet.
Well, apparently how they run things over there is that they wait until the manufacturer send them the product for them to evaluate.
Then upon probing the owner he said that companies are hurting and not likely to send out their products for evaluation. Because things are tight.
Well this is where I have a problem.
I wanted to know what he thought about electric toothbrushes. He hadn't evaluated any of them.
So are you telling me Sonicaire doesn't have 5 extra brushes to get evaluated?
Are you telling me Colgate doesn't? Yeah, Oral B is so tight that they don't have 5 brushes to spare.
Okay so REALITY would say that electric toothbrushes are a consumer product and not the main kind of thing they do.
But you see this is something people ask me about all the time. What do I think the best electric toothbrush is? Well, I say, "This is what I THINK."
So back to the companies being tight. Are you saying Kurray doesn't have a couple of bottles of SE Bond laying around?
So maybe that is not what he is talking about. Maybe it is the big ticket items that the companies are having a hard time giving up.
So lets say Patterson doesn't want to send over five brand new Cerec machines to REALITY. I can buy that. But what about lending them some used units and then getting them back. This is not rocket science. The consumer, the dentist (me and you, in particular), need this.
Here is another great example. I was reading the REALITY Now newsletter. This is a newsletter that if they have evaluated something they get it out right away.
So this month they are evaluating two curing lights. The DEMI and the Fusion.
In talking about the DEMI one of the sections is the tips for the light.
They talk about how all Demitron tips don't fit the DEMI light. But they claim that there are tips, 2mm and 4mm, specifically made for the DEMI but here is the kicker, "We did not receive
these new tips for testing."
See this is frustrating to me. See I have owned the DEMI light for over six months now and the literature is coming out this week. I can see that if you have a bunch of evaluators it takes time to get them the product then it takes time to get all the evaluators to get in their opinions. Then it takes time to put all the information together. But over six months.
Don't get me wrong. I love REALITY and I am totally on board with what they do. I understand this is not a perfect system. This is like an "in house" discussion. I am like a family member telling my brother that his Mohawk does not look good.
But if product has been out and I am using it and I think it is great and a year later the evaluation comes out and says that the product stinks....hmmm.
We are the tech age where we want things faster and better. We want it now.
This I think is no exception.
Okay I have beaten that dead horse pretty good.
Have a great weekend,
If you need me, I will be sitting at my desk doing NOTHING.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My wife and I went to the doctor yesterday to get an ultrasound. Everything went great. We are officially 33.7 weeks. The baby is 4 lbs and 12 oz. I asked a whole bunch of questions and this time the woman talked to us.
I asked about some of the things the baby could have. Spina Bifida, Downs and things like this. She said that you can tell about 50% of the time if the baby is Down's on an ultrasound. She said a lot of times in a baby with Down's the heart does not show all four chambers.
Our baby has all four chambers and looks great. Just very hairy. But we knew this. So we were tickled pink yesterday.
This baby is going to be so celebrated at the Gammichia house. We have waited a long time for little David Victor to be part of this family. Yes, we picked his name so we can pray for him by name.
David, a name from the Bible. A king in the Old Testament who "A man after God's own heart." Victor is my father's name and I want my dad to pay for lil' David's college.
I told my father it is like The US Airlines Arena. US Airlines had to come up with some dough to have its name on the arena. Once the 10 year contract is up, I told my dad, we can change his name. I mean it is only his middle name. I told my dad if the college fund is not what we need in ten years then who knows what we will call him in middle school.
I am just finishing up BlackBird. It got better at the end. I still didn't think it was very good. But it was a cliff hanger. So you are a bit intriqued on what happens to this girl who's mother died and then her father remarries and then dies. And then the step-mother,who is a wack job, tries to raise four children by herself. Then after two years gives up this girl to the grandparents.
That is where the story ends. When she is 11. And the book pushes the second book, "Her riveting (now that is a stretch) story continues...."
I was giving the book The Power of One and I heard this was a great book. I will start tonight.
Topic de jour.
I have talked about REALITY before on this blog. I am a big fan. For you new to this REALITY is an organization that rates all dental products. For a dentist it is really hard to know what is out there and if to believe the hype or not about a certain product.
So when I have heard about a product I go to realityesthetics.com and find out what they say. They are an independent company that does not have any hands in their pockets to influence them. What I mean is that I think they are very fair.
Okay, so lets think about there business model for a second. Dentist pay to hear what they say.
They use to put a book out every year with all rated products and another book to talk about technique.
I think there were levels of membership. If you just wanted the book you got in on the bottom floor. But I think the GOLD membership allowed you to call and talk to someone on the phone and ask any question you wanted.
I don't know if they lost market share but they stopped printing the book and just went to the online stuff. I think this was an effort to save money.
Since then have gone back to the book but still kept the website. They have a forum and a Just Rated section so you don't have to wait for the book.
Okay. Do you think this is a profitable venture? I don't know. I think the membership is $350.
Here is what got me thinking. I wanted to buy a product called the Dental Rat. This, if you don't already know, is a perio charting foot pedal. At our office we do a lot of perio charting. So when a hygienist is going to do charting she usually calls on our phone system that she needs some help. Well if we have three hygienists going and we probe every year. You kind of need a full time employee to chart. So I thought about the Dental Rat. So it is a wireless that sinks with any dental management system. It has buttons you press with your foot and the numbers come up on the screen. Pretty cool huh?
Well before I buy stuff I usually check with REALITY. Well they haven't rated this product.
Let me show you our dialogue about it.
What do you know about the dental rat? Have you tried it? Does it work?
We are aware of this product, but we have not received it for evaluation.
This begs the question, then why do you wait to receive the product? I am the consumer and I count on you and your company to evaluate products. I count on your ratings to help me practice. I say go and buy the thing and tell me how you like it. I know you have always waited to receive products from the manufacturer but how does that help me the consumer. It seems to only hurt me. If the company is afraid of your rating or evaluation...too bad.
Your membership fee is based on an economic model where companies provide the items without our having to purchase them. If we purchased all the products we evaluated, membership costs would be astronomical. Many companies today are struggling with the economy being what it is, so their providing enough samples for a full evaluation can create a hardship for them. On the other hand, if we reduced the number of evaluators, the depth of the evaluation could be compromised. Therefore, we peruse as many products as we can, but no evaluation service can cover every new product on the market. If there is sufficient interest in this product among the evaluators (at least 5 need to volunteer to use and evaluate it), then we will request the requisite quantity of samples from the manufacturer.
So what do you think?
They don't rate products unless the company sends them the product. I talked to the people at REALITY (don't think I am all that. All I did was ask on the forum which anyone can do.) and they said they have close to 10,000 members. So they have about a $4,000,000 budget.
Why can't they buy the products? I mean how many NEW items are there every year. I get that it could get expensive but....okay charge the member $100 more and then your budget will be 1 million more.
So then I called the Dental Rat people and they said they have never heard of REALITY. So now the consumer...me and you...are not properly informed before we buy something.
I just don't buy the response REALITY gave me. I don't buy that they can't buy the product. I don't know what CRA does but I find it very hard to believe that they wait around for a company to send them he product. And if so, why can CRA rate all these products and REALITY doesn't?
This is getting long. I want to gather my thoughts on this one. And I would like some feedback from you. Do you use REALITY? Do you use CRA? If not, what do you use to evaluate your products? Would you pay more to get more products evaluated? Let me know.
Have a great Wednesday.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Okay I am totally loosing it. I get movies from Netflix. This week I got Yes Man.
One small problem...I have already seen it.....TWICE.
My wife just shakes her head when it came in the mail and then proceeds to tell me the two times I have seen it.
I am reading this book BlackBird. You can always tell when I don't like a book when it takes me forever to read. Well I have been given a new book that I am excited about reading so I am trying to read this very bad book faster. I don't like not finishing a book so I plod through it thinking "this has just got to get better".
This book is about a girl that who lost her mother and her father remarried this other woman. The step mother favors her kids and is kind of mean to this girl, who is eight years old. Now what eight year old doesn't think that people aren't being fair to them? What eight year old doesn't think they were sent to their room for no reason at all. Now somehow this is suppose to be a National Bestseller. Oh and she thinks the dad works all the time and is never home. My kids say that about me....and I only work 4 days a week!!!
So I keep reading thinking something exciting is going to happen. But it is more of "I made my own pigtails and tied a pink ribbon around them to match the stripe on my shirt" and "I hate my step mother because she puts me on this stupid cross country team." YYYYAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.
I want to talk to you about something that happened to me yesterday.
I am serious this stuff really happens. I don't know if things just happen to everyone and I don't hear about it but I think more stuff happens to me for some reason.
I swear I have dental stuff to talk about but things keep coming up that I think you should hear about.
Wednesday, I went out to my parking lot at the end of a tough day. It was about 4:45. When I walked up to my car there was a old clunker parked next to me with another states plates. I don't really think anything of different cars in my parking lot because we have a workman's comp. doctor's office next door to us. Our parking lot is next door to his is separated by about 10 yards of grass. Some people will park in our lot and walk over. No big deal.
But I walked up to my car and there was a guy sleeping in the reclined drivers seat. I startled him and he acted like he was going to start his car and leave. I told him I was sorry and that I didn't see him there. I told him if I knew he was there I would have been quieter. For all I knew he could have been waiting for someone in the doctor's office. No big deal. I didn't even think about it and I went home.
The next morning at 6:45 I pulled up to my spot and his car was still there. I could plainly see the same guy sleeping. I walked on past and went into the office.
Okay so there is a guy sleeping in car in my parking lot.
I then sat back in my office and contemplated my next move.
1) Do nothing.
2) Tell him that this was private property and that we are trying to run a business and he was going to have to leave.
3) Go to him and see if he needed anything.
Now this option is definitely the hardest.
#1 was looking so good at this point. I could start my day and never think about him again...he would eventually leave.
But I could not let this one die.
We had a lunch and learn on Tuesday and we had some sandwiches left over. I took a sandwich and put it with a napkin and a tube of mayo and mustard and put it in a Ziploc. I walked out there.
I have to tell you that this is pretty far out of my comfort zone. I usually am a guy that will throw money at a problem and hope that it goes away. I don't like to get my hands dirty.
I have always had this issue with homeless people. I guess I am a bit prejudice. I think they are either lazy or mentally handicapped in some way or drug addicts. So I usually look the other way (I am not saying this is right. But what I am doing is working through this) when I see homelessness.
So I walked out there and I just simply asked if everything was okay.
He then went on to tell me about how is wife is in the hospital for an ectopic pregnancy. This hospital is about 9 miles south of my office. He went on to say that his wife has a sister that is the town about 10 miles north of my office. And he said he was running out of gas and found this shaded spot.
I told him I thought he could use some food and gave him the sandwich. He lit up like a torch. We spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to have conversation with him shoving the sandwich in his mouth.
I don't know if his story was true or not. My first thought is that he was full of baloney but I told you I am working through this. What if, the off chance, his story is true.
He told me he has been trying to get odd jobs at the LaborForce place up the road.
I went back in the office and got $10 out of petty cash. I brought it back out to Michael (now homelessness has a name. For me it becomes not homelessness but one man that is homeless and he is right in front of me in my parking lot). I told him that this will help him a little.
He kept apologizing for being in my parking lot. I told him to not worry about that. I told him he is more than welcome to stay as long as he needs.
And he said that he was going to try to pick up some day work and that he would pay me back for this gift.
I assured him that the $10 was gift not a loan. I also told him that I would help him as much as I could. I reiterated how that he could stay as long as he wanted and that when I have lunch I will look out at my parking lot and that if he was still here I will bring him some lunch.
That was the end of our talk.
He left shortly after our conversation and I could hear his car squeaking and banging from inside my office as he drove out of the parking lot.
I couldn't stop thinking about Michael the rest of the day.
I was kind of in a funk. You know the funk that nags at you. You can't really have fun or laugh knowing Michael doesn't have gas to get 10 miles up the road. The nag that has you thinking to yourself, "do you think his story was legit?" or "should I have given him more food or money?". Tons of questions and thoughts swirling around in my mind.
I thought about our society in general or God's society. Why is there homelessness? I mean there was homelessness in Jesus' time and there is certainly some in our time.
Jesus' said there will always be the poor. But he also says we should feed the hungry.
All this stuff running through my head.
How am I suppose to have fun? How am I suppose to work? It is paralysing.
But I have to tell you I want to help but not at the expense of my comfort.
I like my air conditioning at about 71 degrees in the office. If it gets to about 74 I start to get uncomfortable and the air conditioning guy is going to be called.
I don't want my ride home to be interrupted. I like my house and the pool and my nice lawn. I don't want anything to come between me and my comfort. My electric bill is enough to feed Michael and about 10 of his friends for a month.
My thoughts always go to... why shouldn't I have this stuff. I have worked hard to get to where I am at and I work hard to keep it.
See what I mean about my attitude. I will help the Michael's of the world with my excess. The left over food that was free.
Is this what God has called us to do? NO.
Is it okay to be comfortable? I don't know.
Is it okay to have stuff? Yes
Is it okay to love your stuff? NO
Is it okay to buy your kids stuff? Yes
But all I am doing is teaching my kids to love stuff.
For crying out loud....it is just stuff.
All because this guy slept in my parking lot. My world, my comfortable little world has been upset.
Dang it. Can't I just be comfortable in my nice car going to my nice office only dealing with good looking people and then go home to my nice house. Why did Michael have to come and screw it up?
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Today is the first day of school for my kids. My youngest son (for now) starts kindergarten this morning. My wife started to tear up last night (and so did I when I started to think about how much tuition costs).
Noah, my youngest is a talker. I am not just talking a little, I am talking alot of talking (I wonder where he gets it from). So God bless his teacher. And his class is 7 boys and 3 girls.
My daughter, I do not worry one bit about. She is so smart and doesn't need much from us in order to reach her potential.
Now, my oldest though is going into the fifth grade. He is a bit more of a tender heart. And he is a boy. He would rather grab ass with his buddies than read and do school work.
I mean he still tells people he wants to be an NBA player when he gets older (one problem...his dad is 5'9 and slow).
So on Monday night I went to the school's convocation. This was just some time to worship together and then see the kids classrooms and meet the teachers. As a quick aside, I remember my fifth grade and middle school years very well. I remember my teachers, I remember my friends and the struggles I went through. And when I was listening to these teachers talk and tell us about their teaching philosophies, it all started coming back to me. Oh isn't life grand. I didn't want to go home and tell my son, "Dude, that lady is going to be all over your butt all year." Instead I went home and said, "Oh man your teachers are going to be great. They are all so nice."
Well my son and I had "the talk". I had such grandiose ideas of how it was going to go down. We would spend the weekend at the beach. Have some man time. We would surf and go out to eat and then come home and watch sports. But it didn't quite happen that way.
I wanted to do this before school started. All of our weekends were packed with stuff and I couldn't find the ideal time to go. So as school loomed this weekend was the only one left. We had a birthday party on Saturday and church and a church function on Sunday night. I guess the beach is out because I have left no other weekend. So I said we will just go out to eat. Well because our weekend was so full I waited until Monday.
He finished all his summer work so his reward was lunch at the restaurant of his choice. And he picks Steak-n-Shake. (ahh, those were the days when all you wanted out of a restaurant was cheese fries and a large shake). So we had the time. Monday, lunch, time, Steak-n-Shake.
So what was I going to say?
Well we had a friend give us this book to help me. Well I started to read it was very weird in its approach. So I looked and the book was copyrighted in 1982. Thank you Lisa.
I am not sure but things have changed some since the middle ages.
I did have an approach in mind but really I was going to just go in the direction that our conversation takes me. (Not sure this is such a good idea)
So we go to Steak-n-Shake and I don't know what was going on but the place was packed.
So they sat us in the middle with tables all around us. I looked around and I did not want to scare the 6 year old sitting within arms length of me. So I asked the hostess if we could have a booth. She sat us in a pretty isolated booth and then the scene was set. I couldn't get out of it now.
So I start by talking to him about the fifth grade.
After some ideal chat about school I then went to how he was getting to an age where his body was going to start changing. Changing from a boy to a man. I told him about puberty and what that is. Okay so things are going pretty good. He is asking me good questions and I am not too nervous.
So then I ask him what he knows about sex. He stammers around for a couple of seconds and I realize (like I told you) he doesn't know a thing. (just last week he ask my wife how the doctors were going to get the baby out)
I go into Genesis and how God made man and he wasn't happy with just a man. Thing like that and all of this was part of his master plan. And how it takes a man and woman to have children. Just like when Noah filled the ark with a male and female animal.
So the next half and hour was kind of like a science lesson. I talked about how you need two cells to start this process of baby making....one from the man and one from the woman.
I then went into the woman's anatomy, I know I know, AWKWARD.
Essentially one hole to pee and one hole for reproduction. Yes, I used correct anatomical nomenclature.
I then explained to him what puberty in a woman looks like. And then I explained to him what a period is... AWKWARD. See my feeling was that if I left some things out the pieces would not fit. So I had to do the full Monte...maybe that wasn't a good choice of words.
So now for the grand finale. I had to tell him how the man's cell is able to fertilize the woman's egg. So I told him (I will not tell you because I think you all should know this) and we was eating and practically spit his food out and said,
WHHHHAAATTTTT!!! He said to me, "You would have to be naked to do this!!!"
"Well, yes Luke you have to be naked to do this."
At the end I had to finish with telling him this is top secret information. You cannot be telling all your friends this at school because some of the boys have not had this talk with their dads yet. And I told him that he can't tell Noah and other littler kids because they are not ready for it yet.
I finished by asking him if he any questions. He said, "Dad, I have a million questions. But I have to process all this stuff first."
I got to tell you I felt great after doing this. It was tough but I felt great about me and my son growing together. Parenting is tough in general and I think I fail most of the time. This one I can check off "success". I could look at my son and tell him this stuff because I know it is good for him and I can do it in love.
My father never gave me "the talk". (Actually Tom Schween did in the 7th grade). But now I hope I have started something that will continue for many generations of Gammichia's for a long time.
Have a great Wednesday,
ps I saw my son looking at my wife a little bit different since our talk.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Hope you are having a great week.
Let me tell you what a crazy week I have been having. I forgot to blog Wednesday. I started this blog yesterday thinking yesterday was Wednesday. I realized about half way through it that, "Today is Thursday." I am totally losing it.
I think I am all discombobulated because I have to give THE TALK to my 10 year old son this weekend. I can't stop thinking about it. I am kind of nervous. I know it is going to be okay. I know it will strengthen our bond. And it is something that should be done.
But I am going to have to use words I am very uncomfortable saying. Like I can't use the word Neh Neh when it comes to the female anatomy. Or I can't say Wee wee or "down there" or "your privates".
I am laughing right now knowing how uncomfortable it is going to be. This is going to be one of the things I ask God when I get to heaven. "Why did you make this stuff so complicated." I am freaking out (if you haven't figured this out yet).
My father wrote me an email about Monday's blog. I have to share it with you. He doesn't read the blog, but one of his friends told him to read Monday's post and this is what he wrote me.
He tried to comment on the blog but being fairly computer illiterate it vanished.
My response to your blog went into cyberspace, so I will do it here. First, being your dad and partner for the last 14 years has been a blast! I think there are certain characteristics of people who come into our profession; the desire to improve people's lives, to make a difference in their smiles and self esteem, etc; we also tend to be perfectionists. We all fall short of the glory of God. I gave up perfectionism when I realized that it was a contributing factor in getting divorced from your mom. You must learn to leave the office behind you and when you go home, give your family 100% of your attention. Then you will sleep better knowing that you are giving your family what you want to give your patients. The other reason for going into this profession is we want to constantly receive "Atta boys". We want to be accepted, loved and appreciated; but the only atta boy that counts is when God says to us, "well done my good and faithful servant."
My dad and my relationship has really grown. This email from him made my week. I don't think I have told you how hard it was for us to practice together for the first 5 years or so. But it has really been great for the last 9 or so.
I watched a movie called Reservation Road last night (not to be confused with Revolutionary Road). This was with Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Rufallo. Mark Rufallo was driving a car and accidental hits Joaquin's 10 year old son and kills him. But he leaves the scene of the accident.
Joaquin looks for the killer of his son and Mark is trying to deal with going to prison and how to turn himself in.
It was okay. I have plenty to be depressed about in my own life, I don't need a movie to add to that.
I am reading a book called BlackBird. It is suppose to be some critically acclaimed bestseller. The book is suppose to be about a child's life after she lost her mother. Well I am on page 150 and her mother is STILL ALIVE. I keep thinking to myself, "Won't this woman die already."
Okay topic of the day.
As the school year is getting ready to begin I have had the pleasure of seeing some of my patients go off to college.
I remember this time. I was scared, nervous, excited.
But I had ZERO direction. I didn't know what I was getting into.
So last week I had a patient and his father ask me to dinner to talk about college. See the kid is thinking about being a dentist and wanted to know my thoughts.
I thought about this for a long time. What do I tell a young man about college?
Wow, this is very daunting.
Well we went out and we started talking.
I first told him how things are going to be so great. You are going to have so much fun.
But it is going to be hard. I remember my father telling me one thing that I can remember and that is "Don't worry, college is like 13th grade." WRONG.
For me college was like 18th grade.
I told this kid that he has always been the golden child. He is a good looking kid, never did anything wrong, always got good grades, went to one of the finest private schools in Orlando. He was captain of the lacrosse team. He was the Golden Child.
And he is going to a place where you are one in a million. Everyone is the golden child. Everyone is smart (he is going to the University of Florida where everyone is smart and good looking).
You are going to a place that chews up kids like you and spits you out. You are going to a place where everyone wants to be a dentist or a doctor or a vet or pharmacist etc, and if everyone passed there wouldn't be enough space in graduate school.
They don't want you to fail but they kind of need you to fail.
The first couple of years when you are taking "core" classes, they make them hard on purpose so people will change there minds about dreams.
Oh, did I tell you that college was going to be so much fun. "The best 4 years of your life"
I warned him that college was about expanding your mind. So along school there are so many things fighting for your attention. Football and basketball games, Intramural sports, parties, drugs, fraternities, girls, etc...
This is the kiss of death. If you forget why you are there you will lose. If girls become more important than school you will lose. If you think sports are more important then school you will lose. School must be first always.
That parlayed well into my next and most important point. You are going to fail.
This is something I don't know I know how to explain to a Golden Boy.
It is not if you are going to fail, it is when. What is going to separate you from the next guy is how you deal with this failure.
EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE there is failing. Some might be failing in school, some might be failing with the ladies, others might be homesick; everyone is dealing with something (and it is no different than the real world.
Now some people hide it very well and you might think they have it all together, but they don't.
I think this was something I tried to tell him over and over again.
You ARE going to struggle with your classes and you ARE going to be homesick. Prepare yourself. The more you are prepared for this the better off you are going to be.
I try to equate this to my career. I just graduated from dental school and I thought I was hot snot. But no one told me I was going to fail on a monumental level. No one told me I was going to be lonelier then I have ever been. No one ever told me to fight through it and that it was going to be okay.
This is getting long for a Friday,
I may come back to this.
Wish me luck this weekend.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I hope you had a good weekend.
Mine isn't over yet but I wanted to tell you this brief story.
You know that I am all about customer service. I am all about never losing a patient.
Knowing this is impossible but if it is my power I would do my best to make everyone happy.
I rarely get calls on the weekend. If I do I absolutely have no problems going in to see a patient.
I feel like it is not the patients fault if something goes wrong on the weekend so I make myself very available.
My home and cell numbers are on the recording when no one is at the office.
So last night I was having a BBQ at a friends house. All the kids were playing and so were the adults. I put my phone and my wallet and keys down when I walked in.
As I was leaving I saw that I missed a call. We were all in a tizzy while trying to get the kids out of this person's house. We got in the car and the car ride is much like getting out of the house...mayhem. When I got home about 12 minutes later I listened to the voice mail.
It is a patient of mine. He had a couple of fillings done a couple months back. It started hurting about 5 days ago. But at dinner it started to really kill.
Then he asked if could please call him back I really in a lot of pain? I think he called at about 7pm.
After I heard the voicemail it was bath time and brushing of teeth, which I am in charge of.
I then got everyone ready for bed and started reading a book to them. In the middle of this my father called me and told me he got a similar voice mail from the same patient. He said he tried to call him back and the patient didn't answer his cell.
I told him I was reading to the kids but I would try to reach him as soon as I am done. At nine o'clock I tried to reach him.
He was not home. He didn't answer his cell phone and for my last ditch effort I called his wife's cell.
Turns out in the one hour we did not call him back he picked up the yellow pages and found a 24 hour dentist. And when I was able to reach the wife he was already at the dentist's office (which was about one mile from my house).
Okay somethings are going through my head.
Is he ticked off at me?
You call someone on Sunday night and is one hour too long to wait to get a return call.
The pain started 5 days ago. When did he realize it was escalating?
I know I am justifying my lackadaisical attitude about calling him back.
So then the wife tells me he is going to get a root canal and the other dentist was going to do it right then.
Now I am a little disappointed in myself.
I tell the wife that maybe the dentist could just give him a carpule of long lasting anesthetic and we could see him in the morning.
She said, "No, we will just have it done."
Then I continue with, "I don't think he is going to finish it tonight (a lower molar)." I guess I was trying to give her some outs. I guess I was trying to see if she would say, "after this episode, when could we get back to see you."
I tell her I am sorry for not getting back to them sooner. I offer anything I can. I tell her I could talk to the dentist if she wants.
She said, "No, it is what it is."
Damn, now I really pissed at myself.
So I wait 'til about 10:45. I call again. They are at the pharmacy and he is feeling a lot better.
He says the dentist instructed him that he was going to have to return the next day to have the root canal finished.
So if I am an emergency dentist, is it my job to get someone out of pain, op is it to get patients?
I guess this is me deflecting anger at someone else.
If I ever see some one's patient I always give them an out. I say, "we can numb you up until you can get back there." Or I will say, "I can get you out of pain with a partial root canal then you and your dentist can work it out." Or if the patient broke a tooth...."I can put this temporary crown on your tooth until you can get back to your dentist."
So like the wife said, "it is what it is."
Well, if this were the case, why couldn't I sleep last night?
Was it because I was mad at myself, the patient, or the other dentist?
Was I upset that the patient would have rather seen this dentist than me?
I mean he called me first sure, but he had plenty of outs to break it off with this other guy.
And he didn't.
It is not about the money, it is not about losing a stupid root canal, it is all the other stuff.
I probably should have been there for this guy and I wasn't.
I sure as heck talk a big game but I guess this time I play a good game.
Have a good Monday,
Mine is sucking,
Friday, August 7, 2009
Did you do your homework?
I tell you it is nerve racking. But so far I have checked out okay.
For the ones reading my blog for the first time. We are talking about how Google seems so great but because of the comfort of no one knowing who you are, people are using the world wide web. They are using it to write nice things about dentists and other people are using it to crucify dentists.
I gave the readers a homework assignment to Google their name.
I occasionally look up other dentists on the internet. I might Google their name to get their phone number and their website. But much to my dismay a bunch of review sites come up.
I look at the reviews. I have to...it is like a bug flying to the blue light that is going to kill them.
Now I won't ramble on anymore, read the comments from one review site and I will comment afterwards.
I don't love going to the Dentist, but I can tolerate this one!!!!
February 07, 2009
There are Dentist and then there are Dentist, but there is only one like Dr. Soandso. In dental work it is necessary to pay attention to details. The more OCD you are, the better the results are. Why would you want it any other way unless it was for convenience or temporary. Her team worked through my TMJ issues and never made me feel "High Maintenance", as I sometimes can be. The best part is that I can't even tell I had a procedure done. It feels totally natural and comfortable. I would recommend anyone and even those with very small mouths.
Pros: You can stay pre occupied by looking out 2nd story big windows to street view.
Cons: You can't be in a hurry.
Not worth it at all.
November 08, 2008
I totally agree with the NEGATIVE reviews. Dr. Soandso is an average dentist. She takes forever to do a filling and she is somewhat rude if you have any issue at all. I felt rather "flu-like" one day during a filing and had to reschedule. She became over-bearing and said I just needed to get through it. It is because of the money you shell out. They do not take insurance up front. You have to pay her out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed. Not to mention, Melissa, one of her staff members...is a not professional at all. Watch your husbands if you send him into this office.
for the most complex dental issues, she's the best
October 12, 2008
I don't usually post on these public sites but after seeing a couple of the recent postings felt that additional input was appropriate. I am not doubting those who felt and posted negatively, just stating that the majority of patients probably feel highly positive as I do. I have been seeing Dr. Soandso for over a dozen years. First started after receiving a referral from a colleague. I have always gone for regular dental exams and treatments and thought that things were well in hand. At the first visit/consultation I learned that I had numerous issues that should be dealt with. The thing that amazed me most was that no dentist or specialist had ever taken the trouble to tell me a comprehensive approach to not just fixing things as they went wrong, but taking a proactive course to create a healthy mouth for a lifetime. Dr. Soandso has provided excellent care and guidance as well as coordinating the work of other specilaists. Yes, she is a perfectionist and the quality results will take longer and cost more than other dentists. If you are the type who feels that losing your natural teeth and eventually filling your mouth with dentures is inevitable, then keep seeing whoever you think is good enough. If you want to preserve your own teeth for a lifetime, Dr Soandso is the best doctor to help you make that a reality.
Cons: not on insurance plan
WARNING! If you are not the perfect patient, do NOT go to this dentist!!
May 12, 2008
I have an overactive gag reflex, which, while I admit has been problematic in the past, has always been workable with every dentist I've been to (I move a lot for work, so I've been to LOTS of dentists all over the country). Dr Soandso started out sweet as can be, but once I started having trouble with my gag reflex during a filling, she was IMPATIENT, ARROGANT and RUDE. She flat out said to me, while in the middle of the procedure "Next time someone works on your mouth, let them know about this problem." I asked, "Are you asking me not to come back?!" To which she responded (with intense eye contact) "Next time SOMEONE works on your mouth let them know about this gag problem." She actually said that FOUR times over the course of the appointment. I couldn't believe it!
After reading rave online reviews of this Dr. Soandso I scheduled an appointment. First one was a check up. Everything was fine (except for the bill, which you must pay for OUT OF POCKET and hope your insurance will reimburse months and months later!). Then I had a cleaning - great hygienist. Then came appointment for the filling. It was an awful, torturous, three-hour event. One time I started to gag because the Dr had grabbed my tongue without warning (hello!). And when I started to gag she huffed and said "She's starting to loose it again!" She took out the ... stuff... (I don't know the terms for the equipment) that was in my mouth and looked at me and asked in a harsh tone, "If I offered you a million dollars to not gag, could you do it?" "No" was my immediate reply. With a disbelieving look, she asked "A MILLION dollars? Really?" I paused to consider... and replied again with a simple "No." She then proceeded to numb my tongue and roof, side and bottom of my mouth with SEVEN shots. And the last thing she said as I left was "Don't forget. Next time someone works on your mouth, let them know about this."
Ick. Just don't go.
Pros: Great dental hygienist - got an excellent cleaning
Cons: Once my gag reflex became a problem, Dr. Soandso became huffy and impatient and asked me not to return!
Average work astronomical prices not nice to staff
April 04, 2008
This dentist has a very high opinion of her work which she so states over and over and chrges through the roof for. The work was average and the words she used on her staff when she though no one was listening cannot be repeated. I am surprised is she can retain a staff.
Pros: Good parking
Cons: High prices
March 13, 2008
If you are wealthy you are welcome here. The prices charged are not justified by the quality of the work or the cleanliness of the office. The office is dreadfully dirty for a medical office with odd smells coming from the carpets. This is not a high class operation. Look hard at the character here and you will want to go elsewhere.
Pros: Good Cosmetic Dentist
Cons: Dirty Office High Prices
Super Dentist does one exist? YES!!!!
January 02, 2008
I went to Dr. Soandso for the first time today due to a tooth ache. I had never heard of her, did no research other then to find a dentist near my office. I called and they were able to take me in and work me in between scheduled patients. She was an amazing Dentist and her staff was great. She was very kind and took her time to explain the tooth extraction and made it as painless as possible. I was very impressed with how terrific this experiance was and upon after the fact researching her she is one of the top Dentist in X. I can see why!!!! If your looking for an incredible Dentist and person look no further call and book the appointment.
J. Chet Stephens
Pros: Kind, gentle,efficient,talented!!!!
Cons: Didn't see any.
Absolute Best Dentist in X
September 07, 2006
There's a reason Dr. Soandso is always listed among the "Best Dentists in X" in X Magazine's annual review: she is known by her peers, her colleagues and her patients as an extremely talented, dedicated and caring professional.
I began going to Dr. Soandso about three years ago. I needed some cosmetic dentistry and had read an article about famous "celebrity dentists" and how someone can find a dentist with similar credentials in their area by contacting the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. I did and they gave me Dr. Soandso's name. As it turns out, Dr. Soandso is the only accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in the X area and one of only a few in the State of Florida. (According to the Academy's website, the "accredited" designation is given by the Academy to a dentist who has "extensive advanced training and education in cosmetic dentistry...has successfully passed a rigorous Accreditation Board Examination of their work and cases...and who has demonstrated a very high level of clinical excellence and ability in cosmetic dentistry").
When I first met Dr. Soandso for an initial consultation, she conducted the most meticulous dental exam I've ever had. She then took her exam notes, and my xrays, close-up tooth photos and models and wrote up a detailed treatment plan - her recommendation of the work that needed to be done and the order it in which it should be completed. She presented the plan to me about a week later explaining everything in detail (showing exactly what was needed and why it was needed) and encouraged me to take my time to think about it all - she even encouraged me to go out and get a second or third opinion on her recommendations!
Three years later, I'm thrilled I found Dr. Soandso! I will continue to see her and recommend her to my friends and family. She is very gifted, honest, compassionate, ethical and professional - the absolute best!
Best dentist in X
July 27, 2006
I have been a patient of Dr. Soandso for 6 years now and would not consider going to anyone else. She is at the top of her field in General, Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry. If you are looking for a GREAT dentist...look no further!
Best dentist in X
April 27, 2006
If you have suffered from sloppy dentists, your gums are inflamed, your root canal needs epiectomy, you were told that there is no other way for you to survive but to extract your teeth or get them into snow-white veneers, see Dr. Soandso before you make any decision. She is the one to consult regarding all your dental problems. Highly skilled, detail oriented, artisticly gifted, and impecabbly honest, this doctor will restore your smile to its natural beauty in the least traumatic way.
Pros: Quality, Esthetics, Honesty
Cons: Ins. is not accepted, Expensive
Okay, what did you think?
So I am consumer looking for a dentist and I look this person up.
What did we learn? I get that she is expensive. I get that people really like her but not everyone. And I get that the people that like here really like her and the people that don't, well they really don't.
Would I pick up the phone and call her office? I don't know (I have to admit I might use my search as an adjunct to a personal referral from one of my friends).
This certainly would be enough negativity to make me think about not calling.
This review site might be a very fair representative of what people think of her office. 6 for...3 against.
But all our dirty laundry is aired out online. I mean as every generation gets comfortable using the internet it is going to get worse. I think we have to be ready to swallow this pill. The pill that when someone is displeased with your service they are going to let everyone know about it.
There might be alot of good in the review but if you were anything like me you just hate the negative. Less than 100% positive is like a spear right through the heart.
I have come a long way with this in the past 7 or 8 years. I can handle when someone doesn't come back. I am okay when someone doesn't accept one of my treatment plans.
But it looks like I am going to have to come farther. I know I am not ready yet. Because when I read that first negative thing on the internet about me and my office, my world is going to come crashing down.
Are you ready?
Do you have any stories? Let me know about them.
Have a great weekend,
ps. I am running 18 tomorrow. Wish me luck.
pps. As I write this I am thinking about how to flood the market with good reviews. If you have more reviews that site comes up higher on Google. So what if I gave my patients a $20 voucher if they review my office online?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Oh my gosh it seems like so much has gone on since I talked to you last. I missed you.
I was on vacation for 10 days. It was nice.
I spent half of the time at the beach. Wake up, go to the pool. After a couple of hours we would go to the beach. After a couple of hours we would come up and have lunch. Then go back down to the pool and then to the beach. Come up and shower and get ready to go out to dinner. Eat, play cards with the family and crash. Wake up and repeat four more times. It was pretty relaxing.
Daddy, daddy, daddy will you throw me in the pool. Daddy daddy will you dig a hole in the sand so all the kids could play in.
Daddy, daddy I have sand in my crack can you help me.
Daddy daddy can I some more ice cream,? Huh, can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh?
I did read like a fiend.
I finished The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. I really liked this book. It was very fair and it was entertaining and it was written by a 21 year old. Good for him.
I then read a book called Under the Overpass. I liked this book as well. This is the one that two college kids live like homeless people for 5 months. They are hungry, cold, smelly, hot, irritable, scared just like real homeless people are.
They experienced what it was like to be treated like a leper, even from people in a church.
Lastly I read, Running with Scissors. Why didn't any tell me about this book. I HATED it.
I did finish it but it was like driving on the highway and seeing an accident and not looking over to see the carnage. You have to finish reading this book like you have to take a peak at the crashed car.
I kept thinking of one word while I was reading this....Indulgent. He was telling us stuff that was foul in a way that was even more foul.
The back of the book shows what all the critics think. They are like, "Hilarious!!" and "It is as funny as it is messed up." I mean this book is so critically acclaimed.
I didn't laugh one time. In fact I was disgusted most of the time.
For instance, at 13 years old he comes out of the closet. Then his psychiatrist's daughter introduces him to another gay man. She thought they would hit it off.
One problem the other dude is 32 years old. Oh, they hit it off alright and he continues to discuss their intimacy in detail. So unlike GQ and Newsweek I didn't think anything about the book was "HILARIOUS and FUNNY". Unless statutory rape got humorous and I didn't know it.
I wanted to find out if I was alone in my horror. So I went to Amazon and found this critique...
This book is to literature what Jerry Springer is to meaningful social commentary. It's poorly written, pointless, vapid, and gratuitous. Defiantly the worst book I have read in a long time. I was sucked in by the hype. Sure, some will say that I just don't "get it," but there are a lot of people out there too dense to see that just because something is bizarre doesn't mean that its profound. This is drivel. The events described are too bizarre to be believable and, even if they are true, they're not interesting. I suspect that this is a "memoir" in the same sense as "A Million Little Pieces," i.e., a fraud. I recently read an interesting article about how the family in this book is suing the author for defamation. Burroughs is clearly milking the dysfunctional bandwagon for all it's worth. If this is what passes for "genius" these days (as one reviewer described Burroughs), then our civilization needs to be destroyed...
Enough of this already.
I finished with the John Adam's series. I now know why I am not a history buff....it is kind of boring.
I know I know I shouldn't say that but it is.
Okay I wanted to get back to a real topic.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a story about a woman that wanted advice about a certain dentist.
What is the first thing I did? I Google'd this dentist's name.
If you remember this dentist had some really bad things attached to his name and all I did was recommend her to google his name. (If you are wondering I did get a "thank you" card from this woman saying that she is NOT going to go this dentist and thinks she has found a much more trust worthy dentist).
Google is great. I Google everything. I will Google questions about anything. I
Google movies, plants, actors...the list goes on. I love Google.
But to a dentist....to your practice....Google can be dangerous. The world wide web can be a dangerous place.
Have you ever Googled your name? If you haven't you should.
You don't have to have a website to have a web presence.
Meaning whether you want it or not you have a web presence.
If you Google your name or practice name a couple of things could happen.
If nothing shows up then you have just dodged a bullet.
You might have a white pages listing or a find a dentist listing but for the most part not much comes up. If you have seen the things I have seen "nothing" sometimes is a good thing.
The second thing that could happen is stuff comes up about you. Your website.
Your name was listed in a volunteer list on your church's website. You had an article written about you in a local magazine. Things about you come up. This is a good thing.
Now the top two is about where most of us might be.
The next couple of options is where things get a little hairy.
Let me give you some background info.
The internet has become people's lives. It is slowly becoming my life. I think I would be totally lost without the internet in this stage of my life. I get my news from it. Breaking local news. my global news, my sports news, my weather. I get directions to where I am going. EVERYTHING.
I get recommendations on vacation spots. I look for reviews on restaurants, books, movies, doctors. There is not much I do that I don't consult the internet for.
So knowing that the internet is people's lives you have to understand why social networking is getting so HUGE on the internet.
People finally can write what they are thinking. It is a place where shy people can slowly become very bold. Quiet people can become loud. Anonymity is making people feel powerful.
On another point, we are in a profession that we deal with people. We deal with every kind of person. We deal mostly with happy people but we have to deal with some unhappy people.
There are just people that you can't please.
In some offices the percentages of happy people are higher but in every practice there are people that are not pleased.
I kind of do a mental check of my own office all the time. Why would someone leave my office?
Have I been at my best lately? Are prices are too high? Are we caring enough about people?
I find the largest room in the house is the room for improvement (You like that, huh?)
So those two points being said....
1) the internet is becoming people sounding board
2) no practice has a 100% people pleasing rate
is sometimes a deadly combination.
I am going to leave you hanging here.
But I am going to give you some homework.
Google your name
and then go to some dental search places
When I do this I get nervous while I am reading it. I want only positive stuff out there about me and in this case there is really nothing I can do about it.
Let me know what you found out about yourself.
I am glad I am back,
I hope you are too.
The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.