Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
As an aside this will probably be my last blog of the year. I am working Monday and Tuesday of next week and that is it for the rest of the year. So I probably will not be able to have time to blog next week, considering I have lots to buy and I don't have all my lights up on the house. I mean I did it all but then I went to Lowes yesterday and they had all their Christmas stuff HALF OFF. I bought about 10 boxes of lights. $3 for a box of C-9 lights...are you kidding me. $3 for a strand of those tubes light, oh I had to get 5 boxes of those.
So I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all of you. Have a great New Year. It has been a tough year for some of us, but let me remind you how blessed we are.
I hope you all of you get some good family time this year and some good eatin'. I will see you next year.
My daughter said a Madisonism this week that I thought you would get a kick out of.
After Thanksgiving, I play nothing but Christmas songs at the house, in the car, and at work. I want to get in the mood.
Well we are in the car and the song Angels We Have Heard on High starts to play. So the lyrics are Glooooooooo-ooooooooooo-ooooooooo-ria, In Excelsis Deo.
So we are singing and Madison says, "How are we suppose to know what we are singing when they write the song in German?" . My wife and I totally busted a gut.
In my book Tim Keller is talking about how Success can be a god, which I can relate to.
Some of us are driven by success and we find our identity in success. Success becomes our god.
He also says that as he had counseled people in life he hears things from the affluent that he never would hear from the less affluent.
Things like, "Life isn't suppose to be this way."
He says he never hears this kind of talk when he is around the poor.
Why do we think that because we have money and we are "successful" s!@#$%t isn't going to happen? Do we think because we work hard and have some means that we are not going to have issues? No, but I think it does mean that we will work hard to persevere.
Okay about our topic.
I have to tell you that I only got one comment from yesterday's blog. I am not going to take it personally. I am not going to think that no one is reading. I am not going to thing that no one likes me.
I am chalking it up to too much eggnog on your behalf.
The one comment....
Word is getting around about what a great guy you are John and people are starting to take advantage of you. I do help certain people out in my office but only the ones I know, not people off the street. What I do to prevent the flood gates of what you are describing from opening is to volunteer at a clinic that is set up to help people in need. This way I help people who need it but it has nothing to do with my office.
I do agree with some of this commentor's comments. I especially like the "great guy" comment. But I get an e-mail (I don't know how they get my personal e-mail) and it asked me to help. What do I do ignore their request? It is 20 minutes out of my day, a day that I might add is NOT stocked full of paying patients at the moment. Maybe I won't help everyone "off the street" but I might help everyone that at least asked me.
Now this person says he helps "the one's he/she knows" but I have to tell you I am helping people I know from church that I don't really like.
Sometimes if you know them, you know that they are in a position that they are in, not being able to pay, because of their lack of drive. They are adults that are stupid and have been fired from their jobs and then their kid falls down while ice skating. Do you punish the kid because their parents are lazy asses?
See sometimes knowing people is worse then not knowing them. You just fill a cavity and let them go. You don't have to know why they lost their job, you don't have to see what kind of car they drive, you don't have to see their new blackberry with the data plan and cringe.
I have told you that I think of my talent as a gift from God. I told you that Jesus talked about us multiplying our talents and he talked about what it would look like if we didn't multiply our talents...not good.
He talked about Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, and if you read between the lines, you might see fix or pull the teeth of the decayed.
"Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you did unto me."
My problem now is I can't stop. I can't say NO.
I know it is terrible business. I know in the long run it is not really helping me (meaning I don't think all of my patients that I don't charge are running out and telling their rich friends all about the gentle dentist they just went to).
I guess what I am going to do is go with the flow. As the economy is crappy, people are going to need me. If the economy gets better then people are going to need me, but this time they might be able to pay.
I will continue to help people with reckless abandon, and I am not going to think about it. If I have openings in the schedule I can either walk around the office and get pissed about seeing my staff huddled around the front talking and laughing and doing nothing or we can help someone in a bind. (This is not a jab at my staff, sometimes there is just nothing to do).
I think this is just how I would wanted to be treated if I was in a bind.
Will some people take advantage of this? Absolutely. Do they take advantage of me? Absolutely. But I try to not think about it. I don't want to not help the masses because one person is a total mooch. (At my Dentistry from the Heart free dental day, someone rolled up in a current model S500 Mercedes).
I know it is crazy. It is a terrible business model: to just help someone without any questions, to do it and never think about it again, and go home and feel God's pleasure.
It is in my genes. I just can't stop.
I am glad we had this talk (I feel like it was kind of one sided)
Have a great holiday,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The saga with the unhappy patient is over.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Yep, that was Ric's mission, although Ric doesn't recall Ric having a choice about whether or not to accept the mission. Thursday night the Bunco ladies were over to the house for their Christmas festivities (if you have not experienced the suburban dice game, you are really missing out guys). Friday was Ric's office Christmas party at our house, Saturday was our Sunday School Christmas party and Sunday was a Christmas party for the Venue Band (a praise band Ric sings in at church).
In between, Ric met with his banker and accountant for end-o-the-year planning. Ric doesn't want to give it away but Ric thinks Uncle Sam is getting a nice present from Ric this year. But it is on backorder so he won't get it until mid-April. Nonetheless, still a pretty nice present if you can wait for it.
Ric also saw a couple of emergency patients at the office over the weekend. That seems to come in waves. Ric can go months without one and then go several weekends in a row with one.
After all of that, Ric believes he is now ready for the holiday to begin. The air is cold and crisp, Christmas music is playing in the office and the procrastination on buying the kid's presents is well into its 50th week. Aaahhh, Ric loves the prospect of again filling the tree with presents that are purchased from the in-stock leftovers of area stores during frantic lunch-hours and the Friday remaining before the big day. We do it every year and, quite honestly, it is fun. Our kids all have birthdays in November and December so we are getting those presents early and Christmas presents just seem to get put off until later.
Well, today is one of those rare days where Ric is busy but his hygienist isn't so Ric better get back to prepping crowns.
Have a great week.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Okay I have a couple of short stories that I will turn into a blog.
Nice guy about 70 years old.
I completely understand and I'm sorry about the confusion. There are a lot of people out there who can't afford the real thing so I give them a chance to own a similar item for way less. I would never think of tricking a buyer, that is why I put in my listing that the free item is not a David Yurman. I will retract your bid and all will be fine. Thanks again,
My faith in people restored. I wrote her back telling her I applauded her integrity and I appreciated her letting me off the hook.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I swear I wasn't like this before starting my business 3 1/2 years ago, and I have never been diagnosed so I don't mean to offend anyone with diagnosed depression ("what's the deal with cancer").
However, the voices are back.
Not the fun happy sarcastic voices.
The "YOU SUCK" voices.
Ever get those? Ever have one of those weeks where you are just worn down? One of those weeks where you are a walking panic attack. An actor who walks around the office smiling but has to hurry back to the privacy of my private office before the true emotions come through. A week where you know you have snapped at your kids and wife when they didn't deserve it. A week where you had unfounded, random fears of being diagnosed with cancer or having a family member die (yeah, I have those voices a lot). Then to cap it all off you hit a weekend where instead of relaxing and recharging you spend 6 hours rebuilding a hard drive in one of your operatory computers (can't wait to get that bill) and then spend Saturday seeing a patient in severe post-frenectomy/extraction pain who can't wear his new denture because of the inflammation.
I don't even know where to begin so if this is stream-of-consciousness and you don't like it - fine, skip to Wednesday. I'm lying on the couch now, ready for the healing to begin.
November was one of the worst collections months in the brief history of this office. It was a month where I am still juggling bills so that everything clears on time. It was a month where you realize that there is no such thing as a "profit margin" in a dental practice with the start-up costs we have. It was one of those months where I felt like Bernie Madoff - is this really a successful business or simply a fancy maxillo-mandibular-ponzi scheme.
It was one of those months where I had to expend all my energy juggling bills and fighting the pressure to "diagnose to help the bottom line". I don't know the technical term, but I don't think non-dentists can appreciate that pressure. Is it only me?? I am extremely conservative on my diagnosis. If a practice manager came in I'm sure the 1st thing they would say is to cut 2 staff members and the 2nd thing they would say is to start diagnosing more crowns. BUT I WILL NOT COMPROMISE, I WILL NOT SETTLE, I WILL NOT STOP FIGHTING. I hate the pressure of having a stack of bills on my desk and still diagnosing as if I am Bill Gates. I don't like leaving an operatory frustrated because the tooth isn't cracked a little more to justify a crown.
It is the holidays, I want to be generous and happy. I love giving things to people - that is my gift and my curse (thanks granddad). I employ a single mom, a young woman putting herself through college, and 2 new moms (one of whom's husband recently lost his job). I have a responsibility to these people. They have each worked so hard this year, and we are growing but there is just nothing extra. How do you do Christmas bonuses?? I am not going to be able to do much and that just bugs me.
There is an analogy that I use all the time in situations like this. If you enter a strange room and the second after you enter the room all the lights go out, if you continue moving across the room your mind will retain the brief image of the furniture in the room and you can navigate across the room without hitting anything. If, however, you stop, you lose that image and it is more difficult to make it across the room. I can self-diagnose and give myself that advice. It seems dark now but remember your vision, just keep moving forward, stay the course. I know we are doing fine (Mr. Banker if you are reading this - believe me, we are doing fine - promise). That said, it is a hell of a lot easier to cross the room with a freaking light on.
Well, I can't put it off any longer. I have to go through the stack of mail on my desk and start figuring out what bills to pay. Time to put on the iTunes and just do it. Hopefully next week will bring back some of the mania that everyone enjoys so much more.
Have a good week,
Friday, December 4, 2009
All my flag football teams are getting rolled on. The first grade boys are kind of having a hard time focusing (imagine that). We have practice one day, and all we do at practice is this ONE play. Then the very next day, at the game, we go to run this play and half the kids are looking up in the sky doing pirouettes and the other half has no idea where to go. One kid starting running the wrong way with the ball.
My fifth grade team is going pretty good. I think most of the kids are having a good time. We played an undefeated team yesterday, and I think we held our own pretty good. We were down 18-7 at halftime and on the last play before halftime it was our guy running all by himself and somehow got caught from behind. That was a game changer. We lost 38-7, but it was much closer. They scored two quick ones at the end.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Gator Basketball team (I am not talking about the other Gator team) beat #2 Michigan State on Friday night and then beat Rutgers on Saturday. So we moved into the rankings yesterday at #13. We play #5 Syracuse next Thursday. I'll let you know how it goes.
I wanted to talk to you about the phone call. In case you missed the first blog about this call, let me refresh your memory. Well because I am running out of time in the day let me just give you a link to the first blog.
I know sometimes you go in your office and isolate yourself from the phone calls. You isolate yourself from the collecting money. You isolate yourself from conflict up at the front.
How do you get the person to realize they are calling the Ritz-Carlton of dental offices. I am not talking about stick your nose up Ritz-Carlton. I am talking about the five-star service Ritz-Carlton. And if the person is a CEO or some high-flooten job like that it shouldn't take them long to figure out this place is special.
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.