Friday, July 13, 2012

A Shadow and a Vacation

I promised pictures from the vacation, but I want to tell you a quick story first. A couple days after I gave my first lecture in Tampa (a 2 hour drive from my office), I got an email. It was a fella that lives in the Tampa area asking if I thought it would be okay if he came to shadow me.

I was kind of impressed. I mean, how many of us would take a day off, travel two hours (really four hours) to go to a guy’s office that you don't know to see how he/she works? We all think that would be cool, but no one actually does it. I told him that I thought it would be fun and that his fee would be to buy us lunch. He agreed.

We found a day that worked best for both of us and booked it. I told my scheduler that all I wanted to do that day was fillings, so we booked a day with about 15 fillings: facials, class IIIs, posterior stuff.

The day came and, lo and behold, he showed up. He is probably in his mid 50s, but other than being a little older, he is a lot like me. He is a Pankey grad and is really into CE. He has had his ups and downs in his practice. He has had partner issues, landlord issues (now that my eyes are open to this, turns out a lot more folks are going through this than I thought). His production is down since 2008, like all of us, and he has had to adjust his staff because of it.

Along with having the same issues on the negative side, he is still having some success. He loves dentistry and he loves doing work like I do. It was kind of like the first conservative dentistry group session. We talked a lot about just saving teeth. We talked about how products are advancing so much that you can save a tooth from a crown by putting a big filling on it and feel confident that it is going to last. We talked about products, techniques, life. It was awesome.

I have written a blog or two about this very thing. How many of us don't know what is going on at our periodontist’s office or our oral surgeon’s office? How about the really good dentist in your town that has an awesome reputation? Why aren’t we calling him up and asking if we could just hang with him for an afternoon?

Are we too embarrassed? Are we too proud? Is it a sign of weakness? Heck no, it isn't. To me, it is a sign that person that wants to get better at his trade. To me, it is about our patients. I have a responsibility to them and I won't let my pride get in the way of that anymore. I owe that to the guy who me what I need to do.

It was awesome. Now, if I could only find a way to make money by having people shadow me… Just kidding. But, not really. (Speaking of, I watched Shark Tank for the first time and I liked it. I am always thinking of ways to make things better, and this show is right up my alley.)

Now for some photos of our trip. First I have to show you a photo of me and the kids swimming. David has become so much fun in the water now that he can swim. He is two-and-a-half and really does so well in the pool. He likes to be thrown.

We packed up the family van and left at about 7:00 on Saturday morning. If you didn't notice, the whole country was in a heat wave last week. We stopped off in Charlotte at a rest stop to eat and it was 107 degrees. We got right back in the car and kept driving. We got there at about 5 p.m. Turns out, it was the hottest it has ever been in the mountains. I think it was about 85 when we got there. The problem is, none of the homes have air conditioning because it never gets that hot Luckily, it was comfortable at night. The lows were in the mid- to lower 60s and the highs were in the low 80s all week. You can't beat that with a stick.

We started the vacay on my friend’s balcony with a cook-out, beer and whiskey, and a cigar. I will never take the views of mountains for granted. The place we stayed at was a five bedroom, four bath house that slept 10. It had great views and a wraparound porch. Here are two photos of the porch and the view from the porch.

We got it for the whole week for $730. Wow! I could wake up and go out on the balcony and have breakfast and read a book and it was awesome. At dusk, we were out there playing cards and just enjoying the outside, knowing that it was 97 degrees back home. We did some fishing on a trout farm. We did this 17 mile downhill bike ride. You rent bikes at the bottom of the mountain, then they take you up and you ride down. There are creeks along the way where you can skip rocks and swim. There is a diner about halfway down where you can have lunch. This was an awesome day.

We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway one day and stopped in Little Switzerland for lunch. We also stopped in to see the Lindville Caverns. We were on our way to Asheville to go to the Biltmore. Turns out the Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful, but not the fastest way to get somewhere. We got to Ashville around 2:30 and Biltmore closes at 4:30. We nixed that idea because it is $60 a person, so we hung around Asheville and shopped for a couple of hours. I actually didn't like Ashville. I love Biltmore and its little town, but Asheville? I could take it or leave it.

I was able to play golf one morning and my wife took the kids shopping at Blowing Rock (I definitely got the better end of that deal). On the 4th of July, we went to the Banner Elk annual parade, and there was an art festival going on too. That night we blew off a ton of fireworks that we had bought on the way up.

All in all, we had a great time. Great memories. The kids are still talking about it. The parents need another vacation, but we will get some rest in about 16 years when the last kid goes off to college. I hope you guys are able to get away this summer.

I am glad I am able to share my stuff with you. Have a great weekend.


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