Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When the spouse calls the office....

The owner has to know how much memory our computers need. The owner knows the computer repair guy charges by the hour but the clock starts when he leaves to start driving to the office. Wait... we are done with that topic aren't we?

By the way I thought we did a great job on last week's blog. Comments were great and I think very helpful to our ghost writer.

Dentistry from the Heart is Friday. Oh my gosh, it has been crazy. The planning is overwhelming. We have done all the work but now our job is making sure everyone that says they will help follows through.

The BBQ guy is supposed to get here at 6:30am. The radio station van is coming at 7am. I am supposed to call the radio station the day before to pitch our day. The breakfast and lunch have to be picked up. The dental supplies are already ordered. Shirts are here. I did some spring cleaning on the lawn this weekend to make the office look nice. The floral gift baskets for the volunteers have been ordered. I sent out an email to remind all the volunteers, especially all the absent minded dentists (present company included).

The phone is starting go crazy. So much so that we have recorded a voicemail and once someone starts to ask about it, we transfer them to the voice message. Did I forget anything? Gosh, I hope not.

I was watching TV and I heard the nominees for the best picture Oscar. I went right to my Netflix queue and put them all to the top of the list. This weekend I watched Winter's Bone ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... oh, did I fall asleep there? This movie sucked. I was like, you have got to be kidding me. I could have made this movie. It wasn't anything. It wasn't compelling; it wasn't entertaining; it wasn't funny; it was nothing.

I have wanted to talk to you about a topic that is very near and dear to most of our hearts - when the spouse calls the office. Now, I know all of you spouses (men or women) that are reading this might get a little upset with me, much like my wife has done for the last 15 years.

I would get a call from my wife and it would go something like this: "Hey, what are you doing?"

I am going to give you time to think about that.
You are in the middle of filling from hell. You have two hygiene checks waiting, you are 5 minutes behind already, and your next patient is here.
"Dr. John, your wife is on line 3."

"Hey, what are you doing?"

I know, I know, it is not fair. I know she is probably in a world of s!@#$%t too and that question is like saying hello. Oh man, my wife and I have had so many fights over this.

When we first got married my wife was new to this town. She had no friends and no job, and I was not that busy at work. So we had time to talk. She would call and I would pick up.

I got busier, it was not that easy for me to come to the phone [first fight]. I know I am supposed to get butterflies every time my wife calls. I know we are a team. So we tried to make it so I didn't get ticked off every time she called. We tried to lay some ground work.

If someone was bleeding at home - yes, call.

If someone was dead at home - yes, call.

If you want to know if meatloaf is great for dinner - no, don't call. (I have told her a thousand times that I ate ham sandwiches for dinner for four straight years. Anything that she puts on the table is going to be great.)

What time is Noah's practice today? - text me.

Did you know that you have a study club meeting tonight? - text me.

If someone got a bad grade at school - it can wait.

If someone got in a fight at school - call me and tell me who won.

Don't forget to come home right after work because momma needs some lovin' - yes, call.

If you didn't know if it was important enough, call and ask if I am busy. If I am busy just leave a message. Now, this works great until the front desk is busy and my wife calls. "Is he busy?"

"No, let me put you through."

"Hey, what are you doing?" she would say.

"I am slammed like crazy and I can't talk."

"Well, I asked Michelle and she put me through."

And I am thinking to myself, "What part of two patients in the chair, two patients in the reception area waiting and two patients in hygiene that need to be checked made me look not busy? [Another big fight, but this one I blame on my front desk people.]

I love my wife, but I have to focus at work. She would say that she comes by and all I am doing is playing around. But playing around is part of the show. I know who is in the reception area and I know who is getting their teeth cleaned. I got a lot of things going through my head, like how much money is coming in that day and what bills are going out. I know what patient is next and what their likes and dislikes are. I know who is running behind and why. The playing is part of the show; it is part of me being focused.

I equate it to a good server at a restaurant. He/she has five tables. They know that table #1 has just ordered their entrees. Table #2 has their check, table #3 has appetizers and hasn't ordered yet, and so on. They are focused and their people are happy because of it. If I lose my focus, work suffers. If work suffers, so does my attitude.

A lot is riding on my focus. I know some of you are thinking that is a lot of bunk.
But it is true. Oh yeah, you are too "focused" to take a call from your wife?
Okay, maybe I am not slammed every minute of every day. But if I am not slammed and I do have a minute, I pick up the phone and call her.

Is there a perfect solution? No. Does she call and leave messages now? Yes. Do we have a perfect system? No. Has she been so ticked at me that she says she is never calling again? Yes.

I mean, she is the wife of the owner and she feels like a second class citizen (my fault). And if the front is busy, maybe they don't treat her like the owner's better half. There have been times that she has wanted to get in her car and come up here and give us all the business. She might leave a message and I won't call her back because I just won't have a second all day. [Another fight ensues] So we are doing more emailing and texting now. I can return the call or the text or email when I get a second.

Please tell me that we are not the only couple that has a problem like this. I know we are not. How do you guys do it? If you have a funny story, I am all ears.

Have a great day. Pray for me on Friday. I will be getting here about 5:30am and my staff will have already gotten started, so probably no blog on Friday. I will try to do one on Monday though.

P.S. I wrote this blog about noon and cancelled out of it and it didn't save, so I had to write the whole thing again. So if this one sucked, trust me the first one was way better. Ah, the joys of blogging.


Anonymous said...

John, this is my all-time favorite post of yours. My girlfriend emails me from work while I'm in Dental School all day and then gets upset if I don't answer them all by the time she leaves at 5. She can't quite figure out why I don't respond to the message she sent at 4 when I'm in clinic all afternoon. I can only imagine what it will be like once she becomes "the boss's wife".

Cynthia Becker DDS MAGD said...

Just chiming as a female dentist....I hate it when I am interrupted! Especially by my spouse who should know better! He is my practice administrator and used to get me on the phone and I had to HANG UP to get him off the phone. (yes, fight...eventually he would take a hint and end the conversation). Now we correspond by e-mail and things are much better. He copies me on all employee conversations re: pay, ins etc so I am in the loop, he notifies me of schedule issues by e-mail whether personal or business and we discuss practice purchases by e-mail. Less emotion, less interference with schedule. Also, less business talk when I get home! We dont have children, so few things are important enough to interrupt the work flow. Cynthia Becker DDS MAGD

gatordmd said...

Anonymous...rein her in brother, rein her in. (just kidding).

Just wanted to tell you how much I like it when you comment.
You always have great things to say and I think you bring a lot to this blog.
Thank you,

Kallie said...

Ha ha, I agree with anonymous. Being in clinic all day = no time to answer text messages, emails, or phone calls. And then you have to the lab work...and you can't being on the phone up to your elbows in mircostone!

Anonymous said...

I got this one....all you have to do is hire your wife.

Once she comes to work with you the last thing either of you will want to do is just "chat".

minneapolis dentists said...

Life in a dentist's office! Never a dull moment. I love personal, anecdotal stories. Makes me appreciate the career field all the more. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

gatordmd said...


Buckle your seat belt because there is a lot more where that came from.
Hope you keep reading...and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Had to share it with the wife....see honey it's not just us!


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