Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How is it with you?

I don't know about you, but I have been really stoked seeing a blog on Mondays, especially because I don't have to write it. I can sit back, read and enjoy.

I've got a funny story. David, my 18-month-old, and I were eating lunch together. I was eating BBQ ribs with a bunch of BBQ sauce and he was eating strawberries and whatnot. Every once and a while, I would give him some pork from the ribs. About 20 minutes later, he was walking around and I saw him with what looked to be BBQ sauce on his hand. We were far from a bathroom or any wipes, so I licked it off his hand (I didn't want him to get it all over everything). It wasn't much, but I noticed it didn't taste like BBQ sauce and wondered what it could have been.

Anyway, it was Monday, so we all (my wife, me and David) got in the van to go pick up the others from school. I was driving and Hilda wass in the back and I heard, "David, you didn't get poop on yourself again did you?"


I am not saying it was poop, but there is this very small chance it was. Just so you know, there isn't any Listerine or Pro-Health left in our house anymore. Oh, the joy of having kids.

Okay, let's get right to it. As I look for ideas for blogs, sometimes I will do a literature review. I usually read AGD Impact and the Journal of Esthetic Restorative Dentistry (half of them are still under my desk in a bag). But this month, because I am low on ideas, I read my state dental association's magazine and skimmed the DentalTown magazine (hey, I get it because it is free).

The magazines have an overwhelming amount have practice management stuff in them. "How to Keep Patients From Going Out the Back Door." "Are You Treating Your Patients Right?" "Where Have All the Patients Gone?" ...stuff like that. It is no surprise that people want to know what the hell is going on with patient flow. They turn to their magazines to find the silver bullet.

Look, we are all going through a rough patch. And, for sure, this is a time to fine-tune your systems. But I don't think this is a time to change who we are. [For the record, I wrote an article for AGD Impact on this very subject. They said they loved it and that was the last thing I heard about it.]

All these articles say the same thing - work on your systems, do great dentistry, give them exceptional service. This is not rocket science, people. Now, if you are like me, practicing dentistry has been a grind lately. I walk around asking each and every staff member what they have done to increase patient flow today. I am becoming kind of a son of a b!@#ch. I know that I am, but I feel like I am the only one that cares if we go bottoms up here. They are all sitting around talking and laughing and I am in the back with a serious case of the butt-sweats, thinking about how I am going to pay the bills this week. I do try to keep a pretty good attitude about the whole thing most of the time.

Anyway, after twelve articles about patient flow, I get to one article about suicide called "What's Your Risk of Suicide?" It talks about numbers and how many people are affected by this. It dispels the myth about dentists being the profession most prone to suicide. Then it talks about how it is with you. Let me tell you about the risk factors for suicide (that I found rather amusing):

-alcohol and/or substance abuse or addiction
-adverse changes in personality or behavior
-signs of depression
-recent adverse life change
(I don't know about, you but I am 4 for 4)
-loss of confidence and working longer hours with decreased productivity
-decreased interest in anything outside the office
-postponing vacations
-excessive interest in prestige and power
-atypical aggressiveness and hostility
(So far, I am still 100%)
-vigorous denial and rationalization
-new lack of organization
-giving away possessions
-use of expressions such as "ending it all"

I haven't taken a test in a long time, but I am pretty sure I aced this one. NO!! I am not suicidal.

But you can see how it would make you chuckle. I think the timing of this article didn't take into account the times that we are in. It didn't see that almost everyone has a bunch of these. I certainly don't mean to make light of suicide (and if you are having a rough time right now and need to talk email me at

Some of you might be going through some tough times right now but... it ain't that bad. We all have good days and bad days. We are all slower than 3 years ago. You are not alone. And if someone tells you that things are going great, they are probably lying. We are in this together. We can laugh together and we can cry together.

How is it with you? Have a great Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

The grass is no greener in our pasture. We routinely have great days and others on the order of butt sweat and tears. Had lunch today with a good friend and is about the same in his world of periodontics....he claims to have experienced one of his slowest quarters in over 8 yrs. Q1 2011 was good for us, but April is feeling a bit anemic. There is no magic bullet as far as I can surmise. Keep doing your best in your daily routine and be willing to flex with the ephemeral nature of our profession.


Tom in Denver
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

John said...

"I feel like I am the only one that cares if we go bottoms up here. They are all sitting around talking and laughing and I am in the back with a serious case of the butt-sweats, thinking about how I am going to pay the bills this week."

My thoughts exactly!


David said...

Thanks for the great read, John! Always a pleasure. One question for you: Did you tell your wife that you ate the poop?


martha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gatordmd said...

Thank you so much Marta.

I appreciate the kind words and the (as we say in the biz) referrals.

I hope you keep reading and keep commenting.

Have a great week,
You just made mine


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