Article Date: 7/1/2007

The Talking Dog
lessons learned

The Talking Dog

Optometrists often get strange responses from their patients.

JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

I cannot swear this story is true. But I'm going to tell it anyway. An optometrist (whose name I conveniently have forgotten) made a home visit to a disabled patient who lived in the country. After completing the examination, he asked the man, "I notice you had a sign out front that said, ‘Talking dog for sale. $20.' You don't expect me to believe that you have a talking dog!"

"Oh yes he does," said an old hound dog laying on a nearby rug. "Not only can I talk, I spent a number of years working for the FBI, and then became a spy for the CIA before opening my own detective agency."

"That is remarkable!" said the optometrist. "Why are you willing to sell such a remarkable dog for only $20?"

"Because he's such a liar," said the old gentleman. "He ain't done half of those things he brags about!"

Others too

As you know from your own experience, he's not the only optometrist who has had strange things happen.

"A young lady was ready to leave the frame room after measurements, etc." writes Dr. Ken Byrd, "so I instructed her to go out to the receptionist to make a date. Before I could finish the statement with, ‘to obtain an appointment for fitting', she emphatically stated that she was married and could not go out with me." Dr. Byrd also tells of a note he received from a patient with an overdue account:

"I got your letter about what I owe you. Now be patient. I ain't forgot you. Please wait. When some fools pay me, I'll pay you. If this was judgement day and you was no more prepared to meet your Master than I am to meet your account, you sure would go to Hell. Trusting you will do this."

Another victim was Dr. Kevin Wulff who reports, "I had a lady patient recently who must be related to Norm Crosby, the malapropist. She described to me a coughing fit she had, during which she developed floaters and a retinal tear. She said she was coughing so hard that her husband almost had to give her the Hemlock Maneuver."

Another home visit

Dr. Bob Newcomb told me of his visit to a nursing home to examine a 90-year-old patient. In the middle of the subjective part of his exam, a bell rang. "Whoops, I'll be right back. I have to take my blueberry muffins out of the oven," said the lady.

"That was a first for me," said Dr. Newcomb. "I doubt that very many O.D.'s have had an exam interrupted to take blueberry muffins out of the oven."

"Which is better, number one or two," Dr. Norm Hinkle asked a patient. The strange reply he received: "Better than what?"

Often it's the kids

Interactions with your child patients can, in particular, often give strange results because of their misunderstanding of what you're asking.

"Can you see the black board?" Dr. Dennis Escol asked a seven-year-old patient. "Sure" the boy replied. "I just can't see what's written on it."

"Where are the headaches you say you have?" he asked another youngster.

"In my head," was the kid's logical reply.

If you've also had such strange experiences in your office you're willing to share, send them to me at the email address below. OM

JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE's ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET.



Optometric Management, Issue: July 2007