Article Date: 11/1/2008

From Late Night Alibis to Dentures
lessons learned

From Late Night Alibis to Dentures

How do you communicate with spouses and patients? Carefully.

JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

Former professional football player Alex Hawkins, was noted for his late night carousing. Once he arrived home at 7:00 a.m. "Where have you been all night?" his wife demanded.

"I got home at 11:30 last night," he replied. "You'd gone to bed, and I had forgotten my key. I didn't want to wake you, so I spent the night sleeping in the hammock in the back yard."

"We don't have a hammock in the back yard. We took it down three weeks ago."

"Nevertheless," said the inebriated Hawkins with great dignity, "that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!"

You have to be careful in communicating with patients as well as spouses. More of you have sent me incidents that illustrate this.

The pills didn't work

Dr. Michael Feinstein, Newark, N.J., reported that back in the 80's before disposable lenses, he was prescribing heat disinfection and weekly enzyme tablets. Doctors would tell the patient to put the "water" (saline) in the little plastic cups and then add the "pills" (enzyme tablet).

"My lenses don't stay clean," a patient complained one day. "Once a week I put the water in the plastic cup, then put the pill in it and drink it, like you told me. But my lenses still don't stay clean!"

"Another patient called to make an appointment for an exam. My receptionist asked her if she had been to our office before. When she said she had, we looked in the computer, but couldn't find her. After a failed exhaustive search, we asked her if she was certain she had had her eyes examined here.

" ‘I never had my eyes examined here, but I was there with my cousin when she had her eyes checked a few years ago.’ "


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

Dentists too

This reminded me of the episode a dentist told me many years ago. A man had come to him with the complaint that his false teeth were uncomfortable.

When the dentist looked in his mouth, he discovered what he described as the worst fitting plate he had ever seen. "Who made these teeth?" he asked.

"You did," replied the patient.

"When did I make them for you?" the dentist asked, not believing he had done such a poor job.

"You didn't make them for me, you made them for my wife. She died a few weeks ago, and I figured I'd use her false teeth since she didn't need them no more."

"Nice catch"

AOA Trustee Dr. Ron Hopping, Houston, Texas, tells me of the time he was trial framing a new prescription on a young, well endowed lady who was wearing a low cut dress. The trial lens popped out of the frame, and the lens disappeared into her cleavage.

"My natural and immediate reaction was to grab for the lens, but fortunately I recovered and stopped my hand about three inches away," said Hopping. "As I froze in this position, with the lens already in her cleavage, all I could think to tell her was, ‘Nice catch!’"

Which is better?

Dr. Ed Bennett, University of Missouri in St Louis, sent me this story reported by a K-Mart employee: "We were helping customers when the store optometrist walked by and flirted with a co-worker. When we teased her, she quickly dismissed the notion of a budding romance.

"‘Can you imagine ‘making out’ with an optometrist?’ she asked. ‘It would always be, ‘Is it better like this … or like this?’" 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: November 2008