Article Date: 6/1/2010

What'll They Say Next?
lessons learned

What'll They Say Next?

Optometrists share strange and humorous true stories

JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

"Your check came back, Mrs. Jones," complained the M.D.

"So did my arthritis!" she replied.

Doctor/patient relations are the source of many humorous stories — even puns:

"I want you to chew a half inch of this leather thong every day," said the medicine man to the chief. "It'll cure your illness."

"I'm still sick," the chief told the medicine man when he returned the following week. "The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on."

Although most such stories are contrived, many optometrists e-mail me about strange and humorous true stories.

A keese?

"While on a mission trip to Jamaica, a lady on our team assisted a Jamaican gentleman with his new glasses," writes Dr. Matt Dixon of Perry, Ga. "After she adjusted them, in his strong Jamaican dialect, the man asked, ‘May I have a keese?’

"Unfamiliar with local customs, she obliged him with a kiss on the cheek. The startled gentleman promptly clarified his request. ‘I would like to have a keese to keep my glasses in.’"

"I tell my patients that I will give them a ring when their glasses are ready," reports Dr. Ben Balkema, Grand Rapids, Mich.. "I said this to one young boy and his mother. When the boy came in to pick up his glasses, he asked, ‘Where is my ring?’ His mother and I were puzzled, until he said, ‘You told me you'd give me a ring when my glasses came in.’"

Good description

"How's your health?" I once asked a patient during case history.

"I'm getting old and can't do things like I used to. My wife calls our water bed, ‘The Dead Sea.’"

Dr. Ken Byrd, Union City, Ind., has a good idea I wish I'd have thought of back when I was in practice. "We scheduled complainers or problem patients in the middle of the day. If we scheduled them earlier, they ruined our morning. And if they were the last patient, they sure didn't help my evening."

Not only O.D.s

My good friend, Dr. Conney Batson, a veterinarian, tells of an experience he had years ago. A poor widow living in the country phoned him to ask if he would come examine her cow. And he did.


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

"How much do I owe you?" she inquired.

"Nothing," he replied, knowing that the lady was almost destitute.

"I insist on paying," she said.

"Okay, you owe me one dollar," he told her.

"Good. Just send me a bill."

Doctors too

I discovered I also needed to watch what I said:

"I enjoy your newspaper column," retired college president Dr. Dave McCorkle told me. (I write a humor column for my local newspaper, the Rome, (Ga. News-Tribune.)

"Thanks," I said. And then unwisely boasted, "I just found out I received the national third place award for Best Humorous Column, in the National Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest."

"Perhaps," he replied, "it's like the story I heard about the lady who thought she was a great cook, but in reality was terrible. She entered a cake in the baking contest at the county fair, and was delighted to learn that she had won the third place award.

"Until she found out that her cake had been the only entry." 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: June 2010