All-Time FavoritesThings Could Be
Having one of those days? You're not the
Jack Runniger, O.D.
You can tell it's going to be a rotten day when:
- The bird singing outside your window is a
- You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
- Your blind date turns out to be your ex-wife.
- You see a 60 Minutes news team waiting in your
- Your car horn goes off accidentally and
remains stuck as you follow a group of "Hell's Angels" on the
- You wake up to discover your waterbed broke
and then remember that you don't have a waterbed.
ILLUSTRATION BY AMY
I'm sure you suffer from some rotten days in
practice when everything seems to go wrong. One of the main causes is
obstreperous and goof-ball patients. If it's any consolation, you're not alone.
Not only do other O.D.s suffer the same problem, but other healthcare
professionals may even have it worse.
► A local pediatrician was awakened by a
phone call at 3:00 a.m. The caller identified herself and said, "My child
has a fever. What should I do?"
"Is your child a patient of mine?" said
my pediatrician friend, not recognizing the caller's name.
"Oh, no! We go to Dr. Starr but we didn't
want to disturb him at this hour!"
► "Why haven't you gone to your
regular doctor who originally treated this condition?" my ER physician
friend told me he asked a patient.
"Because I'd have to pay him," was the
reply. (Think you have collection problems? He collects but 40% of his fees.)
► A dentist friend met his match in a new
patient when he was new in practice. After the patient complained about how much
he was being charged for only a couple of hours' work, my dentist friend said,
"You're not paying me just for how many hours I spent with you, but also
for all my expenses from dental school, expensive equipment, office rent,
"All by myself?!" was the patient's
My cross in life to bear
Maybe the strangest patient I remember in my
practice was an accountant, Mr. Cooper. I had been in practice only a couple of
months when he made an appointment with me.
"I've been to every eye doctor in town and
none of them have been able to prescribe and fit eyeglasses for me that are
satisfactory," he told me.
"Aha! What an opportunity," I said to
myself. "I shall render the skills of my modern optometric education, and
he will go forth and spread the word throughout the land of how I was the only
one able to solve his problem."
My glee was short-lived. I soon discovered his
problem was that he never felt like his glasses fit him properly, and thus
wanted to spend hours at the adjusting table. Worse, he expected me to do these
often half-hour sessions, which I endured because I wasn't all that busy in my
new practice anyway.
The climax came at the end of about the tenth
such session. Mr. Cooper fiddled with his glasses for a few minutes after I had
adjusted them, and then said, "I believe you finally almost have it right.
It should be acceptable if you'll move the right lens about the width of a
cigarette paper to the left."
Fortunately, a new optometrist came to town
shortly thereafter. (I made no comment when he boasted to me that Mr. Cooper was
now his patient.)
Jack Runniger, our consulting editor, lives in
Rome, GA. He's also a past editor of OM. Contact him at RunnigerRJ@aol.com.
Optometric Management, Issue: October 2004