In the course of one 48-hour period in May, the number of Dr. Vickerses in my family tripled. Im no longer the only Dr. Vickers around here. My son, Aaron, and his wife, Ashley, are now Dr. Vickers and Dr. Vickers as well, and I am beaming.

Aaron is a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Ashley is a Doctor of Pharmacology. They are moving this week to Louisville, Ky., where she starts her career as a pharmacist and he starts his six-year residency and med school program to become a total oral and maxillofacial surgeon. My blepharochalasis can hardly wait!

Am I disappointed that Aaron (as well as my daughter, Amber, a second year student at Ohio State) decided to go into dentistry and not optometry? For a nanosecond, I had a tiny grimace. Then, I realized that Ill never get a phone call just as Im leaving for the ol fishin hole from somebody who wants me to fill in for them because they have a cold or meeting in the Caymans or something. Optometrys loss is my sanitys gain.


What We Have in Common

On the other hand, dentists and optometrists have a lot in common. Here are some examples:

1. We both work on heads. We share many anatomic structures, including nerves and foramen and such. I know this because my son and daughter love to quiz me on gross anatomy just to show how smart they are. To me, knowing about ethmoids does not mean you know anything. Make a car payment, and raise a couple of know-it-alls. Then you can brag.

2. Dentists also have a real doctor complex. I heard it at graduation. Speakers said the same things about being a real doctor, as we often hear muttered at optometry meetings. Hey, mouths and teeth and eyes are fairly important. Half the stuff real doctors remove are things we absolutely do NOT need, such as an appendix or a tumor.
D.D.S.s and O.D.s deal with things we need, not things we dont need. My sons new program means that, within the next three years, he will be awarded his M.D. and will be a real doctor as well as a dentist. Show me a proctologist who can prep a tooth.

3. Dentists and optometrists spend time with their families. My son wanted to be a surgeon who could also coach his kids baseball team. Thats noble in my book. Of course, when I coached baseball, I thought the shortstop was supposed to tackle the guy running to third base. This made for some very entertaining games, and my coaching career ended quickly.

4. Dentists and optometrists only pull rank when they need to. I think we can all admit that, at times, we really like to play the Im a doctor card when making reservations, calling OUR doctors for convenient appointments, getting preferential treatment at the muffler and brake shop across town, and so forth. Now, dentists and optometrists use this power sparingly and for emergenciessuch as when we forgot to make the reservation our spouses told us to make three weeks ago. Other doctors, who shall remain nameless, will use the Dr. when they order a milkshake at a drive-thru.

I could go on and on about how dentists are like optometrists. And, that has never been so true as with my son, Aaron, that wonderful little apple of mine who only fell a short way from the tree.
The family tree is changing in a great way. First, an eye doctor. Then, a couple of dentists. Heck, in 20 or so generations, we may finally have a podiatrist!

Vol. No: 145:06Issue: 6/15/2008