There are some things you can count on. There are some things that are, well, just plain true. In optometry, I hold these truths to be self-evident:

If the office is closed on a weekday, when you get back the next day you will find a fax from a jackleg contact lens provider, sent at 9:00 a.m. on your morning off, asking for you to respond within eight hours or theyll presume you approve that they send the patient a few boxes of contacts. Of course...
...This patient hasnt been to see you in four years.
...The Rx is wrong.
...If the patient goes blind, its YOUR fault.

If a woman comes in with three kids, all of them will be blinder than bats, the father will have had LASIK six months ago and has perfect eyes. But...
...You charge too much for glasses and contacts.
...And in terms of priorities, old Dad smokes two packs a day and takes fishing trips to the Florida Keys every year.

If you go to the proctologist for a colonoscopy, youll see a $49,000 car in his parking spot...
...And hell be wearing a $3 pair of glasses as he analyzes your life as we know it.

If you come home on Friday afternoon, after a full but quiet week, there will be a message on your answering machine that starts with these words: On Tuesday
...And it will be the patient who got the mail-order contactswith your approvalthe last time you were off on a weekday.

If a contact lens rep comes in to see you, he will tell you to charge less.
...And you can buy his lenses retail at the supermarket for less than his company charges you wholesale. But...
...Hell take you to lunch, and that will make everything A-OK.

If a patient walks with his Rx, he will come to see you every time a screw comes loose.
...And youll talk big but, when he comes in, youll smile and replace the screw.
...And thats why they invented suicide prevention hotlines.

If you go to the bathroom in between patients, your zipper will be down the rest of the day...
...And your staff will tell you at quitting time.

If you and your staff get to the office on time, the patients are late, or do not show at all.
...And if you get to work late, there is a disgruntled patient standing at the door reading your hours and looking at his watch.
...And hes there to pick up his wifes expensive contact lenses.
...And he has perfect eyesight since he had that laser.
...And is it OK if he wears his wifes glasses to watch TV?

If you are leaving town tomorrow at 8 a.m. for a week, the last patient you will see today will have steel in his eye.
...And hes leaving for the beach tomorrow morning...
...On your flight...
...And he doesnt have glasses so he has to wear his contacts...
 ...And he needs a loaner pair of contacts because he ran out in January and has been wearing the last pair since then.

...Extended wear.
...No insurance.
...And he couldnt afford to come in for his exam this year.
...Did I mention hes leaving for the beach tomorrow morning?
...And thanks for OKing his mail-order Rx, doctor.

...And the truth hurts, dont it?

Vol. No: 141:06Issue: 6/15/04