So at the time of this writing, it’s been just over a month since we celebrated the Vernal Equinox and the official arrival of Spring. At least that’s what the calendar tells us. But Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom or her fiendishly odd sense of humor, has decided to let linger a little longer this already laboriously long and laggard winter. A bit verbose, perhaps? -But no less true. This has been one long and cold winter. In fact, while the tulips in my garden look lovely, it’s pretty cold out there which is why I’m inside with the heat on. In fact my neighbors on Fire Island had a lovely fire burning in their living room fireplace last night to offset the chill that still persists even though we are into the month of May.
The harshness of this past winter shuttered many indoors. I can’t recall a winter with so frequent a storm barreling through the Northeast wreaking havoc on mass transportation, forcing schools to close, spurring power outages and (surprise, surprise)…yielding an unprecedented number of weather related appointment cancellations. But despite all the snowy bluster, there was no dearth of activity in and around our office. There was no hibernating here at 30 East 40th Street.
By the time we enjoyed our first dusting of snow (was that in October?), I was well ensconced in my implant studies at NYU College of Dentistry. For those who are not aware, I went back to school to master implant surgery and bone grafting techniques. It’s a two year program which takes me out of the office every Wednesday for lectures and patient care, not to mention reading assignments and lab work. A major time commitment and I love it (I am 70% sure that I will do an optional 3rd year). So I’ve been very busy with my new routine: getting up early to study, preparing power point presentations for class discussion prior to performing surgery, packing my lunch and trekking over to the school THROUGH THE SNOW. Anyone notice that it seemed to snow mostly on Tuesday nights and Wednesdays?
Just as my academic pursuit fell into a routine, a slight winter-related complication developed. In January, I tore up my knee skiing. No surgery, but a grueling course of physical therapy three times a week (7 AM, MWF). Forty-two sessions so far and counting. Why did it seem to snow more frequently on my days of therapy? Trudging through slush with a cane and a knee brace was no fun. But as the saying goes, gotta keep on keep on-ing.
Amidst all of this, we repainted the office, replaced the office central air-conditioning and after more than 20 years of tenancy, I asked Dr. Alter, the other large dentist in my office, to find other accommodations. He had his own practice and sublet space in my suite since before I arrived. The time and need had arrived for more room to grow and to accommodate my expanding implant practice.
And of course the biggest winter storm and atmospheric upheaval of the year was Barbara’s announcement that after 28 years in our office (she predated me by 10 years) and 50+ years in dentistry, she was ready to retire. (Say it ain’t so!!!) Ever- present Barbara: the eyes, the ears, the VOICE of the office, is ready to move on. Barbara, who so insulated me from the details of “running” the practice, gave me the freedom to immerse myself in the care of my patients without regard or concern for all that other stuff (insurance, billing, scheduling, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, taxes, licensure, management, lunch, etc, etc…). Barbara once asked me if I knew what she did, if I could itemize her job description. I said, “Sure I can, Barbara you do everything.” Except of course the dentistry. More about Barbara to come in a separate posting, but suffice it to say there were times when I wasn’t sure who was who’s boss.
As if I didn’t have enough balls in the air (a juggling metaphor), now I had to search for her replacement. No small task. Of course Barbara was intimately involved in the process but with all that was going on, I was feeling like I had way too much on my plate. So I did the only logical thing I could do-I got a bigger plate.
There’s an old expression that says if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. As I said before, this has been one very long and active winter. Thankfully, the snow has melted and everything’s coming up roses. After many interviews, we found someone to assume Barbara’s role at the helm. Her name is Sandra and she begins this week. My physical therapy is soon to end and I have plans to start walking to the office again. My first year of the implant program is almost complete. The office feels more spacious and Spring has finally arrived.
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