Connecting with Mr. Jones

By Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO July 12, 2012

It was raining like crazy—end of June—must be Oregon, the place where summer doesn’t start until after the fourth of July. Well, at least everything is green! And then, I noticed it…muddy footprints all over my dispensary carpet.

I was just about to hyperventilate when I saw that they led straight to Mr. Jones. There he was wearing coveralls, work boots, an OSU hat, and a great big smile on his face. I love Mr. Jones.

Mr. Jones has been my patient for over 30 years. So are his wife, their four kids, fifteen grandkids, and dozens of friends and neighbors. Needless to say, Mr. Jones is not just your regular patient. He is an appreciative and enthusiastic referring patient, and we have a relationship that is “almost family.”

It all started with a simple unscheduled foreign body removal on a Saturday morning. I was all set to go golfing. I did not want to answer the phone. I love to play golf. It was my emergency number. But I just got a new putter…“Hello, this is Dr. Mannen. Can I help you?”  “This is Mr. Jones. Are you the eye doctor?” A foreign body, a little Beaver football chat, and a small grease spot on my exam chair later…we had found a connection.

So, what about the muddy footprints? Well, here is the rest of the story. Mr. Jones had just come from his garden with a big sack of fresh vegetables for the staff. He was all excited about the green beans and couldn’t wait to share them. We all love Mr. Jones.

As I see it, it is the connection we make with our patients that makes optometric practice so special. Much more than optometric cases, these are real people with real problems and we get to work with them. It is a privilege to take care of people like Mr. Jones.

What muddy footprints?

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