Today I got my sample copy of "Healthy Pet" magazine. We are sending this out quarterly as a newsletter for our clients, and they let us add a custom message on the the cover wraps. The first thing that I looked for was to see if my special announcements (including our BLOG) had been included without a bunch of typos (sort of the way you check for your own name listing as soon as you get your new telephone directory). Having found what I was looking for, and satisfied myself that all was well, I tossed it on the desk to review later.
Imagine my surprise when my receptionist, Sharon, told me that a half-dozen clients had called to say they received reminders to come in, and they were pretty sure that their pets weren’t due for anything. That seemed odd… I wondered if there was some misinterpretation of the "Healthy Pet" magazine. In the past, we have sent them as part of our reminder service when a pet’s check-up was coming due.
I should have looked at the whole cover. A closer look (at the stuff I wasn’t worried about) reveals that every one of a thousand magazines that went out will look like a reminder. WHOOPS! Somehow we got our signals crossed with the "Healthy Pet" folks. SO, if you’re reading this blog for the first time, WELCOME! I apologize for the mix-up. Enjoy the magazine and enjoy the blog. You’ll get a post-card at reminder time (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise).
This reminds me of our radiology instructor: "Read the whole X-ray." Sure, you just wanted a picture of the lungs, but don’t ignore those interesting things on the back-bone that just happen to be in the picture. It’s amazing what you find when you actually look to see what is there.
As an adult, you look at a sidewalk and see a sidewalk. As a kid, you look to see what is there. You see every crack, every rock in the aggregate, every bug crawling along — you see so much more than "a sidewalk".
As a motorist, you look both ways to see if a car is coming before you pull out into the intersection. If you don’t see a car, you pull out. If you had looked to see what is there, you would have seen the motorcycle that you almost hit — it wasn’t a car, so you didn’t see it when you looked for cars.
It’s amazing how often we only see what we are looking for, failing to notice some really important things. It’s true that you will miss things even when you do look, but you miss so much more when you don’t look, or look through a narrow focus.
Sometimes that’s as simple as my narrow field of view when I use my operating telescopes. I can only see a few square inches (though I can really see them well). I have to depend very much on my assistants to help monitor the patient when I’m "tunnel-visioned".
Sometimes it’s as complicated as having to get the new patient’s life story when the new client "just wants some medicine for his ears". If you don’t have the whole picture, you can really put the patient through a lot of unnecessary tests or unhelpful treatments. As I said yesterday, I really appreciate the patience of our clients when the visit ahead of them takes more time than expected. We want to do our best for every one of you, but we hate it when you have to wait.
I feel like Paul Harvey: "Now you see…the rest of the picture."