How I Spent My Fall Vacation


Sun went down looking like the eye of God
Behind icy mist and stark bare trees
Inside the dim empty cinema two guys in leather jackets
Glance at each other and shiver
\”They never built these places with winter in mind\”
Out the window down the gray road
You can see old walled monastery
Now become a barracks for the paramilitary police

That\’s the first verse of the song, How I spent My Fall Vacation by my all-time favorite artist, Bruce Cockburn (pronounced \”Cōburn,\” so stop snickering).  The lyrics have nothing to do with the content of this post, but the title fits, and they are truly great lyrics.  All of his lyrics are great.  Plus, I\’ve been playing it a lot on my guitar lately.  (Go here if you want more information).

It\’s been over a month since I joined the ranks of the unemployed and started building my new practice.  For not having a job I\’ve kept very busy.  Here\’s what I\’ve done.

I presented the idea of my practice to about 150 people.

It was a wonderful experience, and was quite emotional for me seeing a bunch of patients in one place.  The reception was wonderful.  I was hoping to get a video of this up, but the fates were fickle and it was not possible.

I wrote a business plan

My accountant didn\’t even laugh when I showed him.  The idea was to look ahead at my months ahead and see when things would become profitable.  There are a bunch of huge questions that my affect this: how many staff I have, how many patients I have, what it costs to upgrade my office space, but I did a worst-case scenario (short of the Zombie Apocalypse) and the fact that my overhead is low makes it easy to be profitable quite quickly.

I got a location for the practice.

Today I went through the building with a designer and am working on getting it ready to use.  I am not doing the whole renovation at the start, as I won\’t really know what the practice will need until it\’s up and running.  I want it to be very comfortable and welcoming.  Most doctor\’s offices are not places that say \”welcome\” to patients, but that\’s what I want to convey.

I set a fee schedule.

  • Age 0-2: $40/month
  • 3-30: $30/month ($10/month if they are away in college)
  • 30-50 $40/month
  • 50-65 $50/month
  • 65+ $60/month

Family maximum will be $150/month

Registration fee is $50 for 0-30 years of age and $100 after that (will count as first month\’s payment).
$200 Family maximum for registration.

I am really trying to keep it as affordable as possible, especially for families.

I chose my computer platforms.

This was a particularly difficult step, as no one platform did everything I need to run this type of practice.  I have signed with eClinicalWorks for the EMR side of things, and am working with Avado to get the patient health record and communication tools I need for patients.  eCW has a portal, but portals are not the same as PHR\’s, as a PHR is a more complete record which the patient owns, while a portal is an area where the patient is \”permitted\” to see information in the EMR.  I have one more piece of the puzzle I am working on, but am not ready to announce that.

Played my guitar

One of the sure signs that my life is getting back in order is that I am playing my guitar.  I\’ve played since I was in 4th grade, and actually got pretty good at it.  For the past few years, however, my playing has diminished to near nothing.

Ran/hurt myself running

I\’ve been trying to get back into shape, but Father Time played a trick on me.  I was running between 12 and 15 miles per week up to a week ago, when I got a bad pain in my gluteus maximus region.  I hope it\’s just a pulled muscle, and not something more sinister, like a radiculopathy (nerve pain).  It is slowly getting better, but I hate having to limp around, and hate more to be sedentary for the past week.

Dealt with a sewer back-up

We literally had to deal with a bunch of crap in our basement.  I won\’t go into details, except to say that I gained respect for the plumbing profession (and pity).

Home brewed beer

My son and I have been brewing our own home-brew: \”My Little Pony Beer.\”  It\’s quite fun and so far nobody has gotten injured or sick in the process.  I am presently waiting on a Belgian Ale to finish carbonation (already having fermented).  It\’s major yums.

I have hired someone to revamp the website (and my blogs)

My website will be as important to me as my office space, since I am going to be relying on it for patient communication.  I\’m spending money to get it nifty looking (no flash, thank you), and have lumped this and the other blogs with the project.  More to follow.

So I am feeling OK overall about what I\’ve done so far.  Last month was about setting the foundation, and this month is getting things done.

Here\’s the last verse to the song.  Real cool how he ties everything together in the end:

I wonder if I\’ll end up like Bernie in his dream
A displaced person in some foreign border town
Waiting for a train part hope part myth
While the station changes hands
Or just sitting at home growing tenser with the times
Or like that guy in \”The Seventh Seal\”
Watching the newly dead dance across the hills
Or wearing this leather jacket shivering with a friend
While the eye of God blazes at us like the sun…

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