Professional networks and interaction are vital components of economic, professional and personal health. Take a moment in this Thanksgiving week to appreciate how vital your colleagues are to the success of your practice and lifestyle. It’s the one time you can combine economics and sentimentality, which I do every Thanksgiving. The following is from a Thanksgiving blog I wrote last year for my private practice site.
Audiologists work with patients and co-workers day in and day out, but we rarely–probably never–spend major holidays together. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to celebrate with family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we’re not thankful for those who are meaningful in our professional lives. Kind, thoughtful, intelligent, funny colleagues are what makes life worth living on a day-to-day basis. Today’s post is a Thanksgiving pictorial of the meaningful Audiologists whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the last 25 years in Tucson.
I met Alan Desmond when he came to the Stanford Audiology Clinic for post-graduate clinical experience. I think all of us Audiologists at Stanford learned more from Alan about the real world than he did about Audiology from us, but it was mutually beneficial. Alan has been a faithful friend and valuable professional resource ever since. He even came out to Tucson and spent much of 1987 working at Tucson Audiology. Aside from that brief foray into Southwestern living, Alan has spent the rest of his professional life building a large, successful diagnostic practice in West Virginia which specializes in dizziness and vestibular problems.
Readers of HearingHealthMatters.org know Alan as our resident expert on all things to do with balance. His weekly Dizziness Depot is followed by a large audience of professionals and consumers, including myself and some of the patients in my practice. He’s a wonderful phone resource when a patient presents with dizziness complaints. Despite the distance, we manage dinner several times a year, where we try–without success– to talk about something other than Audiology.
The three women with me were Audiology practice mainstays for many years. I hired them for their unique talents in Audiology and patient care. I doubt they knew what they were getting into, because I demanded they demonstrate those talents for long hours every working day. We didn’t socialize — after all, who wants to go out with the boss after a hard day at work?
Times change. Nowadays, I’m amazed, mystified, and thankful that vital women 20 years younger than I insist on including me in their get-togethers. Somehow, I’ve been transitioned from Mean Old Slave-Working Boss into Friend. We never talk Audiology over wine and hors d’oeuvres, but it’s what brought us together and it’s the glue that binds us.
K. Ray Katz and his wife Sue worked as hearing aid dispensers in Tucson for many years. It was highly improbable and politically incorrect back in the 90s–and even today in some quarters–for Audiologists to work on equal footing with dispensers. Yet, Ray and I ended up working closely for many years because we discovered a shared love for hearing healthcare and the patients who came to us (he called them clients).
Though long-since retired, Ray came out of retirement to write a column at HearingHealthMatters.org for several years and act as our business manager. He retired again this year to devote full time to worldwide exploration via motorhome and to continue writing really good works of fiction.
Twice a year, Ray and Sue drive into Tucson, hook up electric and sewer lines at my house, and give me Ray’s newest book. He brought me “My Enemy’s Enemy” last week. I’m thankful to have friends like this in my own front yard.
Judy Huch moved to Tucson at my invitation in 1995. She worked for me briefly, but soon bought one of my offices, expanded it and built another. Years later, Judy graciously allows me access to a portion of one of her offices so I can see patients on a part-time basis.
Readers of HearingHealthMatters.org know Judy as our co-editor of the Hearing Health column. She also functions as our Social Media Director. We see each other weekly and catch up on each other’s lives between patients. We lend each other tools and teach each other tools of the trade. I am thankful for my ongoing professional association with Judy and fascinated at how it’s changed over the years as we’ve gone through different stages of our lives.
We’re both working, too busy to socialize after work. But maybe when, if, we retire.
Diana Holan and I practiced Audiology in Tucson for 25 years before we met in person. I’m thankful to Judy for hiring Diana so I could finally meet her. My only regret is that I didn’t get to know her 25 years ago.
Diana has appeared as Guest Blogger several times at HearingHealthMatters.org, garnering high readership with posts on topics as diverse preeclampsia and metallosis . She’s a fascinating person of many talents, beyond her vast knowledge of Audiology.
I see her occasionally in working mode at Judy’s office. I’ve had the opportunity to hear her practice and perform her true love — singing in a trio. I’m Thankful to have the opportunity of a new, multifaceted friend at this stage of life.
Sharon Hopkins — my “work wife” since 1987–started out as an employee but, like Judy, quickly equalized our work equation by buying one of my offices and working in a loose partnership for many years. After aborted retirement attempts, we re-formed and happily plied our trade together until Sharon once again retired this summer. She is as good at horse training and nutrition as she is at Audiology.
I’m especially thankful for the continuity of working closely for so many years with someone who could read my mind and loves coffee. When the rare opportunity arises, Sharon and I continue to enjoy long coffee chats.
I never worked with Wayne and Wayne never lived in Tucson, but I owe my Tucson career in Audiology to Wayne’s quiet support. Wayne was the only Audiologist who enthusiastically backed my decision to leave Stanford and set up a “model” private practice in Tucson. This was back in the days (before AAA!) when academics was safe and respectable and private practice was neither. People who cared about me were frightened, advising me that leaving academia was “professional suicide,” that Tucson was saturated, that I would go broke. Even my grandmother wrote me to tell me I was wrong. They were right, but Wayne was righter. He thought Tucson was a great opportunity for “someone like me.” His confidence gave me the confidence to build a practice and a lasting network of colleagues.
It was fun putting together this post for Thanksgiving. It wouldn’t have been possible without Audiology and Audiology Colleagues. Thanksgiving is better, thanks to our profession and our dedicated workmates and friends. I hope Audiology has been as good to you as it’s been to us.