Saturday, February 4, 2012

Damn Rich Doctors

Somebody has to, so I go to the bank most every day to deposit the cash and checks that we receive in payment at VBB hospital. I’m the boss, so my employees go home for lunch, and I go to the bank. And sometimes I go out to buy kitty litter, or paper towels, or bleach. I don’t get a lunch hour that is free to do something I’d like to do all that often. That’s what being the boss gets me. 

So I was in the lobby at the bank, standing in line with the other folks, and a client of mine walks past. She spots me right away, and she knows me real well, because she has been my client for over thirty years. She sees me in the bank in line with all the other folks, and she makes some joke about how I have to put all that money I just ripped from her, into the bank with all that other loot I’ve ripped off from her over the years. And since it is sorta a joke, I get to laugh.

I happened to be standing there with my dog, cause he went to the bank with me every day, so I didn’t have to explain to him just why it was that this lady called me a thief in public, like I would have if say he had been my young daughter, and she asked me why that lady called me a thief. It might have been a joke, but this fat lady clearly meant to call me a thief, just like she had every single time I had tried to care for her animals for the last thirty years.

Ya see, this lady was what we veterinarians call a dog breeder. She let boy dogs get girl dogs pregnant, which isn’t all that difficult, and then she sold the pups for money. It was free money for her, which she liked. But sometimes one of those girl dogs got sick and she had to come to me to help. And I had the nerve to take some of her money in exchange for my time and expertise, and that cut into her Vegas money. So she kinda hated me for that. And she told me all about that, about how I was ripping her off, every single time I charged for my time and expertize. For thirty years. 

Now I’m accustomed to folks bitching about spending money at my hospital, because that’s just how it works, but I do bristle a mite when they call me a thief. I guess I’m just sensitive.

And the fact that every dog I ever saw from her kennel was in absolutely horrid condition, stinky matted decrepit flea infested malnourished pathetic genetic disasters, and she never once did what I suggested to give them better lives, and this might have given me a moral high ground with which to criticize her, I still got called a thief. And that’s because I am a rich doctor.

Now, being a rich doctor has its perks. I can go to any new car dealer in America and introduce myself as Dr. VBB, and they will let me test drive ANYTHING! Can’t just go out and buy ANYTHING!, but they will let me test drive them. I drive a 6 year old pickup, and a compact car, but I can test drive ANYTHING!

The downside to being a rich doctor is I get nagged often. Folks don’t much like rich doctors. Rich doctors have it easy while everyone else has to work for a living. So there is a certain resentment.  And when clients head to the counter to pay their bills at my hospital, we get to hear about it. And when someone steals from us, promises to pay and then uh, fails to pay, they kinda think that’s OK because that rich doctor can afford it. And when experience has taught us that we cannot let just anybody ask to charge their bill, simply because hardly anybody ever pays, well that’s just a rich doctor wanting to get richer.

Well, I’ve enjoyed being a rich doctor. Why once a young man made the comment to me that I must be doing pretty well, what with all I charge for caring for his dog. I laughed, and agreed with him, and then asked him how much money he thought I made at this deal, and he laid a figure on me. And I laughed again. He had just increased my take home by a factor of four. He gave me four times the income I knew I earned. When I gave him the real number, he bout fainted. 

“But you are a doctor!!?!”

Yeah, but rich doctor ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.

People ask me all the time to work for free. Can’t I help them out just this one time? Oh sure. I’d love to. I’d love to put it up there for free. Trouble is I haven’t won the lottery yet. I could do it. I could keep the hospital open and not ever charge anything. I’m a rich doctor.

Trouble is, I’d still have to go out and earn a living. So after putting in my 60 hours a week at my hospital, I’d need a good job for the rest of my time. Cause not only would I have to earn enough money to support my family, but I’d need to cover those hundreds of thousands of American dollars I spend to cover the expenses of my clinic, and the salaries of my staff, every year. They can’t afford to work for free, either. And despite how much I love my work, I don’t think I could pull that off. 

How much money do I make?

I found out once how much I could have earned driving a bus in the big city over there. With base salary, years of seniority, and a powerful union, and putting in the same overtime I invest each month, I could have done better behind the wheel. And I would have had more vacations, and I’d already be retired, with a pension. As a rich doctor, I’m still working, and for less coin each year.

Now, why should I do this? Could I really be in this to help the people and their animals? Now there is a novel idea.

So if I roll my eyes when a client calls me a thief to my face, cut me a bit of slack. OK?


  1. Not to get political - but this is the narrative that has justified ridiculous malpractice settlements, decreasing Medicare/Medicare reimbursement, and my personal favorite, Obamacare. All of which are driving medical doctors out of the practice of medicine. You have been tarred with the same brush.

  2. Another rich Dr here....haha.

    My kids go to community college & I drive a 20+ yr old car while my wife's car is 10 yrs old. The last 2 recessions have killed my retirement fund.

    Wonder if some of your clients would like to help support me in my old age. lol.

  3. I'm also a "rich doctor," one who pays more than his mortgage every month in student loans and works 80 hours a week, but I'm sooo overpaid that makes it worth it.....right?

    1. I can relate. I live in a one bedroom apartment,pay monthly student loans that could equal a mortgage payment on a nice house and barely have enough emergency funds in my savings account... Yup, I'm loaded.

  4. I frequently tell people (no clients yet though) that if I pay taxes and child care, my take home pay is right around minimum wage. So I work mainly Saturdays. That just covers my student loans and keeps me in the game. I am very lucky to have a husband with a good job, and I have great sympathy for single moms starting out around minimum wage. Crazy as it is, I'm still glad I went to vet school, because I love my work when I'm working.

  5. You are way too nice. I would've called her out right there in the lobby.

  6. I too am a rich doctor, and my veterinary registration rejected my payment the first time cause there was no money in my account :( And yes, that is my ONLY account!

  7. Maybe (no, not "maybe" but definitely) if you didn't charge those exorbitant amounts for your services, you'd be the richest doctors in America. Think Walmart. People don't want to opt for euthanasia of their beloved pets but do so because veterinarians charge too much to keep the pets alive. I feel certain about this. It's your pride that's keeping you down and putting down our beloved pets.

    1. Think walmart. quantity over quality. now do you want your pet to get Walmart treatment or whole foods? You pay for the quality of care that you get. If vets were to cut costs that means theyre cutting corners with the care they provide your pet. I would rather pay more and know Im getting my pet taken care of by someone who cares and has the most up to date equipment.