As far as I can recall, I wanted to be a dentist. When I was a young boy, I went to a dentist who had a train running throughout his office. The train went through the waiting room, reception area, and into all the treatment rooms. I was entertained by that train from the waiting room to the treatment room while I waited for Dr. Campbell to come in. I thought that was the coolest office, and I wanted to have that in my office when I got older.
Fast forward to my freshman year in college, when I had to have my wisdom teeth taken out. My dentist, not Dr. Campbell by this time, referred me to an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth taken out. Well, Dr. Young changed my outlook. Dr. Young must have had 15 young women working in his office helping him, and at 19 years old, that made a big impact on me. Now, I wanted to be an oral surgeon!
Sometime after that experience, my own dentist asked me what I was doing in college and what my plans were. I told him that the experience I had with Dr. Young convinced me that I needed to be an oral surgeon. To become an oral surgeon, you become a dentist first and then complete your oral surgery training. Well, my dentist let me know that that was a bad choice to make. He thought I should look at doing something else because being a dentist or an oral surgeon was not what it was cracked up to be. I thought to myself that if this guy doesn’t think much of his profession, then maybe I should take his advice.
It was years later that I discovered that he had self-serving interests at heart. He knew that if I became a dentist or an oral surgeon, I would come back to town as his competitor, and probably end up taking patients away from him. Some people are just not nice. So, with that in mind, I started looking around to see what other profession I could join.
My father was a podiatrist, practicing in Pomona, and had made a good living doing something that he loved. He loved going to work every day and seeing his patients. He loved telling others about what he did and was proud of how he could help people. You could see it in his eyes as he spoke with his patients, and you could hear it in his voice. He was always singing in the office. In high school, I would occasionally go to the office to pick him up from work and wait until he was finished with his patients. I could always hear him singing while he worked on his patients – mostly Frank Sinatra songs. He loved it and the patients loved hearing him sing.
That was when I decided to become a podiatrist. I know he was proud when I received my acceptance letter into Podiatry college. I did come back to town and started a practice. My father and I practiced together for about 10 years before he finally retired. My father has instilled in me the passion that he had for podiatry. I love going to work each day and seeing my patients. I know it is a blessing to be able to help others feel better and improve their lives. You may not hear me singing in the office as my father did, but the passion is still there. Also, I tell all the young adults that I speak to that they should consider podiatry as a profession. By the way, I stopped going to that dentist.
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