Thursday, October 23, 2003

A Day of Surprises

It has been a day of unexpected surprises. The technician came to process my disability insurance application this morning, but did not need to draw any blood. Instead, he only collected urine and ran a dipstick test, and sent the rest off for an HIV test. I didn't even know you could check HIV using urine. Perhaps that's a test I could run in my practice. The technician found out that I was planning to open my own practice, and said he needed a family doctor and would come see me when I opened my practice. I even diagnosed tennis elbow and GERD in him.

I hadn't heard from the landlord who had gone on vacation to China, so I thought I'd give him a call to see if he was back yet. He was not only back, he had been back for a few days. I guess I was under the impression he was going to call me when he got back. He must have thought that I was going to call him, since he did write that he was going to return on 10/20/03 (only I didn't notice that part in his letter until today).

I mentioned to him that I had reviewed the lease agreement with a lawyer (actually a friend who is an attorney and looked it over for free) who recommended some changes. I think the landlord became very defensive upon hearing that. Have you ever had an encounter with a patient where you get this sinking feeling, that for some reason the rapport is just going downhill? That happened to me once right after I walked into the room. "So, Mr. Jones, why are you here today?" "How should I know. You're the doctor." It was kind of like that.

After a few tense minutes during which I was wondering what was going on, I realized he must have misinterpreted what was going on. I think he was worried that I might become a nit-picking, problem-causing tenant who was going to argue over every little thing, and he probably didn't want a tenant like that. It is true that I have been thinking about renting this space for over a year. (That is why there is an acupuncturist there now instead of me, because I took too long to decide.) Since this whole office lease thing has been completely new to me, I kept questioning every cost and fee, to make sure I wasn't getting ripped off. The landlord would usually explain that that was the customary way of doing things, but how could I know for sure?

Anyways, I said to the landlord that I wanted our relationship to get off to a good start, that it has taken a long time for me to make this decision, but with good reason. I am taking a huge risk to leave my position of the past 13 years to go into solo private practice, so I am going to be very cautious and make sure that everything I do is right for me and my family. But I thought that this could be a very successful practice and I hoped that we would have a good working relationship.

Apparently I said the right thing. He said he thought I was the right practice for that office space and that he was very happy to have me as a tenant. After I got home from work, my daughters and I walked (walked!) over to the office, met briefly with the landlord and his wife, and picked up the lease agreement. And now that I have taken them back home and reviewed them, I signed them.

I think the landlord must have known that I was planning to take the space, because when we went over tonight, he gave me a little stack of junk mail that was sent to me at that office address. At first I couldn't figure out how that happened, since I was careful not to list that address for anything official. Then I remembered that I had submitted a DBA (Fictional Business Name request) using that address about 2 weeks ago. At the time, I had felt pretty confident that I would be taking that space, plus I figured if I didn't get that space, I could just file another DBA form. But I was a little embarrassed when the landlord gave me my mail. So for future reference: file a DBA, get junk mail.

I will return the lease agreement to him in the morning, then it'll be off to the races!

Countdown: 74 days until target start date