Retirement...Looking Back on 25 Years by Sidney Morrison
Cornea Associates of Texas……………Looking back on 25 years….
Wow, it sounds like so long ago yet the time has flown by. I never thought I would be at Cornea Associates of Texas this long. The open position was for a technician. I decided to call to inquire about the position anyway. At first, I was told I didn’t meet the qualifications for the position. Later I received a call back and because they liked my voice, I was asked to come in for an interview. I was then asked to come in for a working interview with Dr. Gelender. I had no idea Ophthalmology was so different from my current job as an optician. I was offered the job and decided to give it a try. Learning to switch from minus cylinder to plus prescriptions was challenging. With many note cards and cheat sheets, I started to catch on.
I did several “other jobs” of course while teching. Workman’s comp paperwork, cleaning, ordering, and triage were some of my other duties. At that time, we had a Sherman office and I was the tech who got to travel to Sherman.
After about a year and a half on the job, I was asked to help in the surgery department. In the surgery department I was trained on the basics of scheduling and orders. Shortly, after I learned the basics in the surgery department, the lead coordinator gave her notice and left the practice. In my mind, failure was not an option. I did not want to drop the ball and let the doctors think I could not do this job. So, I decided to tackle the job head on!
Medical City Day Surgery, Baylor Day Surgery, Greenville Surgery Center and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, were just a few of the places the doctors were doing surgery at. My head was spinning! Then, the doctors said, “Let’s start doing Laser surgery!” So many things to remember like which set of surgical instruments each doctor wanted, ordering the IOL’s and make sure cornea tissue arrived for our transplant patients. It was crazy keeping up with all of this but I was younger then and could remember better!
By then Cornea Associates of Texas was really starting to grow. Dr. Gelender, Dr. Beebe and Dr. Bowman were the only doctors when I started to work for them. Dr. McCall joined the practice and then Dr. Nettune. I learned credentialing by brining on two physicians at one time, Dr. Alexander and Dr. Zaffos. Wow, that was a lesson! The last doctor brought on board, Dr. Potts, being my last to credential. We have such an amazing team of physicians!!!!!!
At our Greenville Avenue location, my office had to move many times due to space. Even to another floor. My next move was to of course to the 3rd floor in a new building on North Central Expressway. (Sorry, green oval couch, you gotta go!) I moved from the surgery when I started Admin full time, and again moving my office several times. My job did not involve seeing patient so I moved down to the 2nd floor at Dallas Laser Center. I say, I got kicked off the floor. I do believe I get the award for moving offices the most!!
Way back then, the holiday parties would be hosted at the doctor’s houses. The parties were much shorter and more intimate. As we grew, there was too many people to host parties at the doctor’s houses so, we ventured out. Some of the memorable parties were at South Fork, Cooper Clinic, Pete’s Piano Bar in Fort Worth and Gilley’s a few times. No matter where the party was, we always had such a great time. At some parties we dressed elegant and at some parties we wore our best western attire.
Of course, we cannot leave out all the Quarterly Awards. We did many team building activities. Pump it up, bowling, Jump Street, Top Golf, Painting with a Twist and the State Fair scavenger hunt was always a hit! We did have quarterly awards in the office also. How could I forget the HIPAA and OSHA trainings. We had an ice-cream bar, played games like Family Feud, did puzzles, and made pumpkins for Halloween. One of the best memories for me was the time we used the empty space in the building and road around on the crazy bikes. This did include Jennifer Seale doing a cart wheel! The numerous food trucks and Kona Ice trucks we had through the years as a special treat for our staff will always be remembered.
Cornea Associates always wanted to help others. We collected coats for the homeless and packed boxes for our military troops (amazing job!). These were the events that made us feel great! We could give back and help others.
I cannot help but remember all the times Cornea Associates would surprise the staff with cupcakes, popcorn, candy, lunch, and even chair massages! I thought, we needed those weekly at times. How about the egg hunts for Easter and all the prizes! It is the small things that make everyone’s day!! Sitting at lunch making snowflakes, coloring hearts, and writing on leaf cut-outs what we are thankful for are just a few of the simple things that made a difference in our lives.
In January, we would have Souper New Year! What delicious soups we would have! Thanksgiving potlucks, wedding showers, baby showers…. we all looked forward to celebrate and eat cake! What office provides breakfast every Friday morning? What a treat!
Then, there was Employee Appreciation WEEK. What company does a week, or even a day! It is such a great week to lift up our team, and have the Team Leaders act like kids. Some of the themes were Dr. Seuss, movie themes, Olympics, Super Heroes, and a real live Carnival! It was the one time when you were allowed to dunk on of our doctors in the dunking tank! The team leads would show appreciation to our staff with breakfast, lunches, snacks, and prizes all throughout the week.
There are still so many in-house celebrations to mention! Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving National Day’s like Playdough Day, Fried Chicken Day, Hot Chocolate Day, Recess Day, and Watermelon Day are just a few to mention. We did not want to leave out our patients by having Doughnuts for Dads, and Give a Flower to all moms for Mother’s Day or candy for them to take on some of the random days like St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.
I cannot forget Halloween. Just to name a few of our themes, I remember the Wizard of Oz, Nursery Rhymes, Monopoly, Sports, and 80’s themes. Our patients really loved this day!
Top 100 Places to Work …. Who would have ever thought? We knew we are great, but to have Dallas think that is mind boggling. Just being involved in the Top 100 and having our Doctors stand out is worth it all. They do so much for us, and this was their time to shine. Afterwards the doctors would treat us all to a wonderful dinner so they could make sure we knew how much they really did appreciate us! What an example, the physicians are to us.!
Moving on to the “Cornea” things I have. I think I could move into a small house and have a Cornea logo on something in every room. We have pens, old light blue to now the dark blue. I have coffee cups, water bottles, an umbrella, a car shield, a mirror, re-usable grocery bags, figit spinners, and blankets! I know I am probably forgetting a few. Not to mention all the scrubs, t-shirts, jackets, vests, and polo shirts all with the Cornea logo on them. Cornea always wanted us to look professional and it was a great way to impress our patients. Oh, I can’t leave out the beautiful Cornea anniversary pins. Wow, who does that for yearly anniversary pins and adds a diamond to the pin every year?
I know this is long and a lot has been shared but the best of all is working for these doctors that have such love for their families, depend on their God, and respects the patients and staff. That is really the bottom line!
They care about every single employee. They never judge and they love to help. I never thought I would have experienced the personal trials that I went through. It was heartbreaking but the doctors each told me, “You got this.” Several of our employees worked a seminar one evening when a hailstorm hit. Their cars were totaled. Our doctors were there to help. Through the years, there have been births, deaths, graduations, and weddings. Somehow, the staff and a doctor are always there for you. Cornea is not just a place to work, it is family and that is what family does.
I did not see myself all these years as has having to go to my “job”. I saw myself as going to my career. Cornea allows everyone to further their education, in fact they encourage it. I got my CMOM which was not easy. Techs have gotten their certifications and insurance coordinators have received their certifications as billing specialists. You can go big into learning or just ask a question of any of our doctors and they are willing to take the time to teach you, not just give a quick answer. Every day at Cornea, is a day for learning and teaching.
So, what do I have to say at the end of 25 years? I have learned, I have grown, I have taken steps forward, I have taken steps backwards and I know that this was the place for me to be, not knowing all I would go through in later years. We cannot see into the future, but if you are sure you are in a good place, you can get through anything. The Doctors, The Team Leaders, your team and anyone else is here, just for you. I know from personal experience.
Good Bye Cornea and all the wonderful friends, and oh so many memories. You were my daily life for all these years. Now it is time to move on to a new stage in life.
I know I will remember you…. Hopefully you will remember me!