At this time of year, it is just human nature to take inventory of one’s life. I have found the most effective and truthful means of doing so is to make sure you look thoroughly within, prior to looking outward. That is an especially prudent exercise considering recent events in our country.

The most salient point I discovered about myself during this annual exercise is the need to realize and continually reinforce that I have no control over the actions of others but absolute control over my own actions and reactions in those situations. This is a virtue my mother and father repeatedly attempted to instill in me throughout the years via loving conversations, stern lectures, and in my youth, leather/dermal gluteal therapy sessions, a ‘whooping’ in more colloquial terms. Though their efforts were efficacious in the short term, over the years, the lasting impact is sometimes questionable. The callousness we all develop through our exposure to the world does not aid in retention. Often we are not aware how ingrained the lessons and principles of our upbringing actually are until they are challenged. In the last several weeks, I have experienced two such challenges. Recently both in public and in my work place, I have experienced verbal and near physical assaults from disgruntled women. One because I instructed the woman to stop touching me in an inappropriate and uncomfortable manner in an attempt to curry my favorite as I stood at a counter in a phone store and the other in the exam room because the client was not happy with my diagnosis and the cost of needed additional diagnostic testing. The two assaults could not have been more dissimilar in their locations and reasons, but share disturbing commonalities.

Both women began by informing me it was a new day in America; because the times have changed, they no longer have to tolerate people like me and didn’t have to accept the fact their actions violated me physically or accept my professional opinions; they both were small, blonde, women who positioned themselves as close as possible to me physically without touching me and were very adept at the facial index finger wag; they both were masters at the use of pejorative terms and language. In both instances, as I stood while the abuse rained down upon me, uncharacteristically and prudently silently, eyes narrowed, teeth gritted, others standing by and observing the show in disbelief, I made my decisions, formulating my actions and reactions.

In the phone store incident, I opted to not respond and walked away before I said or did something I would regret. The woman was still wanting so I exited the store.

In the exam room, when asked by the woman as she paused her rant, So what do you have to say now? I responded, If you are that uncomfortable with my assessments and the service I have provide you and your pet, I would be happy to organize your records and help you find a facility that may be more to your liking. Let me know what you would like to do. , and then walked out of the room. She opted to not take advantage of my presented options and the dog stayed for treatment.

I have developed a personal rule resulting from years of being a practitioner: I don t fight with dogs or people: that is why I have anesthesia and there are doors. I am not afraid or hesitant to use either or both as needed. Obviously my parent’s therapy session were successful.

Dr. Bland is s practitioner in Oakland Park, FL. He can be reached at 954-673-8579.