May 5, 2015
From the Desk of Dr. Voorheis
I began writing this chapter a few months ago while in sunny Florida. Life has a way of
redirecting you sometimes. The looming question today is “is the blog really coming back?”
I am going with “yes” and we shall see how it goes. I started 2014 with a promise of a blog. I
had even hoped for a blog a week, which morphed into every two weeks which in my typical
fashion was biting off a bit more than I could chew. Stop laughing! But, I was able to write
25 blogs last year which considering everything else that needed to get done wasn’t half
bad if I do say so myself. Yes, there was a drop off in the production of the blog during the
last quarter of the year, mostly due to the fact that in spite of my best efforts, demands on
my time with regard to the construction of our new hospital can be overwhelming at times.
The blog, much like everything else I am involved in, is a labor of love. Connecting with
clients is very important to me and I am going to attempt to do that again this year. I’m not
sure what a reasonable goal will be in terms of numbers of blogs, but I’m thinking of trying
to keep them a little shorter while still retaining the information that I believe you all deserve.
In my humble opinion, one of the most important things in my blogs is that I deliver to you
the most current and relevant information as I understand it. I also am a huge believer in
NOT “dumbing down” topics to the point of insulting your intelligence. One of my non WBAH
physician friends tells me they are instructed to communicate in writing at the 6th grade
level. My goal in writing is the same as it is in my exam room which is to make complex
topics understandable. My hope is that I accomplish that with my blog topics just as I would
in my exam room.
So where are we for 2015? What is happening with the new building? Is it a figment of my
imagination? I’ll answer all of that in this blog. We have a lot going on and it is all great stuff!
The new construction is coming. It really is. As I sit here today, I can say it should start
within the next few weeks. I must confess that I had no real concept of what it takes to build
a hospital. The details that go into the planning and permitting process and the number of
city and county departments that must sign off on all the details is just astounding. I just
thought, in my naiveté, that “we will draw this thing out, get some plans done up, hire a
contractor and the building gets built.” I was wrong. I was so very wrong. The detail and the
planning take time. Lots and lots of time. Many people have asked me if the city planning
and building departments are the reason it seems to go so slow. That has not been my
experience at all; in fact it has been quite the opposite. The City of Whittier, from the
planning department to the building department to the public works department has been
supportive and “in our corner” from the very beginning. In fact, when it seems like we have
been stuck; the city has shown an uncanny ability to think outside the box to get things
done. It has been “slow” because this is a slow process. I can now truly appreciate just how
much work goes into putting up a new hospital or any new building. Our final approval to
move forward happened at a city planning meeting back in October. I want to thank our
clients for showing up at the planning commission meeting. Your support was overwhelming
to all of us and truly appreciated beyond what words can say. The construction of the new
building will happen in phases. At this time we are in a process of dotting “I’s” and crossing
“T’s” on contracts and final building permit stuff. As I said, it is a SLOW process I suspect
that this will feel a whole lot like nothing is moving at all at first and then suddenly it will be in
full swing. Phase one, as you might imagine will consist of various demolition projects, none
of which will profoundly affect the current hospital. I should take this opportunity to reiterate
that the current hospital will be up and running at full strength during the demolition and
construction process. We will of course eventually have some parking challenges but rest
assured we already have a contingency plan in place to address that issue. More on that
So you may be wondering why I would head off to Florida in the midst of all this planning
and such. Well, I can assure you it was no vacation! I was in Florida for the most intense
continuing education I have had since becoming a veterinarian back in 19…..as I mumble
under my breath. As many of you know, part of the new building will house an area for
Physical Rehabilitation (for your critters, not me). I was in Florida starting the process of
becoming a CCRT (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist). There is far more involved in
rehabilitation then being able to push the button on an underwater treadmill or wave a laser
wand at an injury. Requirements prior to the course were to read major parts of 4 veterinary
medical textbooks (Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Miller’s Canine Anatomy,
Small Animal Orthopedics and Fracture treatment and Fossum’s Small Animal Surgery).
There were also 10 videos to watch and take notes on, each over an hour in length. Then I
took an exam so I could actually go take the class. The class was 9 hours a day, with a
brown bag lunch x6 days. I came back with binders about 9 inches thick full of notes. And I
said binders, plural. It was so much fun; I went and completed my second week of intense
study in April. My third and final week of intensity will hopefully be in June. I am waitlisted
for that one. If not June, then November for sure. Oh, and did I mention that I will also be
spending 40 hours volunteering with someone who is already certified for some “hands on”
experience. Finally, I will take the certification exam. So why all the fuss you ask? Rehab
medicine is a big deal and the road to certification is difficult because there is just so much
to it. So much to learn and know. Any of you who see a DPT or a PT (Physical Therapist),
may want to give them a shout out. They have spent as much time getting their education
as the M.D. who sent you to them. Yup, 4 years of undergraduate and 4 years of post-
graduate training. They have board certification specialties too!
You will laugh at this one… I know I did. My daughter said to me, “Dad, I’m so proud you
are doing this at”…. then her voice trailed off. I said, “Do you mean at my age?” I told her I
work long shifts and I prefer to think that I am in the afternoon of my working shift (career).
The truth is, I’m in decent shape and I have never enjoyed veterinary medicine more than I
do right now. Bringing an emphasis on rehabilitation to WBAH is needed and appropriate.
We have a large caseload of animals who will benefit from animal rehabilitation therapy. Pre
and post op orthopedic cases, neurologic cases, dog’s suffering from arthritis, cancer
patients, dog’s with sporting injuries and obese animals that can’t exercise just to name a
few. It is exciting to be able to bring this to our community.
On a more personal note, I’ll add this. I just told you that I am waitlisted for the June class. I
am waitlisted because that class had to be rescheduled from the original date in September.
Why? My daughter Grace who is so proud of me for doing this “at my age”, the Grace that
lives her name every single day, the Grace that owns her daddy’s heart…..Grace is getting
married! I am gaining a terrific son in law and I couldn’t be happier. Walking her down the
aisle outranks all else in my book. Well, if a critter needed emergency surgery we might
have an issue but aside from that…….. A class can be rescheduled!
So, the blog is back, and don’t worry… I haven’t forgotten that I left you all hanging… the
endocrine functions of the pancreas blog is coming. Thanks for continuing to read the blog
because I do enjoy writing it and I do enjoy getting your feedback as well.
Until Next time,