What a difference a week makes!

Our weekly visit to the  construction site today found the building’s skeleton taking shape.  Framing began at the middle of the week, and the central portion of the hospital is now outlined by metal studs (left).  We walked “into” the doctor’s office, strolled down the hallway containing the pharmacy and in-house laboratory, and entered each of the examination rooms.  While many of the rooms seem small right now, the surgery suite felt huge, with plenty of room for all the necessary anesthetic and monitoring equipment.

Clint (our project supervisor) had a number of questions and suggestions for us, and we spent some time talking about doors, cabinets, and other exciting topics as we helped work out the little bugs that creep into any project such as this.  Clint was happy to hear that we’d finally picked out kennels and a radiograph machine, two big pieces of the puzzle that have a major impact on the construction process.

As we left, Clint gave us a couple “homework” projects to complete over the next several days.  Electrical wiring starts next week, so we need look over our electrical plan to make sure there are outlets and data ports and phone jacks in all the places we might need them.  While we did this with the architect, we’ve already spotted a couple places where outlets aren’t indicated but would sure be helpful.  Next, there’s a review of all the custom cabinetry—from the reception area to the lab, bathrooms, surgery, and beyond.

Our trip to Kansas City last week was exhausting but productive.  As mentioned above, we picked out the kennels that will house both cats and dogs during stays at the hospital, as well as X-ray equipment and other “hardware” from surgery lights to lab equipment.  As usual, there were a number of interesting innovations on display, including a microscope with a digicam that was capable of broadcasting images live on the web.  While it was neat to look at, we passed on that one.  However, we do plan to use a similar technology that will permit us to capture microscopic images of blood smears, parasites, and other tiny objects directly into our electronic medical records and share them with specialists, reference labs–and you–by e-mail and other means.

Once our shopping was done, we took in several hours of continuing education lectures on subjects ranging from pediatric care and managing heart disease to marketing and attracting a top-notch staff.  Dr. Burns was particularly excited about a four-hour lecture series focusing on feline medicine, one of her favorite topics.  As has been our habit for several years, we also tried to balance business with a little fun and get to know our host city a bit.  We took the time to walk down to the bustling City Market one morning, enjoyed a KC Barbecue lunch at Jack Stack, and took a long bus trip to the Kansas City Zoo before an afternoon flight home the day after the conference.