Thursday, September 23, 2010

“What the heck is going on?”

“Hold off - just wait.” That was the warning I got from sources researching the disturbing events going on at the Cannon Falls Medical Center. They couldn’t tell me more.

Then came my annual jaunt to the Cannon Falls Hospital District board meeting, whose basic job is to set the amount of the local tax levy. Each year I come to the local members and the Mayo representatives with the same question - “What happens to the $2 million in taxes being collected if you don’t build a hospital?”

But this year I explained that I wouldn’t ask that. They smiled. Instead I wanted to know: “What the heck is going on?” They graciously chuckled at my frustration.

They had probably been hit with the same kind of questions that had been asked of me.

Our hospital... our doctors... our lives.

From having attended the previously locally-owned Cannon Falls hospital monthly board meetings for several years, I explained to those at the meeting: “You see, Cannon Falls is a small town. For about 50 years, the folks living here took pride in their local hospital and their doctors. It was a personal thing because they or their parents or aunts and uncles had worked hard to get the hospital built. And then they took personal interest when the doctors moved to town and took part in their school, church and festivals.

So this might help you understand some of the community’s confusion and concern after they, in effect, gave away their hospital to a larger entity, who they hoped would continue the tradition of local care but help them in the complex world of health and medicine.

“And then four of the five doctors, that over the years they had given their trust and in effect their very lives to, proceeded to leave.”

At the board meeting I realized that my questions might not be answered by the board itself but would be helpful for the representatives of Mayo attending because the next day they would be taking part in a larger program for local citizens. And later I gave another list of questions to the CAO, Bill Priest. I had contacted many residents to try to separate rumors from facts.

Surprise move!

Then there came a surprise move last Monday when it was announced that the CEO, Greig Glover, M.D. had resigned and a new President/CEO, Tom Witt, M.D. had been named.

But I still had the concerns that folks wanted answered.

They see the facility dismantling local health care coverage as they have been used to with their personal doctors, stressing the staff, etc.

The exodus of local doctors had been predicted to me if Mayo took over. Their departure was explained by Glover as some of the doctors had opportunities elsewhere. And this is common when Mayo merges with another facility. They are “team based”... which is a different approach from being an independent practitioner. They have added many physicians to help here and two new ones are ready to sign. Lots of physicians are interested in coming here.

Will the funds raised in taxes go to a new hospital as is designated or some other health issue? Glover replied: An integrated medical campus is the plan for the future, not a super clinic.

Will residents at the nursing home be serviced by the hospital? Glover explained the nursing home has contracted with a Mayo trained physician who specializes in geriatric patients or they can choose their present doctor.

Will these questions and the others so far unanswered, be addressed by the new CEO? Or other knowledgeable parties? Or will I be told again to just “Hold off” and “Wait”?

Guess I’ll just have to “hold off” and “wait”!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"50 Years of Viking's Nicknames!"

I'm looking for the nicknames of Minnesota Vikings' players during the last 50 years for my column in the Cannon Falls, MN newspaper.

I have gotten suggestions from "Benchwarmer Bob" Lurtsema and Dave Mona (The Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave), also from a relative of Dave Osborn, etc.

I figured it would be fun to have a contest to connect the right nickname with the right Viking.

If you know of any nicknames, e-mail them and I plan to give credit to all those who helped in this game!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Romance novels...
Read them or not?

The movie on late night TV was about a little girl who had been injured and they found that by working with a horse she got better. Since I had gone to bed much earlier because our own horses want to get fed in the morning, my husband Paul suggested I look for it online.

I found the DVD on our library’s website. But I also saw a book with a similar name. Its cover showed a running horse.

So I ordered that too. It came. But the cover had changed. It now had a seductive bare chested guy leaning back on his motorcycle. Yes, a romance novel.

You did what!

When Paul picked up my stuff at the library he saw the cover of that book and canceled it. He knew I didn’t read that kind of book.

Well, you know, we’ve been married 50 years. But I couldn't believe he did that!

It’s just that we usually like the same kind of books.

When first married, we would have fun (and not spend any money), by going to the library to take out books. We both loved the Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Over the years we went on to the Shell Scott spy stories. Then we got hooked on Louis L’Amourwesterns.

But romance novels were not part of the program!

Romance novel tempts!

Recently I had been studying some heavy topics (like how the internet is affecting your brain) and I thought a romance novel with a cowboy theme would be a nice break!

I reordered the book.

Yes, there was a bare chested guy on a motorcycle in the story. But he only appeared at the beginning of the book because he was rounding up cattle riding a motorcycle, not a horse. And he probably didn’t look like the dirty, sweaty, scratched and bruised-up cowboy you might find on a real round-up!

Oh yes, the first third or so of the book was all about “skin” and desire. But they didn’t do much beyond the desiring part. Although I might have missed that as I was glancing through it.

But then I found there actually was a plot!

And a "break" for me.