Thursday, October 28, 2010

A “sign” of the times?

It was to honor them.. but it turned out to be embarrassing instead!

Since our neighbors were helping with our Adopt a Highway road cleaning project I thought it would be nice to change the name on the sign honoring the volunteers and include a reference to them.

The present sign only mentioned our farm because when we started the project about ten years ago we hadn’t asked anyone else to help. It was something we could do by ourselves we thought.

And since only Paul and I were doing the cleaning, we could pick the day we wanted. The sun would be shining and birds singing and folks driving along would wave and smile.

But soon we noticed that the neighbors had also been cleaning their road frontage areas. That made it much quicker for us. And since the paint on our old sign was now cracking, we decided to change the name on it to honor our friends.

The embarrassing part!

I was informed by the county that they were making the new signs smaller to save cost. They told me its new size but keep in mind that this didn’t make any impact on my spatially challenged brain! (I once brought home a Christmas tree that looked fine when we chopped it down out in the woods - but was probably twice as tall as would fit in our house!)

The new signs would have two pieces so the county only needed to replace the smaller portion when someone new took over that section of road.

The previous sign that had been mounted all these years was four feet across. This new one would have the top section be 2 feet by 2 feet with the Adopt A Highway notice. on it. The bottom section would be 2 feet by 1 foot for the name of the group. You would be allowed two lines for the name with a maximum of 18 letters per line.

The original sign put up years ago had caused a lot of chuckles. I had sent the county the name I wanted on it: Spirit Song Paso Finos (Horse Farm). I emphasized that this was all I wanted on the sign. I did NOT want our personal names on it.

But when the large sign was placed on the county road we saw it had our names on it. Plus, it was misspelled!

The county agreed to come and paint over it - or do something - but I said that we were all laughing so much that they could leave it. And no more cost to the county.

A surprise!

But I figured I wouldn’t be surprised this time. We chose the new letters for the sign to read: Paul and Rosie And Friends.

And yes, the spelling was correct on this sign.

But the size of the sign brought new laughter! Having been used to seeing the large signs honoring volunteers on highways across the state, this one got lost in the outdoor space along the road and looked like it was the size of a postage stamp!

And I had to tell the neighbors that this had been done especially for them!

Guess I’d better think of some other way to thank them.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It’s how you play the game...

Grappling with questions like “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” reviewing a game, Bill Priest, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the Cannon Falls Medical Center (CFMC) and I “tackled” some “hard hitting” questions from folks around here.

I felt it would have been more appropriate for the incoming “coach” or new CEO, Tom Witt, M.D. to line up for this “scrimmage”, but Witt is reorganizing his practice so he can be here two days a week as he handles both the Lake City and Cannon Falls hospitals. Bill explained, this is not an unusual practice in the MAYO system.

I kicked off with a question about the recent exodus of physicians from CFMC and also the Lake City hospital which lost several too.

Bill came back with a fair catch, explaining about the play pattern of the previous CEO. “Greig Glover made tough decisions that needed to be made. They weren’t perfect but his intentions were valid. CFMC is a better place for having Glover here.”

I countered with an audible: “What about the public image of CFMC?” Bill decided to go for it: “From a numbers perspective, our volume hasn’t gone down and our surgeries are higher. Over the last year we’ve grown and added services including nine new staff members. Our goal is to provide excellent care and service to the communities we serve and earn the opportunity to provide for their future health care needs... we’re looking forward... to create a “Care Team” of the physicians, Physician’s Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, etc. Our goal is to get back up to 4-5 doctors.”

The Game Plan

The game plan, Bill continued, has their Team Based Medicine evolving... (resulting in) the enhancement of the medical personnel through the use of medical records online beginning in February. This will give more information about the patient immediately to the various medical personnel involved.

In a quick hand-off I questioned: How do the CFMC charges compare to other hospitals? Bill answered: CFMC is smaller but has some of the same costs as other bigger hospitals.

With a lateral pass I asked about CFMC’s relationship with the nursing home. Bill caught it and explained: “We partner with the nursing home and provide Dr. Simon Mittal to take care of the residents. It’s the patient’s choice if he wants his previous doctor or Mittal. It’s always the patient’s choice.”

In a goal line play I asked, what about after hours care here? According to Bill’s knowledge, “There have been very few times if at all that we would have needed an after hours surgery team and keeping that team on call. Usually the patient can be kept safely with the pain controlled until the morning. If not they will be sent to Rochester.”

“Sneak Play!”

In a sneak play I asked: Will taxpayers end up subsidizing a new hospital by paying for sewer, water hook-ups, along with the $2 million in taxes they have been collecting, etc.?

Bill took possession and explained: “It is yet to be determined how much MAYO would participate in getting utilities to any new building project. The city has been good to work with and the indication is that MAYO appreciates this.”

But in the end, we all realize this isn’t a football game. As a Monday Morning Quarterback I recognize that an incoming administration has the opportunity to call the plays as they see fit. But with MAYO’s apparent resources of psychologists, public relations people, etc., it seems like there could be a better way to handle such difficult situations.

Here's a question for the new "coach":

In the chance of going into over-time, here is a another question from a local resident for the new “coach”, CEO Tom Witt:

“What should we expect of a new administrator who comes from a clinic with five physicians who just left where he was full time? And how is he going to manage another problem clinic on a part time basis, hiring a new crew of physicians, team development and so forth, while still running his old clinic?”

I haven’t heard the whistle blow nor seen the play clock stopped. Looks like the game is still on.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Obituaries... reasons to read them!

Obituaries... why read them?

Obits are a notice of a death... typically including a brief biography of the deceased person.

So you might read them because:

  • You look for friends’ names.
  • You look for your name! (Just kidding!)
  • Or when the folks in the obits are younger than you, you wonder why you are still alive.
  • Then one woman explained to me that when her unmarried girlfriend got to be 55 years old, she started reading the obits to see who was eligible for dating again!
  • But a comforting reason came to me one day. The obituary page is the one place in the newspaper that you are sure to see stories about people who were loved. I’ve never seen an obit saying the guy was a bum or liar.

The listings mention how much the deceased will be missed by children and grandchlldren and cousins and good friends, etc. It might mention what their jobs had been or what they had been interested in.

A surprise ending to the obit!

There was even one death notice that had a surprise ending! Read on. Usually the remembrances are written by the person or family putting it in the paper. But one was apparently written by the person who had died!

A recent St. Paul Pioneer Press obituary section had this one: “Mayer, Beth born October 18, 1919 in Wildrose, North Dakota.

To Charles Teske, watchmaker & inventor, & his wife, Martha Alice Piersen Teske, the youngest of six children. Charles missed a patent on the unbreakable mainspring by just a few months.”

The obituary continues In “first person” vernacular and was printed with no corrections as follows:

“He died when I was yet young. After that Mom moved us around alot to find work.

“I especially remember our times at Johnson's Certified Dairy Farm in Robbinsdale, MN, where Mom cooked for the hired hands. She had every other Saturday off & we would go by streetcar into Mpls. to shop. We always ate lunch at Dayton's & I would always order blueberry pie or chocolate cake & icecream.

“I remember vividly the day Charles Linberg's son was kidnapped and murdered. I was 13. I bought my first driver's license at a filling station in Excelsior for 10 cents. I went to the Jr. Prom with Harold and the Sr. Prom with Albert.

“I was crowned queen of the Winter Carnival & my picture was in the Brown Section of the Mpls. Paper, which later became the Parade Section.

Then she tells about graduating from college, meeting her husband there, her family, her work, her interests and trips.

Now read the ending!

If you read this obituary to the end, you will find the surprise. The 90 year old lady writes: “What more was there left to do? I died at 10:10 AM, Sept. 10, 2010 with few regrets. I only wish I had learned to play the piano. My memorial service will be...”

Besides musing about her writing her own time of death, I thought how wonderful if we only regretted not learning to play the piano!