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The Great Plains (Chapter 2)

I have knitted Wookie a couple of new sweaters and I am now working on some winter gear for my husband. He found a trainer nearby to bring his horses to and requested something to keep his neck warm. A scarf isn’t practical for someone riding a horse down the arena, so… I designed a “neck sock” for him. It is stretchy and can be pulled up around the face and ears, but fits around the neck in between (I am somehow reminded of a thneed on The Lorax). He loves it, and I hope it keeps him warm while we are here. Now I have started knitting him a new beanie (for the times that he is not wearing a cowboy hat). Pearl thinks that she is freezing to death here. I found one of Wookie’s sweaters that is oversized for her to wear this past week. She has never worn sweaters, but she seemed so desperate that I tried it out on her. I guess I will need to make her some next.

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I forgot how busy it is at the beginning of an interim leadership assignment. I continue to focus on improving the patient/resident care experience, but it requires a multi-faceted approach. I am careful not to accept anything at face value or make assumptions based on a surface level assessment because it is almost always a situation of “the issue is not the issue”. Through deep probing, asking questions, and analyzing data, I am able to find the root causes for most challenges and obstacles. However, through the deep probing, asking questions, and analyzing data – I almost always find 25 more problems that need to be addressed. It is always prioritizing and re-prioritizing tasks and issues at this phase due to the competing priorities. Some of the staff have asked me how I can sleep at night knowing everything is such a mess. That’s easy. I’ve seen worse. Besides, how is losing sleep going to help the situation? The one thing I need the most right now is energy, and that requires rest. This is what I know: this situation did not happen overnight, and it can’t be fixed that quick, either. There is only one way to eat an elephant, and that is one bite at a time. However, it is at this phase that I usually feel a little overwhelmed and somewhat dubious that I will ever find all of the puzzle pieces and be able to put them all together. But, I know based on experience that it only requires finding and placing a few key pieces for them to all come together.

The board of directors was able to bring in an interim administrator, and I am so grateful for her! This meant that I could hand over all of the operational challenges to her and focus on clinical improvement. The two of us have been working closely with the board. I am able to present them updates on the status of our current projects and inform them of future goals to improve our quality measures as well. Although we are both interim leaders, they seem incredibly grateful to have us for whatever time that they can.

Of note: 1. I have been told repeatedly here that I look like Geena Davis. I am flattered, I think (I immediately think of “Beetlejuice” when they say this), but every single person has referred to “A League of Their Own”, which I find interesting.

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