Of all the available seasons, winter is not my favorite. That’s actually a blatant understatement, approaching a bald-faced lie, so maybe we should start this whole thing over.
I hate winter — despise, loathe, scorn and detest it. Also, I don’t care for it much.
“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice,” said famous poet and indecisive traveler Robert Frost, and I stand shivering with the second group. Winter is pure evil and must be outlawed. We should build a big, beautiful wall to keep it away, and make nature pay for it.
Still, in rare moments of open-mindedness, I have to admit that this vilest of seasons can be a useful teacher, meting out stern but valuable lessons about life, and of course, long-term care.
Even as recently as last weekend, as Armageddon assumed the shape of frozen water falling from the Portland sky, it offered me an icy epiphany and metaphor for 2018:
That no matter what challenge awaits us, either personally or professionally, we’ll somehow be able to chip and scrape our way through.
Yes, that’s actually me in this spine-chilling video clip, fighting bravely with an undaunted smile in the teeth of the storm, wielding my ice scraper like Excalibur. You’ll probably want to view it multiple times daily for maximum inspiration, and should definitely show it at stand-up every morning until spring.
Because who knows what we’ll face in the coming year?
The challenges will almost certainly include all the usual suspects, from new payment models, funding cuts, tighter regulation and narrowing payor networks to staffing shortages and low census. Not to mention the difficulty and complexity of serving actual people with real needs — all of them as unique as snowflakes.
As usual, it won’t be easy. But somehow, we’ll just keep scraping until things get warmer and better. That’s the hard but simple lesson winter teaches, and at least this once, I’m grateful for it.
Sure, some might say the world will end in fire. But for continuing education about life and long-term care, ice is also great, and will suffice.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.