I’ve been thinking a lot about tires today. Mostly because I can. And because my brain hurts from pondering possible PPS changes, Ultra-High therapy billing, and whether peptide-hydrogel biomaterial helps heal chronic wounds.

These ruminations were provoked by a visit to my local Les Schwab, the tire place where eager staff run to welcome you at your car like it’s an emergency rescue operation. As an aside, perhaps facilities should consider implementing that same high-energy, customer-focused approach for touring guests, minus the grease stains. Just a thought. 

Anyway, I walked inside and my nostrils instantly filled with the deep, strangely soothing aroma of pure tires. They were stacked floor to ceiling, and I don’t think that tire store smell has changed a bit since the first time I got a whiff of one as a small Canadian boy in the year 19-I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it.

While pretty much everything else in our world is unsettlingly different these days, tires really aren’t, as far as I can tell. They’ve never been web-enabled or password protected. They’re not twice as fast at half the size every six months. They’re not suddenly square, and made out of blown glass or titanium. They’re just rubber and round, like they’ve always been. On an unstable planet, it’s actually quite comforting.

So here’s my suggestion to all you weary long-term care professionals feeling overwhelmed by the challenges and changes perpetually facing this profession. Whenever possible, sneak out to the parking lot and just stare at your tires. Appreciate them. Sniff them. Touch them if no one’s looking. Bask in their reliable, boring sameness. Maybe even sleep with one at night.

Because the morning will inevitably bring yet another exhausting day of nothing ever being what it used to be. In fact, the willingness to bid farewell to old models, endlessly innovate and boldly seek the many opportunities hiding underneath all this oppressive uncertainty is going to be the key to survival — where the rubber will really meet the road.