Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Wow. That sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it? Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t a post where I get incredibly morose about some blah blah blah … 

Nah, this is just one of those ones where I brag about what I’ve been up to or where The Ohana has been. 

By the way, I started calling Hubby & I and our kiddos “The Ohana” a few years back after adding Kirby into our lives. He is, after all … our son. He may have four paws, lots of fur, and can only speak in beagle-tongue, but he’s ours to nurture and protect. 

This October, we added Kira to The Ohana. She’s a senior beagle-greyhound mix we rescued from I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven in Warren MI. 


We had talked about adopting another dog, but since being turned down a few years ago, I was pretty gun shy about trying to adopt again. I mean … talk about being an infertile, who couldn’t have kids, decided against adoption because of the fear of failure from a not being able to have kids PLUS feeling even more of a loss from the devastating failure of IVF … imagine being rejected by a rescue group by trying to adopt A DOG. Yes … that’s why it took a while to want to try to rescue again. 

Kirby’s adoption story is pretty short. He was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Ohio and brought to the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan located in Madison Heights MI. After a month of looking on Petfinder for that perfect beagle, we found him and the very next day was at the rescue shelter right when it opened. We took one look at the cutest 1 year old, 15 lb beagle-Jack Russell Terrier (we think) mix; and — with one little wag of the tail, he won our hearts and has been with us now for 10 years. He’s turning silver in a lot of areas and is slowing down a but, but he is both as sweet and as charming as the first day we took him home. 

Kira’s adoption story, was a little more heartbreaking. She was found by Warren Police one night wandering the streets and brought into the rescue group. The police felt that their city pound was no place for an older dog and begged I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven to take her in. So they did, even though they were overfilled and had a waitlist for families wanting to surrender their pets due to financial situation, etc. The next day, one of the volunteers saw Kira and mentioned that a man & woman came in wanting to surrender this same pet about a week ago because his elderly father was moving somewhere where he couldn’t take pets and they couldn’t find a home for her. Unfortunately they left without even putting their names on a waitlist. 

We only heard that story AFTER we met her as an Ohana. While Kirby sniffed and basically ignored Kira for the rest of the time, at least he didn’t bite, bark, or bear his teeth. So yeah, after hearing that story, we knew we had to take Kira home. It took a while for the two of them to get used to each other – Kirby still is very protective of his food and toys and Kira is always wanting to be the center of attention — they have both decided they can live and sleep next to each other in harmony. As much as two 11-year old dogs with personalities of perpetual 3-year old siblings would. SO curious. SO stubborn. SO. Frickin. Adorable. 


Anyway, back to the “Darkness” and the “Old Friend.” Since adopting Kirby, The Ohana had stopped doing vacations that required putting Kirby in the care of someone else. Therefore, we’ve been doing a lot of road-trips around North America. We started out small … Northern MI including the UP, Toronto & London Ontario, etc. And then we started doing more; the first major one in 2017 when we drove cross-country from Detroit to Santa Monica, getting on & off Route 66 and heading back by way of Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore and Chicago. On that trip is when we bought a US National Park Passport Book and decided we would try to go to as many National Parks and Historic Sites as we could. To date, we have been to 23 of the 63 US National Parks and are hoping to see all of the ones in the Continental US.

This brings me to the title of this post. I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Hot Springs Arkansas. “Why?,” you may ask. Well, for a few reasons. 1) We are hoping to hit every US State (with or without the pups), which we’re actually down to 2 after this trip. 2) We have an opportunity to get a US National Park Passport Stamp from Hot Springs National Park. And, 3) the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse. 


Yeah, I know. We went with the hype. But to be fair … this is actually the SECOND time we drove to see a Total Solar Eclipse. A couple weeks before the 2017 Nashville Eclipse, Hubby & I thought, “Well, we’ve never been to Nashville, so … hey, why not?” Plus, Hubby got me a Canon E80D camera for my birthday that year and we thought it would be fun to try it out on something we’d see probably only once in our lifetime. 

Or so we thought. 

After seeing that Total Solar Eclipse, we were hooked. It was pretty amazing to watch how the whole landscape changed from a bright, warm sky to a “quick sunset” to midnight and then back to day in a matter of minutes. It was eerie to watch the shadows of the trees and of people switch quickly from one side to the other and then back again. Strange to hear birds peeping one minute, then a brief silence and then crickets chirping. Basically we were wonderstruck. The totality lasted only 1 minute and 56 seconds, but — since I was trying to take as many pictures as I could — it seemed like it was only seconds. Thank goodness for remote shutters, so I could at least see the Ring of Fire with my own two eyes! 


Driving home on that trip, Hubby & I were already planning for the next Total Solar Eclipse for 2024, which seemed AGES away. Where would we see it? Did we want to go somewhere warm (it would be in April after all; Michigan springs are fickle) or did we want to go somewhere warmer? I can tell you this, by 2022 I was already reserving an AirBNB in Cleveland on Lake Erie so we’d at least have one place just in case. 

Obviously we decided on Hot Springs National Park for the above reasons and last year around this time I was booking hotel rooms for this trip. I ended up settling for a hotel in Maumelle, Arkansas, a town on the outskirts of Little Rock and about an hour north of Hot Springs. And after seeing the area around Hot Springs Village, I am glad I chose Maumelle. The city is spread out and not too crowded. The best feature, though, was a small park in front of the Arkansas River directly behind the hotel I booked. That’s where where The Ohana and maybe less than 75 people witnessed the eclipse. 

In Nashville, I was able to take photos of the all the stages of the eclipse; which included photos of Bailey’s Beads, the Corona, and the “Diamond Ring.” (Click HERE to see a collage of the shots I took in one photo.) We had bought the right filter for my lens and prepped ourselves thoroughly on how to set up the camera and when to leave or remove the filter to take the best photos. We even had all the manual settings down to a tee. I was SO ecstatic when I saw how the pictures turned out. They weren’t as sharp as they could have been, but afterwards, I found out that there was a small amount of unexpected cloud coverage that came in while we were in the totality stage. Nonetheless, I was proud I was able to get those photos. 

This year I would know what to do better, after all we were “eclipse chasers” and now had experience taking photos. What could go wrong? 


Well for starters, I realized when we were at the point of no return, that I forgot our tripod at home. This meant going to a local Big Box store in Maumelle when we arrived. Then, while getting my camera ready the night before and getting reacquainted with settings and tips (read: Google tips), I realized I forgot the correct filter in order to take shots during the the partial eclipse stages.1 This meant that being able to focus on the actual “subject” (aka THE SUN) couldn’t be done until the total eclipse stage occurred. Which was fine, because really … that — The Ring of Fire was the money shot I really wanted. 

So with settings in place, same camera from last time on new cheap Big Box tripod, and more Totality Time than last (3 min, 37 sec), I thought … okay, I got this. But woh, those almost 4 minutes flew by. Especially since I thought the picture wasn’t in focus. Or that the photo was going to be too dark. Or worse, too light. Did the flash go off? What the frick’n frack? Turn to Hubby, “Take a photo with your iPhone NOW! I’m not getting it!” And finally, “Wow, that’s spectacular! Dang Nabbit! I didn’t capture it on film!”

Cue sound: wah wah waaaaah


It WAS indeed, spectacular. It was so much brighter than the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The Ring of Fire was much larger that I remember from almost 7 years ago. I had read somewhere — or maybe heard (it’s hard to remember with all the coverage leading up to the event) that this eclipse was supposed to be brighter than usual. Something about how solar flares were less active in 2017 and that this year, the sun was closer to earth and solar flare activity was at its maximum. I kinda poo-poo’d that, but when looking at it, I thought about that fact and wondered if that was why the Ring of Fire was so breath-taking. 

I was so angry at myself that I wasn’t able to catch that moment. So mad that I didn’t even want to look at previews of the photos on my camera. Even after we retuned to the hotel later that afternoon, I refused to transfer the photos to iCloud. Finally, I got curious when the thought of comparing the 2017 and 2024 eclipse got the best of me. 


While the photos were transferring to iCloud, I pulled up the photos from 2017 and specifically the Ring of Fire from that eclipse. Right off the bat, I was shocked. It was nowhere near as amaze-balls as the one I just observed. Beautiful, yes. And still a little fuzzy from the small amount of unexpected cloud coverage, but it was still as beautiful as I remembered. Just not brilliant as the one we just witnessed.

Now I was reeaaalllly mad and prayed to the powers that be that I got at least ONE good photo. I’d even settle for a blurry one, but I just wanted one that showed how bright it was. And then I saw these photos:

Followed by THIS photo:

2024 Total Solar Eclipse, Little Rock AR

Not just Brilliant. Brilliant like a DIAMOND — a HALO of sorts.

Thank you all that is Good in the world, thank you Angels above!! By pure chance, I managed to get — not just this photo, but a few other ones … followed by about  dozen blurred ones. But I got it. I got Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. 

Just for comparison, this is the Ring of Fire shot I was able to get in Nashville.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse, Nashville:
A little fuzzy from the small amount of unexpected cloud coverage


Now I can leave Hot Springs AR, having checked off another State off of our list. Plus we added another  Stamp in our National Park Passport book, since we (read: me) drank some water fed directly from the Hot Springs. Unfortunately we were unable to actually have a “bath” (read: sit in hot spring-fed pool) in one of the natural spring bath houses.2*

Next up on this road trip is NOLA. Hubby & I have both been there, but separately and for work. So this will be the first time for us together as an Ohana. Then it’s through Mississippi and Alabama, knocking a total of 4 more States off of our list. Only two States left after that! (We’re now looking at you, Montana and, surprisingly, Wisconsin — WTF?)

Hopefully more to post on the road. But don’t hold your breath! LOL

  1. Similar to human eyes, camera lenses can get damaged by directly being pointed at the sun ↩︎
  2. Note to self: Don’t expect sit in a hot spring-fed pool or get a hot-spring spa massage on Tuesdays at the Quapaw Bath House. They’re closed. Unless you want to go the the Buckstaff Bath House which still operates as an old school bath house and separates Men & Women into different pools.  ↩︎

An Open Letter to the Other 50%

Dear People who, four years ago, told us that we should “get over it” and believe that the 2020 election was rigged,

Let me first start off by saying that you now need to eat your own words. An election that has been validated multiple times by various highly respected people / groups … one that has been brought to multiple State Supreme Courts and dismissed was NOT stolen by ANYONE.

I’ll also add that 50% of the voters in the 2016 election did NOT want this incumbent president to represent our nation in the first place. We may have not liked the results, but as good citizens and stewards to our country, we respectfully accepted the results and carried on.

As a Republic Democracy for 245 years (this July), the US has provided its citizens the right to choose their own representatives; ones that will take to Washington DC (and the world) the wants and needs of its constituents. It was one of the core values of our Founding Fathers, and through a democratic process, the US Constitution has added amendments (15 & 19, in fact) to secure the rights for ALL citizens of the United States, whether by race or by gender.

The example you have displayed at the Capitol Building today is completely void of Democracy. In fact, you have interfered in the voting process. This means you have actively defied our Constitution; our moral value as a nation.

You follow the words of a person who aims to make (or keep) America great again; the same person who has stoked the fires of anger & hate for his & his family’s own gain, and incited his followers to protest this 245-year-old voting process. You have stormed the Capitol Building, disgracing our Democracy by taking selfies of yourself smiling while sitting on our US Senators’ desk.

You have disrespectfully walked on the Senate & House floors, pretending to be the Senate / House speakers (yes, I’m talking about you, Arizona QAnon Viking Man).

You have walked around our Capitol in Militia uniforms, also taking selfies in the Capitol Building’s Rotunda.

You have waved many a flag of a nation that has not existed in over 150 years.

You hung an effin’ noose in front of the Capitol Building.

May I ask … is THIS what you think will make America great again? Because, quite frankly … despite our economy and the poor COVID pandemic response, I never thought America had EVER lost being great.

Greatness is in how you handle crisis. Greatness is subscribing to the needs of your audience, whether you agree with them or not. Greatness is how you lead others through the difficult times. Greatness is about the art of compromise.

Greatness is NOT selfish or narcissistic. Greatness isn’t someone who wantonly disregards public opinion. Greatness doesn’t trade science for conspiracy theories or unproven facts. Greatness is NOT a person who strives to divide people, in the name his own personal values. Greatness is not “Me.”

Greatness is “Us.”

A great person should be smart enough to know that leading a Democracy requires the assistance of those who also strive to be the best for themselves and — more importantly, others. Greatness is understanding the concept of Teamwork, rather than subscribing to the practice of autocracy.

Greatness, as a leader in our Government, is a person who wholeheartedly believes in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights / Amendments. Greatness is maintaining what works for our government now. Greatness is updating (as needed) and securing our government … OUR nation for the future.

Greatness is honoring a pledge you have made for our country & flag; one that believes that our Republic is “One Nation under God,* indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

Our nation remains great and will continue to be so as long as we BELIEVE it will. Democracy requires diligence in maintaining these documents and pledges. Democracy requires respecting others, our land, and our government. Democracy requires the ability to compromise.

Despite what you think, your actions today are very much NOT “American.” Unfortunately, your display today has likely solidified what the rest of the world generally thinks of a “typical American:” selfish, brash, and loud. (Yes I’ve been watching too much “Emily in Paris.”)

You may have thought your demonstration outside (and, well inside) the Capitol was a given right in our Constitution; that you were entitled to the “Freedom of Speech.” However, when you actually read the first Bill of Right, it addresses the right to assemble PEACEFULLY.

It stopped being peaceful the minute you stormed the Capitol Building, disrupting our government from upholding the Constitution that they pledged to protect.

What you’ve really done is make a mockery of our government. **

For those of you that went to grade school with me, you’ll recall our 5th grade teacher, Mr. K. who was also our social studies / history teacher. He was SO very proud to be an American, and never failed to remind us that the United States was the best country in the world. Being of feeble 11 years of age, I didn’t fully grasp the importance of the “Cold War” which he always referred to when making such statements. However, what I did grasp was him constantly saying, “If you don’t like it here in America, then you can leave.”

While I have been pretty outspoken about my political beliefs over the past 4 years (well, actually more than 12, but who’s counting?), it may come as a surprise that I still love it here in the US. ***

I’ve been afforded opportunities that I may not have experienced if my parents return to the Philippines, if my parents didn’t utilize those unalienable rights afforded by being a US Citizen.

I’ve been given a stellar education. And despite my gripes about my previous employers, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get as far as I have in my career.

I owe all of these opportunities – well, first of all, to my parents, but also for the ability and freedom to better myself in this nation. I don’t take for granted the freedoms we have. I believe the purpose of a three-branch government is important to keep the checks and balances in line. I don’t take issues of race, gender, or identity inequality (or any inequality, for that matter) lightly.

I believe that our democracy should a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Frankly, what you have done today has sorely disappointed *this* citizen of the United States. Yet your action have not dampened the pride that I have for this country.

In fact I remain ever hopeful that this is but a dark time in our Democratic nation and that “We the People of the United States” will continue to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Those were the words of our Founding Fathers. Live them. Breathe them. Respect them.

With sincere respect,
A Proud Asian-American Daughter of the United States

(Off soapbox. Peace out!)

* Yes, I realize that there is much controversy surrounding the addition of religion into our Pledge of Allegiance.

** By “government” I’m *not* referring to a specific person or persons; I’m referring to its entity as a WHOLE

*** Despite seriously considering moving to New Zealand, but the pandemic foiled that plan. D’oh!

So Long and Soooo Long



Extremely LONG Post


(Don’t say I didn’t warn you)



I have always believed that certain elements in life have a purpose. When I found myself at odds with my personal beliefs in my previous position, I was unable to search for employment within the healthcare insurance business. I had signed a non-compete clause preventing me from finding employment at a competitor within a 50 mile radius of this particular company.

I had no idea what I would do next. I had worked as an RN Case Manager within the Healthcare Industry for more than 15 years. I had also been away from bedside nursing for close to 20 years. My only recourse (other than moving 50 miles away) was to look for Care Management positions in an office setting or return to the hospital setting.

When I saw a posting for Care Management positions at The Mothership as well as our oldest Legacy Sister, I knew I had to try for both. I felt good about the Legacy interview, but I was secretly hoping I would get a chance to interview at The Mothership.

After all, I had started my nursing career at this place some 25 years ago. I formed lifelong bonds with many of those that worked alongside me either at the bedside on the unit or as a Case Manager. They were my “family,” everyone throughout the Mothership knew or knew of each other. Despite the size at that time, going to work mostly felt as if I was going over to a friend’s house to work on a project.

The only reason I left was because I had the opportunity to work for Big Blue’s Younger Sister. It was a Monday thru Friday gig with no weekends or holidays or working odd hours. A welcomed relief from rotating days and afternoons and making sure that I worked at least 3 of the 6 holidays of the year.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at The Mothership and the interviewer was the Case Manager (CM) I worked with as a staff nurse. In fact, I credit this person with steering me into a career in Case Management. I consider this person to be one of my Touchstones; showing up (even after I left the hospital) during those times I needed an ear to listen or a hug to tell me that things would be okay. Knowing that I was interviewing with her (now in a leadership position) was the moment I realized that the purpose for leaving my previous job was to return to the hospital setting.

It was like coming home that first week at Beaumont. Besides Touchstone, I ran into several members of my Mothership “family” who remained at the Mothership for all those years. I was happy that they remembered me; from the transporters that brought up our post-op patients to the unit. To those RN’s who worked side-by-side with me during some of the toughest days as a brand new (and even seasoned) nurse. I was even caught off guard when I ran into my former Nurse Manager (another Touchstone who had graduated from the floors to become a high-ranking RN at The Mothership). At first walked passed me, but stopped in her tracks, turned around, and called out my name, genuinely happy to see me back at The Mothership.

I also found out that many of the Case Managers I worked with during my first stint at the Mothership were still in the same department. In fact, when given the opportunity to choose my assigned unit, I chose the one where I knew two of the CMs in that office. Best. Decision. Ever.Seeing many familiar faces at The Mothership was a testament that these long-standing employees were valued and respected. Sure, there had been a few changes (holy huge new tower, Batman!) to The Mothership since I was last there; but overall, there was still that element of pride for working at an established well-known hospital. These employees were proud to say where they worked, because The Mothership only hired the best.

Flash forward to The Mothership today, seven years later. So much had changed in that amount of time, including Headquarters (HQ) attitude towards patient care and employee satisfaction. Within those 7 years, The System changed CEO’s and expanded their reach to the south-/south-western part of the Metro Area. Suddenly The System was obsessed with the merger; streamlining processes so that ALL Ships were doing the same thing.

The new CEO, though he tried to sound down-to-earth (Folks, anyone?), was somehow never visible at The Mothership. In fact I only recall him showing up at The Mothership ONCE for a Town Hall Meeting with the employees. I’m sure CEO – who, BTW is an accountant – had been to The Mothership several times, probably for other executive level meetings; however, in the 5 years that CEO has been with The System, I had never seen or met him in person.

This was a departure from past CEOs who made a point to sit with employees to take The System’s pulse, ask us how we felt and what we think should change. I just felt I couldn’t trust someone who didn’t make an effort to understand how The Mothership’s engine worked and how The Mothership remained afloat.That was the first inkling of concern I had about the direction of The System. CEO would “advertise” that he was “rounding” with multiple departments and units throughout The System. There would be videos of CEO at all the other Ships, but I had never (to this day) seen CEO do the same for The Mothership. While boasting about being transparent on his weekly email blasts, many of his decisions were made without the input of any of the “worker bee” employees. Many times The Mothership employees felt as if the wind had been knocked out of them, because changes that CEO helped implement were never clearly communicated. I quickly realized that CEO could talk the talk, but could never walk the walk. Or rather WANT to walk the walk.

What cemented my concern was two-fold. The first event was when they moved the entire Care Mgmt Dept from under Nursing’s umbrella to Finance’s umbrella. It was certainly a shift when we were used to having support from Nursing leaders. Now it felt that Finance didn’t understand (or care to realize) the importance having clinically experienced nurses and MSWs to assist in coordinating patient care during and after leaving in the hospital.

In fact The Mothership’s new CFO asked to shadow a CM to see what our day was like. I was apparently one of the CM’s who was chosen. Of course the day she sat down with me, there was none of the constant interruptions by multiple healthcare disciplines including outside vendors & insurance companies. There was no irate patient or family member who was insistent that they needed to remain in this step-down unit.

CFO lasted for less than 1.5 hours that day; often telling me that the “issues” we were experiencing were “normal” because she saw the same exact issues as the former CFO of another Out-of-State hospital. It was clear that this CFO had never spent time at the bedside; nor did CFO care to understand how many facets of Case Management there was.

CFO likely never had to explain to a patient or family member why he/she didn’t meet the “criteria” to go to Inpatient Rehab and therefore, his/her insurance wouldn’t pay for an IP Rehab stay. All while simultaneously encouraging family to choose from a list of Subacute Rehabs, which any lay person may see as a putting their loved one in a “Nursing Home.” (FYI, it’s not. There are multiple “levels” of care at any Nursing Facility.)

Better yet, I’m sure CFO had never had to participate in a Multidisciplinary Meeting with the family of a patient — who could no longer breathe on his/her own and was unable to communicate his/her wishes — to discuss goals of care for their loved one, even when every discipline & specialty consultants agreed that the current course of treatment was futile in nature. More often than none, these family meetings would turn into a WWE-like match; family members uncontrollably sobbing. Parents & Siblings screaming expletive words at one another or — better yet — throwing things at one another.

Sometimes just being in the vicinity, that flying object would veer off track and hit you instead. Sometimes meetings ended with a family member grabbing you and begging you to pull out my “magic bag” and “fix things.” Tell me that, while still trying to maintain professional composure, you wouldn’t feel some sort of responsibility to help that family … even if it is to assure them that we’ve exhausted all possibilities.

Instead what was often seen by CEO and CFO was the “number of days” (or “Length of Stay” in healthcare terms) that the patient had accumulated while in the hospital. Or the cost that The Mothership was incurring because of a complication that occurred during a patient’s hospital stay. In short, HQ and The Mothership had no experience in having those face-to-face conversations. They had never had to explain, in person, why the patient’s insurance won’t cover his / her IV antibiotic and was unable to find the right resources for any type of medication assistance. Or sat next to a patient to tell him / her that there were no other places that they can go (other than home) from the hospital because his insurance terminated, or the benefit wasn’t available. Or speak with families who insists they can no longer take care of their loved one at home but aren’t financially able to afford personal caregiver services or an apartment on an Assisted Living Campus.

The Mothership suddenly felt like a “fantasy football league.” It was all about statistics, what the “player” can bring to the table, and the resulting money they would save / make on this particular activity. Patients no longer were human in their eyes; instead, they became numbers & stats in the literal Game of Life. And us employees were just pawns (or “players”) in helping them achieve a championship title. Which would then result in vast improvements for their chances of success (aka the ability to increase The System’s revenue … or their pockets).

The second concern presented when they hired an “Interim” Director of Care Mgmt for The Mothership to “overhaul” the way that us “players” approached every single activity / responsibility assigned to our department.

Nicknamed Hurricane, she tore through The Mothership, many times treating us as second graders. The best description I could come up with was that she reminded me of Professor Dolores Umbridge in the HP series — she talks all sugary and sweet; all while demeaning you and relishing the power that she had been given.

Hurricane destroyed the Care Mgmt Dept’s confidence; often pushing activities that may work at the The System’s smaller Ships onto The Mothership, who had double (sometimes triple) the number of licensed beds. The Mothership was where the other Ships tended to transfer their complex patients. The Mothership had world-renown physicians in pretty much every specialty of care.

I don’t disagree that a hospital of this size can be difficult to “manage” and HQ often has to reel in departments where their activities may have pushed things too far. However, the one thing that had always (previously?) been true is that The Mothership was able to quickly adjust to the needs of the community, sometimes finding ways to achieve outcomes that would best serve the patient. Often times, The Mothership’s various departments would try their best and work *together* to achieve the desired results.

This didn’t matter to Hurricane. She forced her beliefs onto the Care Mgmt Dept, often threatening that we needed to “get on the bus” and get with the program. (Seriously. we were actually given a “ticket” to get on the damn bus.) If we didn’t then we should stay off “the bus” because there were other people “standing in line” willing to “get with all the changes.”

In other words, we were replaceable.

Hurricane stayed on until a new permanent Director of Care Mgmt was hired; she was to “mentor” this New Director (to “continue the work” that she had started). Unfortunately, our hopes of having someone that could understand the nuances of The Mothership while confidently, yet calmly assist us through change and adjust course as needed (as we had multiple times), were dashed. After our experience with Hurricane we were hoping that our New Director (ND) would advocate for our department.

ND often had a way of making decisions without thoroughly understanding what the results of her actions would be down the road. It didn’t help that ND was (like most of leadership after current CEO took the reins) came from outside The System. They often failed to get any input from other seasoned CM’s or Leadership on what has / hasn’t worked in the past. Once she made her decision, ND typically stood her ground; never acknowledging that her “change du jour” wasn’t achieving the outcome she wanted. As a result, she would try out another change (again without others’ input), which would result in yet another change in process. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

If Hurricane didn’t completely destroy our self-confidence, the snap-decisions that ND made certainly did. More than often, no one could remember what the “latest process” was for an activity. Everyone felt as if ND+Minions were trying break us; aiming to pit us against one another. CM’s felt as if the Auth Coordinators (we won’t even get into THAT role) and the MSWs were out to “get them,” and vice versa. ND in essence, silo’d each of our roles; shifting responsibilities to and fro, all while adding new non-essential tasks that didn’t require an RN or an MSW to perform. Hurricane and ND’s actions ultimately had their employees questioning all the smart, talented, dedicated, and hardworking employees were even marginally “good” at our job.

They turned those employees who used to be proud that they worked for The Mothership into employees who were embarrassed to say where they worked. This type of behavior ultimately resulted in the employees resenting both The Mothership and The System.

Between Hurricane and ND’s actions (or lack thereof), the Care Mgmt Dept has lost (at the very minimum) 20 or so highly experienced CM’s, MSW’s, Auth Coord’s, and clerical staff. Many of those who had years of experience working at The Mothership.

Our department was already stretched thin when COVID-19 hit. Rather than showing support for the frontline employees, The System’s CEO (an accountant; likely with no bedside experience), had already began to complain about the loss of revenue that would occur because of this pandemic. CEO talked about how canceled surgeries and cardiac procedures, which are the main bread & butter (for The Mothership, anyway) and the payroll for the Frontline workers would result a major net loss for The System.

Let that sink in: While the community-at-large was showing appreciation for us frontline workers, The System’s CEO was complaining about having to pay them.

Bravery at that time, apparently became a detriment to The System’s (already) Deep Pockets, which ultimately led to many positions being terminated or placed on furlough in the “April Sweeps.”

Unfortunately, The Mothership’s Care Mgmt Dept seemed to turn into a microcosmic version of HQ; of what was going on systemically at The System’s Executive Level. Just like the other employees throughout The Mothership (and likely throughout the other Ships), there was an overall feeling of oppression; of feeling that you weren’t allowed to make any decisions without leadership’s approval.

And if the Head Cheese acted in such a manner, then this allowed other leaders below CEO to act in the same way to their peers under them. And so forth and so on, until it reaches those frontline workers, who have no recourse but to remain silent.

The frustration most of us felt throughout The Mothership was *never* about appreciation. It was (and still is) about feeling respected and valued. Of what we could bring to the table. It was about The System voicing that they were being transparent and honest with all their activities when they really weren’t.

In the Mothership’s Care Mgmt Dept, this ultimately lead to the lack of trust in our department’s leadership. Often times, we felt as if there was Game of Thrones-type scheming behind our backs; leading us to feel as if our jobs were in peril.

As most of us (especially the RN’s) went into the healthcare industry to *help* our patients & family members during a time wrought with uncertainty, the tendency was to make sure that we were providing the best care possible while in the hospital. In short, we practice empathy; constantly working hard for our patients & families, often at the expense of our own family and personal lives.

Things get difficult when what Management deems that their “priority” is more important than what should be best for the patient. (I’ll let you decide what our priority is: Making sure The Mothership gets paid? Or making sure the patient is discharged safely? Hint: it’s all about the Benjamins.)

Never mind that some of these “priority” tasks do not require an RN or an MSW to complete. Yes, some of those tasks are driven by the government (IMM letters, anyone?) but it doesn’t require assigning an RN (who sometimes has the clinical knowledge that could sometimes rival a first-year resident) to perform them.

If ND+Minions could understand that taking these non-essential tasks off our plates will result in improvement in The System & The Mothership’s outcomes. By doing this, it would allow us to perform more value-added tasks in addition to addressing all activities that the CFO & ND deemed as priorities which would ultimately improve our “stats.”

Unfortunately, our current Administration (at both The System & The Mothership) are too short-sighted to realize that what they consider a priority now will only hurt them financially in the long run. Fast Cash followed by Free Fall.

Long-winded, I know … but these are the reasons why, despite absolutely *loving* what I do, I feel I can no longer work for The Mothership and The System. For those that know me, I’m extremely passionate about everything I do; especially with Care Management. Unfortunately, right now there is way too much on our plates that I feel that I’m unable to give the 100% I typically do. As it is, I am OCD enough where I need to make sure that things are done in the correct manner. To do that, I would find myself working 12 hours a day, but only get paid for 8 hours. Anything to help the patient and the healthcare team.

Quite frankly, going in to work (especially of late) had been a struggle. I often felt defeated by the end of the day because I couldn’t do the necessary tasks that were needed before I left. This had affected my confidence to the point that I felt I was always angry at what was going on … not only at The Mothership level, but The System level as well. I knew I needed to get out of that toxic environment (which instilled fear and mistrust in CEO, CFO, ND as well as among ourselves) not only for my own sanity, but my Dear Husband’s (DH) sanity as well.

It breaks my heart that I’m leaving my family once again. For the past 7 years I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible nurses, physicians, APPs, Physical & Occupational therapists (PT/OT), and other ancillary healthcare staff. From the pharmacy & their techs to nutritional support dietitians. From the cashiers in the cafeteria & concourse (who pretty much know my breakfast order) to the environmental service staff that always pop their heads into our office to see if we need our trash emptied. (We always said ” No, thank you,” only in part because it was cathartic hearing the trash bags clank down the chute. It was like throwing out all the negative juju we experienced that day.)

The people who I will miss the most are those that have been in the trenches with me … The RNs (including their management team) that work bedside us on the Medical Purgatory – I mean Progressive Care Unit I was assigned to. The PT/OT staff who was always available to do a session for patients whose insurance required their notes to determine what the most appropriate level of rehab the insurance deems most appropriate for the patient. The Respiratory Therapists who put up with all my questions about Vent / BiPAP settings and trach sizes & types; especially because I’m constantly pestering them to perform home O2 evals.

I will miss the incredible Liaisons from all the different facilities, agencies, companies; especially my favorite LTACH girl (who gets things DONE) and the Home & Hospice agency who always reminds me that the tasks I perform do not “succ.” I will certainly miss those physicians / residents and APPs who were always ready & willing to be participating team players in coordinating post-discharge care needs.

Most of all, I will miss the ladies that have sat side-by-side pretty much every day; my office sisters. They have been a constant influence in my life and have gotten me through some pretty rough patches. I will also miss all the other CM’s, MSW’s, Docs, APPs, and staff RNs who knew that our office door was always (figuratively) open for those that needed a place to decompress, vent, or even swear or cry. They knew that what happened in office stayed in our office.

I will miss those Touchstones, old and new. I will miss my Mothership Touchstones I had as a staff nurse. I will miss the Touchstone who fueled my passion for Care Management.

In fact, I relish all of my Touchstones. Though we no longer work together, I appreciate the lessons my Manager at Younger Sister taught me when I decided to try my hand at leadership. The Number One lesson was the first lesson this Touchstone ever taught me; and I continue to carry this lesson today even if I’m no longer in a leadership role. This Touchstone taught me that the most important thing about being a good leader was not to mess with people’s time (both as it relates to time-off AND length of time of any interaction/task) & pay.

Though they may no longer be my boss, these Touchstones have provided me with the confidence I needed to remember; that I am ten times better than what I think I am.

Yesterday was my last day at The Mothership. On Monday I start a new position at The School. It had always been a dream for me to work at The School. When the opportunity came up, my confidence was so shaken that I didn’t think I would get the job. At the persistence (and blessings) from my office sisters, I went for it and was genuinely surprised when I was offered this position.

I believe that going though the past seven years has lead me to this new path in my career. Despite what HQ and the leaders at The Mothership have put me through, I believe that my stint here had *purpose.* You have all lifted me up at one time or another. You are the people that gave me my courage and confidence.

I am truly sorry to those I haven’t been able to see before I left. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and — in true Mothership fashion — my last day was fraught with issues requiring my immediate attention. Please know that, despite my current feelings for The Mothership, I will miss what She used to be.

I will miss every one of you. I will miss my Mothership Family

PS. For those wondering why I kept the d*mn ticket. This is why:

Twenty Four

Before the day passed, I want to tell you how much I love you. It’s been a roller coaster year for us, both physically and mentally. But one thing that hasn’t wavered is our love for each other.

Thank you for being my best friend and for allowing me to just be myself; for keeping me safe and protected during the most vulnerable times in our lives. For the strength you provide me when the going gets tough.

It’s been 24 years since we promised to love each other in sickness & health, in good times & bad. We’ve certainly kept that promise and I plan on doing so, to infinity & beyond 🚀💖 Happy 24th Anniversary, Hon! 💖

PS. You will always be my Carl 🧓🏼 to your Ellie 👵🏼 My Aladdin 🧞‍♂️🕌 to your Jasmine 👸🏻 … My Burrito Supreme 🌯 to your cape-wearing Taco Supreme 🌮

PPS. Dang … we still look good together, don’t we? 😂🤣

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Forever Young


Well, it would have been our 30th year Class of 1990 High School Reunion this summer, but … well, 2020 has been a spectacular year

And then this gem came on to remind me that our class song will always mean that we will always be “Forever Young”


Thank GOD it wasn’t the remix!

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