|Nana on the Maid of the Mist|
Let this be a lesson to me!
A few months back it was decided that I would be the one from our hospital unit that would attend this year's Annual Conference in Buffalo, New York. Our Nurse Manager Anna did not have it in her budget for us both to go. You go, she said, but under one condition, you better have some fun at Niagara, do the social activity. I had read the brochure and had already assured myself that my good time would be had while standing in the viewing area. I was not going to get in that crazy rocking boat that was just inches from the thundering Falls. I did not tell Anna this. We'll see what happens, I told her.
The conference was very worthwhile, the focus being the future of Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation. I was glad to be there listening to the many dedicated individuals that live their lives focused on the outcomes of patients admitted to Rehabs across the country. These units are sometimes part of hospitals or free standing. On staff at each rehab is a team of Rehab Docs, Rehab Nurses, PCTs, Case Managers, Psychologists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists. There are less than 1500 acute Inpatient Rehabs in the United States, a relatively small number, but an absolute essential part of aftercare for people that have had strokes, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other serious medical problems. Medicare is again making changes that the Rehab industry is preparing for. Rehabs will need strategies to continue providing the level of care that they do.
When Thursday arrived, it was announced that the social activity bus would be outside the Conference Center at 4:45 PM. I would have just enough time to run up to my hotel room, put on my comfortable shoes and grab a jacket. The wind was blowing and grey clouds were gathering when I made my way to the tour bus. I stepped up and to my surprise found the bus to be almost empty. I got a seat near the window then heard someone say my name. Hi Connie, you're going on the boat? It was Joan, an RN PPS Coordinator from Ohio. We had been at the same table a few days earlier. She must have remembered seeing my name tag. I remembered hers. Oh I don't know I told her, looks a little scary. She was sitting with an older woman and a teenager. Then my mom will stay with you, she said smiling. And my daughter too! I moved back a few seats to sit with them. We chatted and were soon at the Niagara Falls. Joan's mother had been on the boat in 1959, for her honeymoon. The Maid of the Mist has been taking the tourists out on the river since 1846. Before I knew it I was part of the history, paying my $17.00 for the boat ride. There was no turning back. I had on my blue poncho and was climbing on to the top deck of the big tug boat. I did get a nice mist and thrill! It was a little scary, but if I hadn't done it I may never have experienced the awesomeness of the 600,000 gallons of water per second. I would not have really been to... Niagara. (And Anna would have been disappointed!)
Some things cannot be explained. I didn't know Joan. I didn't really have a plan for the social night. I was alone and was going to enjoy the Falls from afar or so I thought. Isn't Providence wonderful? The Universe has a plan way better than the one we have up our sleeves. Let this be a lesson to me!
Life is a natural wonder!
|Joan and her mother.|