27 March 2008

Hospital Wars

Up until now, I have resisted the urge to "publicly" comment on the great Wellmont-MSHA battle, but after the events of last evening I decided I wanted to share my opinion. I do work at JCMC, but I'm not employed by MSHA, so I don't truely have any offical ties to them. I'm not sure why so many people are anti-MSHA. Do they do things perfectly? No, but what major business or corportation does? I wonder if all those people who are convinced that having a Wellmont ER closer to Johnson City would be the best thing ever, have ever received care from a Wellmont facility. Do they even know the kind of care they are inviting into the area? I regularly treat a good number of people from Kingsport, Bristol, and Greenville at JCMC. For the most part, those people have been to a Wellmont ER before, and would rather drive 30 minutes to an hour rather than go back to the hospital down the road. It's something to think about. I think competition is a good thing. It's what drives business and the economy. And like it or not, health care has become a business. I just don't think having a Wellmont ER in Boones Creek is going to change the current situation in the ERs in Johnson City. People complain about the long wait times, but the truth is most of people who come to the ER, don't need to be there in the first place. Too many people use the ER as a walk-in clinic or a primary care doctor. That has to change before things will get better. Do I think the area could use another hospital system to provide some competition for MSHA? Probably. Do I think Wellmont is the answer? Probably not.

20 March 2008

Driving Habits

I have road rage. I know this. Most people who know me know this. I went to Chattanooga for a few days at the beginning of this week to check on my townhouse, which is still for sale, and visit with some friends. And of course during my interstate driving time, the road rage came out in full force. I don't know why I get so upset when I drive, but I do. I don't cuss very much, but when I'm behind the wheel the words just fly out of my mouth. I promise it's like someone or something takes over my body. I love to drive fast. I'm not sure why, but it's such a thrill for me. I'm convinced my car was made to go 80-85mph, really that's where it's most comfortable. I like rules, limits, and absolutes. Normally I'm a stickler for following rules, except for when it comes to speeding. I know that in all honesty, I'm breaking the law, but when I speed I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong. Maybe it's because I think that in most cases the speed limit is too low and that speed is not necessarily a function of your driving abilities. There are plenty of people out there who drive the speed limit (and under it!) that are horrible drivers. A lot of them are more of a traffic hazard than those of us who choose to push the upper limits of speed. :) I still can't figure out where my "need for speed" came from though. I'm a very competitive person, but it's not like I feel the need to be the fastest driver on the road. If someone comes up behind me gong faster than I am, I will gladly get out of their way (a courtesy I wish other drivers would follow!) I think that you can be a fast driver, and still be a very good driver. I obey all other traffic rules. I use my turn signal, move to the left lane when others are trying to merge, I don't cut people off, and I don't tailgate unnecessarily. I know that at some point I will probably get a ticket, and I'd like to tell you that it will stop me from speeding, but it won't.

10 March 2008

What Happened to Spring Break?

Ahh, it's that time of year again, Spring Break. A whole week off to relax, catch up on sleep, hang out with friends, travel, or do whatever you want. I miss that week. As an "adult" with a "real job" that wonderful week is just a distant memory. Why is that? The concept of Spring Break is great, but why limit it to students and teachers? I think it should be extended to all adults. You might be thinking that if everyone was on vacation, everything would shut down and stop, but it could be a staggered thing like the school systems do. I think most adults that work a full time job could use a break that doesn't cut into their regular vacation time. I know I could!
I have some great memories from Spring Breaks past. There was the year of the blizzard (1993) where we got a ton of snow and the power was out for days that probably ranks as the most memorable Spring Break for me as a child. In high school, I got to travel to Europe and Charleston, both of which were great trips. In college, I went to Peru to do medical missions and back to Europe again for an "educational" trip. I think my favorite trip though, was the one that I took in PA school with my roomies from college. Went to Paris for a week, just the 3 of us. There was no schedule, no tour guide, and no one telling us where to be and what time to be there. It was wonderful. We got a chance to see what we wanted and we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it. It was fun, relaxing, and I came home with the best souvenir. (For those of you who may not be aware, this is the trip when I got my first tattoo). I will always remember and cherish that trip. Mostly, because that was my last Spring Break. So for all of you that get the week off, enjoy and treasure these times, because all too soon for the majority of you, Spring Break will be just a distant memory.