The Occasional Random Thought 1/30/18

Periodic thoughts with only peripheral - but definite - connections to health care...
Revisiting Thoughts From Ground Zero - I wanted to share these thoughts before we get too far away from the news cycle of January 13th in Hawaii or, as I have come to think of it - "The News From Ground Zero". First, to give my thoughts context - just know that we were there!! After a long flight across the USA, we elected to push the snooze button for just a few more winks rather than get to our early morning start of a meeting. But, even though the snooze button had been pushed, we were out the door of our hotel room at just after 8:13 AM Hawaii time (NOTE: The observant reader will note that my watch in the following commentary runs about 5 minutes ahead of time. That's because I set my watch there so that I stay on schedule J). As we reached the elevators and pushed the down button to head for breakfast, Suzanne's phone startled us with an air raid siren warning and the alert - "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." It was in all capital letters nonetheless which for those who are not frequent Twitter users is like shouting!! "...THIS IS NOT A DRILL" got our attention...
So, there we are heading down the elevator shaft to the lobby and I responded with the consummate aplomb of an IT guy and a morning shrug by turning to Suzanne and saying, "Must be hackers!" When the lobby elevator doors opened, there was an evolving swell of anxiety that filled the hallway with shouts of: "Does anyone know what's going on?" "Is it really a drill?" "They said we should go back to our rooms and shelter in place!" - This is simply a sampling of the various thoughts and ideas which were bantered about by all of the lobby goers. It was obvious; however, that panic was beginning to set in. By now it was 8:17 AM when we reached an outdoor shortcut to the main lobby across the driveway. Now there were people not walking fast but running about. They were shouting louder and going in all sorts of directions. We looked at one another in disbelief. One passerby said, "There's no basement in this hotel. Where do we go?" to no one in particular.
It was then that we saw the bellman who had accompanied us to our room the prior night and who had proudly told us he had worked at the hotel for 27 years. He must know where to go. And, even if he didn't, he pointed us to a steel-reinforced door with a prominent "Medical Clinic" sign with the Red Cross emblazoned across it. I thought to myself, "What an appropriate place for us." My self-thoughts continued, "I might actually be helpful down here in a couple of minutes". There was a whole group of us who nuzzled together to get inside the door and we walked into a cement laden alley way that was obviously a passage way not only to the clinic but also to the laundry area. As we passed a large room of hotel staff, we noticed that there were 20 some staffers in a prayer circle saying a prayer with some in tears, others in disbelief and most in mere shock at what was going on. It was now about 8:24 AM (NOTE: In times of stress, I'm a perpetual watch watcher J).
We settled on to a bench and the young woman sitting next to us was just starting a conversation with someone - family we figured. And, it was. She was having a conversation with her brother who just happened to be in the military and, just happened to be stationed at the base in Honolulu and evidently had "No clue" as to what was going on. She finished and reassured us (sort of) that the military had not been notified of any incoming missile from North Korea. Well - this was a moment of truth!! I thought to myself, "If the military doesn't know about it, it must not be real." I then turned to Suzanne for the second time that morning and simply said, "Hackers". We sat there on the bench for some time and as the young woman moved, we moved with her just in case she got any further updates. At about 8:44 AM the same bellman came into the hallway and said, "There is no missile. You can all go back outside." With looks of mutual self-assurance from the gathered crowd we stood up, walked down the hall, and up the stairs into the wonderful ambiance of Hawaii.
Heart rates slowed. Everyone took a deep breath. The smells of plumeria blossoms floated through the air. Tranquility seemed to descend over the chaos that only moments before had prevailed throughout much of Hawaii. As we walked over to the breakfast site of our meeting - where breakfast had been promptly closed down by the hotel staff at the first sign of an incoming missile - we learned of many different reactions. By now, it was 8:50 AM (on my watch) and the alarms had started once again but this time with an "all clear" message.
There are lots and lots of other stories which I could share from among the Ground Zero attendees. Some were numbing and, even enthralling. There was the young woman who sat on a chair in the lobby sobbing in some sort of PTSD type trance. There was the guy coming back from the beach that had decided to "Go see it all because if you're going to go you might was well see it." There was the multitude of heads shaking back and forth in disbelief. There were hugs and cheers from others with shouts of, "Oh, what a relief." And, there were even more nerdy compadres like me muttering under their breadth, "Hackers, I knew it!" (Actually, a far greater risk that many of the other scenarios).
There was also the quiet recognition by a number of us that if the event had happened two years ago - we all (yes, pretty much "all") would have assumed an error - that there was no way a missile strike would be on its way to Hawaii. But, this was the era where the clashing egos of "Rocket Man" and "Orange Man" made the possibility all too real. Such a point in time makes one realize that leadership at all levels of our government is crucial. Leadership extends all the way from the on-call guy in Hawaii who pushed the wrong button to the very top of our nation's government where some leader might push the wrong button. We came home from Hawaii a bit more tired than usual not because of the missile strike but because we tried to cram too many meetings into too short of a time period. And, more importantly, we came home realizing we have a very important goal before us as a people and as a nation over the next several years - which is to re-establish our leadership credibility as a people and as a nation. To realize that objective, we will all need to move from Ground Zero to Action Ground. That will take people voting. It will take energy. It will take fortitude. Go for it...
Healthcare Consultants

    ...Inspiring creative change to benefit the human condition