Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

November 15, 2021

In Des Moines, down by the river, are dirt trails for biking.  Wild turns and hills and stumps … if you are riding these trails, this is supposed to be fun.  I did it last weekend and fell off several times.  I was fairly close to dying many times.  It was supposed to be enjoyable.  I guess in retrospect, it was somewhat … “fun” and I probably will do it more … but first time experiences are rather hard.

Quint used to tell the story about phases of change and growth.  You start out as unconsciously incompetent.  Like a new job -- it’s so much fun and somewhat boring the first couple of days … until you move into the next phase and you become consciously incompetent.  You (HORRORS!) figure out that you know nothing and you’ve entered the “why would they hire an idiot like me?” phase.  As you learn and grow and mature, you enter the third phase of consciously competent, and then the last is unconsciously competent - you can do the job in your sleep.  Quint used to say it like this when you had your first kid.  When you brought the baby home from the hospital and it was time for their first bath, you’d crank up the heat, lock the doors and be so very careful so as not to injure the babe.  By the fourth kid, you’re hosing off the newborn outside before you bring them in the house.  You, as an experienced parent, have graduated to unconsciously competent.  

In 2019 I did Ride the Rockies with Dr. Palit.  Palit said on the 3 point “did you have fun?” scale -- where would I rank the ride? 1 = obvious fun  2 = looking back, at the time it was hard but fun overall and 3 = not fun.  I told him my score was close to 9. However, I’m going to do it again in 2022.  Why?  Because I think I can push it up to maybe a 2.  I know what to expect, how to dress, and how much weight I need to lose.  I know that it’s not a fun party like Ragbrai, and I know that the other riders and incredibly serious and kind of snooty.  I listened to downloaded Christmas music on my phone over and over because I couldn’t access cellular data (this was awful).  

So as we collectively go forward with all our endeavors at ISH, most things will appear to be a 3 or higher in the fun/not fun scale, but I know - through experience and a massive optimistic sense of urgency that we will be just fine, and we will be showing the path to success for everyone else.  

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