Thursday, October 13, 2011

Falling From the Sky

Leading a healthcare organization these days often feels like I'm falling out of the sky...

What will be the future of healthcare reform?
How viable will rural hospitals be?
Will there be the resources necessary to keep facilities and equipment up to the standards of quality we demand?

To mark my son Grant's 18th birthday and to check an item off my bucket list, we went skydiving. What a rush! Sky Dive Iowa is located about ten minutes from my home in Brooklyn, Iowa, and on a beautiful August Sunday morning in Iowa, we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time.

We did a tandem jump and each of us were strapped to an experienced diver. I was with a diver who was a paratrooper just back from Afghanistan. He was friendly with loads of confidence and focus. I felt safe the entire time. Grant and I received about 15 minutes of instruction and then we boarded the plane with the divers, the pilot, and a videographer. It took about 20 minutes for the plane to take us up to about 8,000 feet.

Then, the moment of truth...time to jump! It was pure heart-thumping and adrenaline-pumping exhiliaration as we fell through the sky for a 20-second free fall before the diver pulled the cord on the parachute. We slowly floated and peacefully decended. Grant and his diver jumped out behind us and the divers guided us to within feet of each other. It was amazing to see Grant floating alongside as we both slowly fell to earth. The whole thing probably took about 10 minutes. The landing was a piece of cake and soon Grant and I were arm-in-arm with smiles as big as a Texas ranch. "Awesome" was the word we kept using over and over again.

So, how did my free fall compare to the tumultous times in healthcare these days? Honestly, skydiving is a piece of cake compared to running a hospital these days. I definitely recommend a sky dive for anyone who is a little adventurous.... you will be glad you did.

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