Monday, December 13, 2010

Sleigh Bells Ringing on my 7th Cranial Nerve

The holidays are filled with lots of bells...Christmas bells, sleigh bells, jingle bell's, Salvation Army bells. And last Wednesday, the holiday brought me partial Bell's Palsy (also known as 7th cranial nerve paralysis).

Certainly, it was scary at first as I thought I noticed signs of a Stroke. I quickly called one of our physicians and headed into see him. After an MRI and other testing, I was cleared of a Stroke concern and put on proper medications. Times like this definitely get you to step back and think what led up to this. Looks like I had a "perfect storm" of possibilities including physical stress on the body with a marathon, less sleep, more travel and medicine that may have lowered my immune system over the past 3 weeks. Now, with a patch over my left eye for the next few weeks to keep it closed, it really provides me the chance to slow down (or smash into things) and watch my activities more carefully. Please note that I have appreciated all the offers to sign, decorate, add bling and bedazzle my patch. We could leave that contest for another day. I have also received several praises from kids today, complimenting me on my cool eye patch.
"Ahh, the joys of physical activity have caught up to you." as many have shared with me. "This is your body telling you to slow down." I suggested that a simple pep talk would have worked for me. During this evaluation phase it truly brought to light my key priorities and interests.
I do not take this situation lightly though and do appreciate the chance to reflect on key focus areas and priorities. This morning, our senior team discussed that very do we slow down and make sure we address our key priorities, ensuring that we move forward and involve the key people to implement any changes with more success. It led to a deeper discussion about shared leadership vs. one person making all the decisions. Sue C., a former boss of mine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago once put it well with our team around her. She said, "most of our decisions could and will be made through our shared and collaborative leadership. There will be times that a final decision needs to be made and I realize that I sit in that seat." I really enjoyed that lesson of collaboration balanced with accountability. To have this balance, it is important to involve key stakeholders and also identify who "sits in that final decision seat."
Oh, and did you know (according to the world wide web) many famous people have had Bell's Palsy including George Clooney. Perhaps the healthcare bloggers could start choosing those actors/actresses who will play us in the future movie entitled, The Impact of Blogging on Healthcare Reform.
I look forward to hearing from you.

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