I went on a trip from February 27th through March 4th. My director asked me to take her place and go to Kansas to spend the week at Cerner Corp. I hate to fly. This is a vast understatement. It took me hours to give her an answer but I had decided to take her place. My hospital is part of Lafayette General Medical Center and the whole computer system is being overhauled to accommodate the changes in the health care system. We are still pushing paper at my little hospital and I really have been looking forward to computerized charting not only because it will streamline the work that we do but, because of the design, patient care will be positively affected. I still stand firmly against our government having ANYTHING to do with my medical records but recognize the local need for rapid transfer of information. That being said I went to Kansas for classes.
The Flight Coming and Going
I flew with several co-workers from each hospital. Denise and I were roommates and managed to sit beside each other on the flight going. We had two 1 and 1/2 hour legs, the first to Dallas then on to Kansas. Dear God in heaven. The SEATS. Okay I am not stupid and I realize that my butt has increased over the years but I don't need a seat belt. I just have to cram my ass into the chair and the overflow that squeezes though the armrest more that amply secures me to the seat. I sat on my seat belt when I first got on board and like to NEVER found it. As soon as we got in the air I raised the arm rest between Denise and me and sort of flowed over onto her side. She was very gracious about the whole thing. Coming back on the last leg of the trip I sat in the single seats on the left side of the plane( I prefer to call them "seatlettes" sort of junior seats for junior size butts)Prior to getting on they announced that our bathroom didn't work and apparently they didn't have another plane in the whole fleet of American Airlines that they could substitute. That's okay. What they did though was announce repeatedly that the bathroom did not work and that we would have to go to the john prior to leaving. What happens when you know that you can't go to the bathroom for a period of time... like in a traffic jam, on a stuck elevator, first in line at the Wallmart Black Friday Sale OR in an airplane without a toilet. YOU HAVE TO PEE. It doesn't matter that 5 minutes before the flight you have urinated, the minute the doors slam shut you just got to GO. To make matters worse my seat beltlette cut into my bladder the the ride was a little rough.
The Hotel and Being Roommates
As stated before I roomed with Denise. Similar to me she doesn't like anyone to come in the room while we were gone so we opted out each day for housekeeping. We were just a little messy(paaaahaaaaa). I didn't realize just how messy we were till we saw Kathleen's room. It was spotless, nothing out of place.. looked like she had just come in. She was by herself for 2 days... if that had been me I would have been all over that room like a bad rash..... I would have pillows, clothes, computer, books etc all over the place. I have known Denise for 10 years but I have never pooped in her vicinity. And since my poop doesn't smell like roses I had a problem. I would bet that anyone reading this who had to room with someone other than a relative had the same issues. To make it worse when I travel I tend towards constipation so I take ducolax with me to handle the issue. To poo or not to poo. A way to deal with this is the "garlic" method. You know when you go out to eat with a boyfriend and you want to eat garlic?? You make him eat garlic too so that he won't gag when he kisses you goodnight. What you have to do is convince the person you are rooming with that they are constipated as well!!!! Then you can bond over ducolax pill. It really worked... by the end of the trip we were farting in front of each other!!!!(Denise is just going to kill me for telling that)
Eating and the Per Diem
30 bucks a day really is plenty to eat on. You cannot go to beer gardens, Jack Stax BBQ for ribs, Houston's Steak House and the Cheese Cake Factory, order room service every day for breakfast and stay within the budget. I went over my per diem by about 130 bucks. I just had an AHA moment. There is a definite correlation between the way I eat and the size of the plane seatlettes. Anyway, we ate well and often. To those of you that have a Cheese Cake Factory in your town let me HIGHLY recommend the Shepard's Pie. OMG!OMG!OMG!. I have never been in a Cheesecake Factory restaurant so I don't know if they are are constructed the same but in Kansas City the bathroom is on the second floor. You can walk up the stairs in the middle of the restaurant or you can take the elevator. Just a suggestion: Get rid of the mirrors in the elevator or cut them off at waist level. I got on and was assaulted by different views of my butt. Even closing one eye didn't make it smaller. I still ate the cheese cake.
All I can say is WOW. Cerner rocks. I am a technotard and was lost the first 2 days but claim victory because on the third day I started to understand. This is an amazing facility that included several buildings over some of the prettiest acreage I have seen. The people are dedicated to helping you understand and working on a solution that best meets your company's needs. Just a little suggestion. Chair lift to the cafeteria. From our building you have to walk up a hill to the cafeteria or you can take the outdoor stairs. I made it the first day... my heart rate was 148(not kidding) when I got to the top. I should have done it every day. I really did enjoy myself and I am looking forward to seeing this huge project take shape.
I so enjoyed meeting people that I had only talked with on the phone. There are some funny people at the main hospital and I laughed more this week than I had in a long time. My big concern was my clothes but I held up my end of the business casual dress code. Thanks to everyone for answering questions when I asked, and thanks to whoever put this together.. the logistics must have been a nightmare. Big thanks to Denise. You are an awesome roommate!!!!!!