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Poem: "Where You Begin to Heal" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Where You Begin to Heal"
This is spillover from the January 2, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from DW users Technoshaman and Gingicat.  It also fills the "rites of passage / coming of age" square in my 1-3-18 card for the Trope Bingo fest.  This poem is being sponsored by Technoshaman in installments.  It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  It features anxiety, foster care (which is actually going well), sex/gender issues, intimate medical matters, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


Where You Begin to Heal


Riley fidgeted as thon rode alongside
Dr. G. After thon's experiences, doctors
scared thon, and thon had never met a healer.

"Nervous?" Dr. G asked, turning a corner.

"Yeah," Riley admitted. "I'm really not
looking forward to today's appointments."

"That's natural," Dr. G said. "How
are you doing in your new home?"

"Pretty good," Riley said. "Some of
my foster siblings are fun, and I like
the houseparents. Torin took me out
shopping. We got that capsule wardrobe
in blue, plus I got to pick out some extras."

"I thought so," Dr. G said. "You look nice.
How do your new clothes suit you?"

Riley wore a dark blue t-shirt and jeans
under a gray argyle vest scattered with
diamonds of navy, turquoise, and burgundy.

Thon liked the way that the mixed colors
hinted at more than just boy clothes.

At least nothing said "dude" anymore.

"Better than before," Riley said,
smoothing hands down thon's vest.
"I even found a tie-dye shirt that's black
down one side, pastels on the other, and
it says Broken Promises. I like to think of it
as showing the past and the future both."

"That sounds very colorful," Dr. G said.
"I bet it brings out the tones in your hair."

"That's what Ellen told me when I
came home with that one," Riley said.
"I'm still confused about how I feel, though."

"Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn
new things. Be broken, it’s where you begin
to heal. Be frustrated, it’s where you start
to make more authentic decisions. Be sad,
because if we are brave enough we can hear
our heart’s wisdom through it," said Dr. G.

"That's me all right, feeling everything at once,"
Riley said. "I don't know what  I am anymore.
It just makes me want to curl up and hide."

"Be whatever you are right now," Dr. G said.
"No more hiding. You are worthy, always."

That warmed the cold spot in Riley's chest
left over from thon's birth father ignoring
everything that thon said to him.

Sometimes, listening to Dr. G was
like magic; it made Riley feel better
even if it didn't change anything.

"Guess I'll figure it out," Riley said.

"Of course you will, and you have help,"
Dr. G assured thon. "I'm not just here for
today, I'm with you for the long haul."

"You don't think my houseparents will
mind that I didn't pick one of them for this?"
Riley said. The thought itched at thon.

"I'm sure," Dr. G said. "Like you told them,
you don't know each other well yet, and
you've known me a little longer. I'm happy
to provide support during appointments."

"Thanks," Riley said. Thon was trying
really hard not to cling, or cry, or worse.

"And here we are," Dr. G said, pulling into
the parking lot of an elegant brick building
with real terra-cotta tiles on the roof.

Riley's stomach flipped over as they
climbed out of the car. "Yippee."

Thon tried the shielding exercises
in hopes of keeping thon's mind private
and ignoring everyone else's thoughts.

Inside was all dark wood, leather furniture,
and tables covered with new magazines.

"This looks expensive," Riley muttered.

"Don't worry about that," Dr. G said.
"Right now, Family Services is covering
your regular health care and SPOON
is handling the superpowered stuff."

"Better that than where I was going,"
Riley said, flopping onto a couch.
Thon watched as Dr. G stepped up
to the reception window, chatted a bit,
and then came over to join thon.

"Here," Dr. G said, handing Riley
a name-and-pronouns tag from a basket
that set on the ledge of the window.

Riley filled it out. That was already
much better than anything thon had
seen at previous doctors' offices.

When a nurse came to fetch them, Riley
clung to Dr. G all the way to the exam room.
There again they could see little luxuries,
from the wooden cabinets to the chairs
covered in something like velveteen.

Surprisingly, the healer was already
waiting for them, a cheerful young man
in a mint-green polo shirt that Riley
coveted upon first sight.

"Hi, I'm Brett Edgerton and I'd
like to be your healer," he said,
wrapping one hand over the other.

A prior school program allowed Riley
to recognize the Rock-and-Water salute,
which thon returned with shaky hands. "Hi."

"I read your file," Brett said. "It says that
you have abdominal cramps due to issues
relating to your intersex condition, right?"

"Yes," Riley said. Thon wasn't used to
anyone actually reading the medical file,
let alone chatting thon up first. Usually they
couldn't wait to get their hands on thon.
"They're getting worse over time."

"Hop up here and let's find out
what's going on," Brett said,
patting the exam bed.

Riley climbed onto it,
trying not to panic, and
the thick foam padding
molded itself to thon's butt.

"I can feel you freaking out,"
Brett said. "Are you attached
to all that fear, or would you
like me to turn it off for you?"

"You can do that?" Riley said,
looking at Dr. G for confirmation.

"Yes," Brett said, at the same time
Dr. G said, "Most healers have
some influence over emotions."

"Feelings are just what you get
from the chemicals in your brain
sloshing around, like bubbles
rising in soda," Brett explained.
"Shall I turn it off, then?"

"Yes yes yes," Riley said.

"When you're ready, take
my hand," Brett said as he
reached toward thon.

Riley grabbed his hand
as if snatching a life preserver.

A flare of warmth, like walking
through a sunbeam, and then
the cold terror evaporated.

"Wow," Riley said. "If you
could just bottle that ..."

"I'd be rich," Brett said
as he let go of Riley again.
"It's not that simple, though.
I can feel what your body's doing
in real time, and what it needs
in order to calm down. Pills
are static, although they do
help with stable problems."

"Anything that might need
medicinal support?" Dr. G said.

"I won't know that until I can
get a closer look," Brett said.
"Riley, I would like to start with
a basic health check, if that's okay
with you. If you feel too uncomfortable,
just tell me and I'll back right off."

That was new. Without the fear
strangling Riley's brain, though,
thon found it easier to take Brett
on his own terms. "Go ahead."

The healer's hands were warm and
gentle, and Riley leaned into them --
at least until the prodding went
low enough to make him flinch.

"I know, that's a tender spot,"
Brett said, letting go without even
waiting for Riley to say anything.

"Yeah, it's the same on the other side,"
Riley said, pointing out the match.

"That brings us to super part,"
Brett said. "I want to take a look
at what your body's trying to do."

"Look how?" Riley said. Thon had
a lot of unpleasant memories of
doctors indulging their curiosity
at thon's expense, and rarely
with any benefit to Riley.

"Well, there are three levels,"
Brett said. "A passive scan just
reads the energy that your body
gives off naturally. An active scan
uses my superpower to go looking
for things. A deep scan lets me read
all the way down to your genes."

"Wow," Riley said. "That's a lot.
Can we ... do a little at a time?"

"Sure," Brett said. "Tell me when
you're ready and I'll check passive."

"Yeah, do that," Riley said.

Nothing happened except for
Brett waving his hands over Riley,
but after a minute he said, "Well,
your hormones are out of balance
and your abdominal muscles are
going nuts because there's nowhere
for them to push your ovotestes, but
the rest of you is in great health."

Riley sighed. "Pretty much what
we knew already," thon said.

"It's always good to confirm,
though," Dr. G murmured.

"Active scan?" Brett offered,
holding out his hand. "You might
feel this one as a tickle or a hum.
It shouldn't hurt, though."

"Okay," Riley said, and
reached out to touch him.

Brett's power shimmered
in shades of green and gold,
like watching the big aquarium
that Riley had seen at the zoo.

"You're beautiful," Riley said
after Brett backed away. "Inside,
it's like ... sun through water."

"I'm flattered," Brett said. "You
have a lot of scar tissue, but we
knew that already." He traced
the lines over Riley's lap. "I also
have some big news for you."

Riley cringed. "How bad is it?"

"That's up to you," Brett said.
"This news could be good, or bad,
depending how you feel about it."

"Just tell me," Riley said. "With
my luck, it's probably awful."

"You have a uterus," Brett said.

"What?" Riley yelped.
"But I'm not a girl!"

"Okay," Brett said.
"You don't have to be
a girl to have a uterus."

"How did people not notice
this before?" Riley said.

"It may not have been there,
or they weren't looking for it,"
Brett said. "It's there now, and
it's perfectly healthy, not even
tangled up in the scars."

"So not just ovotestes, but
other features of dual sex,"
Dr. G said. "That's interesting."

"I really think we need to do
that deep scan," Brett said.
"Riley, let me push you down
a little farther this time, you're
getting all wound up again.
It'll be easier on both of us."

Well, body horror would
do that to you every time.

Brett had helped before,
though. "Do it," Riley said.

"Lie down first, I don't want
you to fall off the bed," Brett said.
"This should be very relaxing."

So Riley stretched out on
the bed and let Brett put
a hand on thon's forehead.

And then Riley melted.

This close, Brett's power felt
like warm water running under
thon's skin in slow waves, and
the healer's mind was a golden sun
through the emerald ripples of energy.

When Riley finally floated back
to awareness and opened thon's eyes,
Brett and Dr. G were chatting quietly
like they'd been doing it for a while.

"How long was I out?" Riley said,
pushing up on one elbow.

"A good ten minutes," Brett said.
"I guess you needed the nap.
How do you feel now?"

A little stoned, but Riley
wasn't about to admit that.

"Better than I did," thon said.
"It reminded me of this time that
I tried a sensory deprivation tank in
therapy -- like I didn't have any edges."

"Pretty cool," Brett said. "Do you
want to hear the rest of what I found?"

"Yeah, now I'm curious," Riley said.

"As best I can tell with your body still
immature, you are a true hermaphrodite,"
Brett said. "Among other things, your uterus
is starting to reach toward the outside."

"You mean I'm, what, growing
a vagina?" Riley exclaimed.

"Something like that," Brett said.
"There may be structural differences,
but the functionality should be similar.
That means don't panic when it opens,
and use birth control if you decide
to have sex with anyone."

"I guess it's a good thing that I
signed up for that SPOON class
on sex ed," Riley said faintly.

"That's why I recommended it,"
Dr. G said. "Superpowers that
touch on sexual characteristics
can have all kinds of surprises.
It's best to be prepared."

"I'm glad somebody thinks
of this stuff," Riley said.

"That's my job," Dr. G said.
Then he turned to Brett. "What
about treating the cramps?"

"Well, the implants definitely
need to come out. That was
a hack job to begin with, and
now they're just in the way,"
Brett said. "Plus there's a lot
of scar tissue to clear away."

"Talk to us about options,"
Dr. G said. "Is this something
you can handle yourself, or do we
really need that appointment with
a genital surgeon later today?"

"I could do all this with healing,
but it would be exhausting for
both of us," Brett said. "It'd be
easier to let the surgeon take out
the implants and at least some of
the scar tissue. Then I can come in
and heal everything so that it works
the way it was originally meant to."

Fortunately Riley was still
too relaxed to freak out over that.

"I still can't believe that I have
girl parts on the inside," thon said.

"You have Riley parts inside,"
Brett said. "They're not exactly
like what girls or boys have, and
that's okay. Think of this like
your coming-of-age adventure."

"Yay rah," Riley drawled.

"It's okay," Dr. G said.
"You don't have to make
any major decisions right now.
We still want to talk to the surgeon
about ordinary reconstructive options."

"By all means, meet with your surgeon --
they have more experience with sculpting
delicate body parts," Brett said. "If you run
some tests, we can compare data."

Riley's mind gave a little twitch
at that, but then mellowed out again.
It really was a lot like magic.

"You're sure I'm not just ...
broken?" Riley whispered.

"A little bit," Brett said, pinching
the air between his fingertips.
"It's all right to be broken, though,
because this is where you begin to heal."

Riley dared to reach out and brush
just the edge of Brett's green-gold energy.

"Okay," Riley said, wanting to believe it.

* * *

Notes:

Torin Roche -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and wavy brown hair.  He serves as a housefather in the St. Elmo Sankofa Home in Santa Cruz, California.  (In the picture, he is hte first adult on the left.)  His outgoing nature and love of crafts make him popular with the children, including Riley Bessonet.
Qualities: Good (+2) Extrovert, Good (+2) Handicrafts, Good (+2) Housefather, Good (+2) Tall, Good (+2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Book-Learning

Brett Edgerton -- He has fair skin, hazel eyes, and short dark hair.  He has minor executive impairment from a head injury sustained in a bus accident, so he uses memory aids to keep track of important things.  It doesn't impair his Healing but does make everyday life a bit challenging.  He makes enough money to hire a personal assistant who also helps keep him on track.  Brett works at the Revision Surgical Center in Santa Cruz, California.
Origin: He gained Super-Immunity from the Aegis vaccine as a child, and that was all for years.  Then in high school, a truck hit his school bus, injuring many people.  He developed Healing, saved a dozen lives, and put himself into an overstrain coma for three months.
Uniform: Casual men's clothes, most often a polo shirt and khakis.  He loves pastels even though they aren't the best match for his coloring.
Qualities: Good (+2) Bedside Manner, Good (+2) Registered Nurse, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Absent-Minded
Powers: Good (+2) Healing, Average (0) Super-Immunity
Motivation: To save what he can.

* * *

"Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn new things. Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal. Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions. Be sad, because if we are brave enough we can hear our heart’s wisdom through it. Be whatever you are right now. No more hiding. You are worthy, always."
-- S.C. Lourie

The Revision Surgical Center in Santa Cruz, California caters to wealthy or otherwise important clients.  The building has beige brick walls and a terra-cotta tile roof.  See the floor plan.  The waiting room has leather chairs and mahogany bookcases.  The consultation rooms have desks and chairs for private conversations.  The dottie is handicap-accessible.  The exam rooms have fine wooden cabinets for supplies, a sink, chairs, and an exam table.  Exam Room #3 is the Minor Procedure Room wtih a treatment chair, carts, and other materials.  The Procedure Room in the upper right corner of the floor plan has more advanced surgical equipment.  Exam Rooms #4 and #5 are the Recovery Rooms which can be divided into smaller rooms or opened up into one larger room, with hospital beds and supportive equipment.  The staff breakroom features mahogany cabinets, a kitchenette, a couch with matching ottoman, a dining table and chairs.

Compare Riley's previous set of boy clothes with thon's new capsule wardrobe of unisex to slightly masculine clothes.  The argyle vest and tie-dye shirt are good examples of accent garment, which liven up the basics.

(Some of these links are explicit and others are heinous.)
Intersex conditions fall between the typical male and female configurations. Some are basically harmless, just unfashionable, while others come with more physical difficulties. Such infants may grow up to identify as masculine, feminine, or nonbinary -- and the portion of nonbinary seems higher than average in this population. Intersex people have high risk of abuse because they are born with traits that bother adults and the infants are defenseless. Among the most common and devastating abuses are concealment and forced sterilization. Advocates recommend a patient-centered approach, using surgery only in cases of immediate medical need until the intersex person can develop and communicate their own wishes. There are ways to cope with being intersex. Parents of intersex children should seek input from older intersex people. Other people can show support as well.

Gender-neutral clothing for children and adults has many benefits . It is more common in Terramagne-America than here, though not always easy to find.

(Some of these issues are controversial.)
Intersex people (like everyone else) may choose masculine or feminine pronouns, or alternative pronouns, depending on their gender identity. However, understand that natural languages have a limited number of pronoun sets -- rarely more than three or four, sometimes only one -- because people struggle with infinite sets. Using a person's preferred pronoun set is polite. Pronoun tags offer a helpful way for people to remember and use diverse pronouns. However, asking people to use a rare set of pronouns is asking them to do extra mental work, which is easy for a few people, challenging for many, and impossible to get right for some. This is one reason why some folks are bailing on the idea of variable pronouns and cutting it down to one generic set for everyone, often "they/them/theirs." And that's one way that a language can evolve into using a single set of personal pronouns.

Waiting makes people cranky.  It's not just boring, it's a disrespectful situation -- the less important people are forced to wait on those whose time is considered more valuable.  Doctors routinely disrespect patients by making them wait, even after the time the appointment should have started.  You can spot the good ones because their office is competent at scheduling and has a wait time of no more than five minutes.  I've even heard of a few that called people in a little early.

Here's a poster and description of the Rock and Water Salute.  These versions describe making a fist with the left hand and covering it with the right.  I learned it the opposite way -- and the last time someone presented it, the men and women were supposed to do it in opposite ways.  So it varies.

Healing is among the more common superpowers, but also among the most popular, so the demand always outweighs the supply.

Telepathy and Empathy, called Telempathy when they occur together, rank among the most common superpowers in Terramagne. There are ways to improve telepathy and strengthen empathy. You can also learn to turn them down. All of this takes practice; most folks don't have much control at first, which makes life challenging.

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Comments
kengr From: kengr Date: January 17th, 2018 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Doctors and waiting is somewhat explainable.

You can't always tell how long a patient will take. If they need extra time, that pushes other appointments out.

You *could* fix that by scheduling extra time between patients. Alas, that usually leaves lots of "wasted" time if things go as planned or take less time than expected. And means that you see fewer people per day per doctor.

So there's no *good* answers.

Me, because I go by bus, I plan to arrive at the clinic half an hour early (which can become 45 minutes if the buses run right).

Fun thing about this is that even though it's a county health clinic (and thus inherently overloaded) I've been seen *early* a number of times. Probably because I was there and a person before me wasn't.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 17th, 2018 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Well ...

>>You can't always tell how long a patient will take. If they need extra time, that pushes other appointments out.

You *could* fix that by scheduling extra time between patients. Alas, that usually leaves lots of "wasted" time if things go as planned or take less time than expected. And means that you see fewer people per day per doctor.<<

That's the explanation they give, but it's bullshit. I know it's bullshit because I have seen a range of performance from execrable to impressive. Now, anyone's schedule can be wrecked on occasion by a fluke, but if their schedule is always a mess then the people making it are incompetent and should be retrained or fired. Some offices deliver excellent timing consistently, therefore it is possible, and failing to do so means they are either unwilling or unable to perform to professional standards.

I can identify a number of factors that influence this performance. For example, the more fluent offices always call before an appointment to make sure you can come, and they may even ask if you have something going on that could affect the timing. I've even had one office call and say that someone else canceled and would I like to come in sooner, which means they're juggling schedule changes live so as to minimize problems. *gold star* Several would say come in X minutes early to fill out certain paperwork. If you are stacking appointments, you absolutely do need firebreaks; the trick is figuring out how many and how long, because that does vary. If you have no firebreaks you are fucked. If you don't courtesy-call, you will logjam more often. If you don't ask what's going on with people, you'll wind up assigning them the wrong amount of time.

Another factor is with people who can't always keep appointments due to having children, a chronic health condition, an unreliable bus system, etc. Often they are simply shut out of care, as more places go to banning people after one cancellation. Again, I have seen much more competent policies -- the best was no fault if you called in, and if you didn't, there was a slowly extending time before you could try to make an appointment. But you could go in at any time and just sit there to see if they could fit you in: that's how they were filling their canceled slots if nobody wanted to move their time. That neatly kept the office from idling, while maintaining some access to care. Win-win.

A growing problem is simultaneously shortening appointments and adding more obligatory things to them. Naturally this makes less time for caregivers and clients to address the concerns they actually have -- which predictably leads to running overtime, which is a point of professional incompetence. If you know how much time something is likely to take, but schedule less, the resulting problems are your fault.

It's never going to be perfect, because staff do get sick and equipment does break and unforeseen urgencies get discovered. But a competent office should run on time most of the time, and when there's a problem, they should promptly notify people with an estimation of the impact so that everyone can adjust their own plans accordingly. Failure to do so is shabby service. That it is becoming the norm does not excuse it.
kengr From: kengr Date: January 17th, 2018 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

Well, they also suffer from the common problem of management not understanding the way averages and statistics work. This affects pretty much every business and government service there is.

They do staffing/appointments based on *average* usage. Thing is, that means that 50% of the time they won't have enough people on duty (or 60% of the time appointments will run long, etc)

There's another statistical measure (t-score? Been too many years since I did statistics) that lets you determine what value in the data includes X% of the data.

If they used that, they could decide "what percentage of the time do we want to be running late/understaffed/whatever".

So if they want to only be understaffed 25% of the time they''d go with the 75% value. For 10% go with the 90% value.

Of course that means that you will also be *over*staffed (or under scheduled or whatever) Y% of the time.

"Average" is easy to understand, but *guarantees* that the customers will be unhappy 50% of the time.

If they taught MBAs/managers about that other statistical test, then they'd realize that they need to balance saving money against keeping customers happy.

They probably realize that there's *some* connection there, but having the math to make it explicit would help.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 17th, 2018 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

>> Well, they also suffer from the common problem of management not understanding the way averages and statistics work. This affects pretty much every business and government service there is. <<

Absolutely. Any time you have people doing things they're not trained for, poor results come out, and it gets rapidly worse if the thing needing to be done is complex such as higher math.

>> They do staffing/appointments based on *average* usage. Thing is, that means that 50% of the time they won't have enough people on duty (or 60% of the time appointments will run long, etc) <<

And that's why they fuck up. People aren't averages, you'll always get behavior clusters. Some are random, but many are predictable: flu season, snow shoveling season, a heat wave, etc. will always cause a surge in health care demand. Smart people plan for that, dumb ones don't. But there are also individual patterns -- some patients run long and others like me scram as fast as possible. Some health conditions are notorious for complications and you just might as well not bother booking those patients in a short time slot. If you double it and they're actually not sick that day, you can let them go early and take one of your will-call patients. Granularity matters if you want to manage your own workload and not piss off your customers.

Once you control all the variables that you can control, you're left with the irreducible minimum of random problems, for which you'll need other solutions -- but it's low enough that most people won't grumble too much about occasional bobbles.

>> There's another statistical measure (t-score? Been too many years since I did statistics) that lets you determine what value in the data includes X% of the data.

If they used that, they could decide "what percentage of the time do we want to be running late/understaffed/whatever". <<

That's incredibly useful. People need to understand that you're never going to get 100% accuracy, because if you aim for "NEVER make people wait more than 5 minutes" then you'll be overstaffed almost all of the time, which causes different problems.

>>So if they want to only be understaffed 25% of the time they''d go with the 75% value. For 10% go with the 90% value.

Of course that means that you will also be *over*staffed (or under scheduled or whatever) Y% of the time.<<

90% is a sweet spot for a lot of statistics. It gets you what you want most of the time, and a 10% miss rate is tolerable for many things. If only 1/10 of appointments required people to wait more than 10 minutes, most people would be thrilled with that because it's a huge improvement over now.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 17th, 2018 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

>> "Average" is easy to understand, but *guarantees* that the customers will be unhappy 50% of the time. <<

And that's exactly what we have. >_< Then people don't understand how that connects to poor interactions.

>> If they taught MBAs/managers about that other statistical test, then they'd realize that they need to balance saving money against keeping customers happy.<<

Because if you keep customers happy, they come back and you make money. If you deliver bad service, they are unhappy and leave if they can -- if not, you are stuck dealing with people who hate you, which makes your job SUCK. In health care, that leads directly to the high rates of stress and suicide. 0_o

>> They probably realize that there's *some* connection there, but having the math to make it explicit would help.<<

Yep. I'm betting the adept offices either have a secretary who took statistics in college and went, "Hey, boss, our scheduling protocol is a mess, can I fix this?" or else hired a statistician to do it. It can be done, people are doing it, and while I can identify a few things they're doing right, I know there must be more under the surface. You probably just put your finger on one of its main engines.

There are a few people here doing related things, and they're doing it by pinning down trackable numbers for their goals. Here's a great article about hospital surge plans that includes observations on positive and negative effects of patient satisfaction on caregiver experiences; e.g. lowering the wait times also lowered the elopement rate.

In Terramagne, this kind of efficiency is the norm and emergency services of all kinds have surge plans. So do most businesses that experience swings in demand high enough to cause problems. The basic steps are the same: when you start running behind, first reallocate personnel already in place. If necessary, move on to activating off-duty personnel who want extra hours, then all off-duty personnel you can reach. Events that exceed your operating capacity require you to call for aid from other organizations. So for instance, if fire department runs out of paramedics at a huge fire, they can tap the police or the hospital, both of whom also stock paramedics; or they can reach out to fire departments in neighboring towns.

For a regular doctor's office, it just means having a pool of people to call in if you're so understaffed that it causes problems. That can be your own private pool if you're big enough, a shared pool of part-timers with other small offices, or your local employment agency. But you have to know your regular demand, your surge thresholds, and where to find those extra hands in order to make that work.

At bare minimum, just fess up and say, "Three of our people are sick today, so we're running 20 minutes behind already. We're sorry for the hassle; let us know if you can wait it our or need to reschedule. Help yourself to a candy bar or gift card from the concrete apologies basket." Because if you tell people the lag time, often one of them will drop because they have to go back to work sooner, and that creates a firebreak.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2018 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

Bookmarking this to send over to some friends currently majoring in, more or less, How To Fix Stuff (they're a formally-enrolled student and a student-peripheral individual at a very unusual small college.)

--alatefeline
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 13th, 2018 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well ...

Yay! That's an awesome major. We need more of that.

Takeaways from this that fit all types of problem:

1) You get what you reward. Make sure you reward the right things, and don't reward what you don't want more of.

2) What you track with intent to improve will usually improve if you work on it. Therefore, make sure you identify goals that you really want, and then find objective ways to measure them.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 22nd, 2018 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Stardreamer here

Thon wasn't used to
anyone actually reading the medical file,
let alone chatting him up first. Usually they
couldn't wait to get their hands on thon.


If "him" refers to Riley, it's a typo. If it refers to Brett, this needs re-wording to make that clear.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 23rd, 2018 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Stardreamer here

Fixed, thanks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 4th, 2018 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

perceptions of healing

I've always perceived my own healing energy as emerald green, and healers wear green in Katherine Kurtz' Deryni books (which I started reading in my mid-teens). Nice to see that echoed here! -- Callibr8
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 4th, 2018 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: perceptions of healing

Healing energy is prevailingly green, although it can manifest in other colors, and not everyone's perception is the same.
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