I imagine most people are like me and have a lot of things they’d like to do if they could find the time and energy for them. Lately writing has been one of those things for me. I suppose we all have our priorities. Traveling for tech events and coaching the kids’ soccer team can make it seem like there’s no time to write, and then something legitimately disruptive happens like one of your kids landing in the hospital.
I recently read Designing Delivery with a group of folks as the inaugural title for our devOps book club. In the book Jeff Sussna discusses delivering quality experiences to your customers as early and often as possible. Most people have been exhausted from traveling at some point in their lives. Many examples from the book talk about this shared experience. This allows us to empathize with a specific type of pain many airline and hotel customers are trying to manage while going about their business.
Early engagement that sets expectations can make a huge difference. By providing realistic travel times that account for things like seasonal roadwork airlines are more likely to have their customers arrive on time and in a good mood. A hotel that knows they’re dealing with jet lagged, travel worn customers would be well served to have fresh coffee, water, and fruit for them when they arrive if not a drink at the bar.
You can probably empathize with being travel worn if not jet lagged, but I doubt you understand the level of exhaustion and confusion that comes with having one of your children hospitalized in an emergency situation unless you’ve been there. Hospitals and hotels have a lot in common. One luxury a hospital doesn’t always have is setting expectations for the patients and families. In an emergency you could have less than an hour’s notice before the hospital makes its first impression. How do you make someone comfortable and help them relax when they’re quite reasonably stressed out and concerned?
My twins were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) before they were born. The illness required an emergency trip to Women and Infants Hospital in Rhode Island on short notice. Providence is a sixteen hour drive from Atlanta. Given I was still in college we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house which are around for families that have a sick child in a hospital away from home.
A trip to an emergency room for a broken arm is one thing. Not knowing if or when your child is coming home is something else entirely. There were kids getting picked up by buses for school and parents that left for work while other members of their family where in the hospital or back home in another city. I’m thankful our stay was short and relatively uneventful. Women and Infants is an amazing hospital and the Ronald McDonald house really made us feel at home.
My twins have had their lives saved at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta a total of three times since then. One was hospitalized with cardiac issues immediately after she was born and had a balloon catheter procedure done at Egleston. Both have been in intensive care at Scottish Rite for respiratory issues which includes a visit within the past sixty days.
CookieOps was something I started with them over a year ago to try to raise money for these organizations. My girls sold me on the idea by telling me, “There are sick kids that still can’t go home and play with their brothers and sisters and we need to help them”. What started out as a bake sale turned into a model for approaching problems with a devOps perspective. For us that means embracing the Three Ways and following the CALMS model (Which is CAMS with an ‘L’ for Lean/Learning). We believe that every process has an artifact and there’s room to optimize both of them. It’s this type of thinking that leads to putting a mint on a pillow and understanding the cost involved far outweighs the related expenses. It’s often the little things we find delightful that make us loyal customers for life.
Like leaving cards near the elevators to help you remember where you parked coming in from the deck to find your child. I’ve wander around in a daze looking for my car in a hospital parking lot before. They’re big buildings that often have multiple decks. It’s easy to forget where you parked when you’re in a hurry to check on much more important things.
My daughter was really excited to get a postcard in the mail from her nurses after she was feeling better. I’m not sure how much time is spent writing these cards but I’m thankful for it. Extending the hospital’s experience out to when you’re home and things are back to normal is something that should be celebrated and is well worth the cost involved.
I’ve investigated a few ways for my kids to raise money with cookieOps but so far we’ve been giving out cookies for survey responses. Publishing the data from those surveys is another thing I’d like to make a priority but haven’t had the time to complete. As raising money for the hospital was always our primary goal when we first started putting surveys out I had little choice but to do so as efficiently as possible when the opportunity presented itself.
Brawl for a Cause allows regular people to raise money for causes they believe in by stepping into a boxing ring for their first amateur boxing match. A big difference between a road weary traveler and a family with a child in the hospital is the traveler usually signed up for the ass kicking. The hospitals are dealing with families that would have been fine without ever visiting, and the kids definitely didn’t sign up to fight with their illnesses.
So I’m glad to step in the ring on November 25th, fight for the sick kids that can’t go home yet, and make good on the promise I made to my daughters. My opponent is boxing to raise money for his daughter’s college education. While I believe everyone deserves the right to an education I also believe they need to live long enough to make it through school. There are opportunities to take your education into your own hands through programs like Kahn Academy. The kids in the hospitals lives are in the hands of the doctors and nurses watching over them. Those kids didn’t sign up for the ass kicking they’re taking, but I’m willing to risk a beating if it can help Children’s successfully ease a family through such a difficult time.
If you’re in Atlanta we’re boxing at the Hyatt Regency in Buckhead on the 25th. tickets are on sale now. You can donate to support these causes no matter where you live. I’ll take the punches but I need You to make a donation today.