Let's just start by getting it out there. I had to have a medical procedure this week that involves a scope up my hind end. Okay, I said I'm going to get it out there. It was time for a colonoscopy.
First things first, the nurse called me day before yesterday to remind me to begin my prep. Remind me? I've thought of little else besides the idea of drinking the most vile fluid next to ingesting your own urine (and I haven't ever tried that so I hate to make blanket statements like this). "Yes I have everything I need", I told her. "Remember, you can eat orange popsicles if you want", she chirped happily. "Yea!!" I said in my best optimistic, perky voice (the next day, I would be clawing for those orange popsicles like I was just given a food box on Survivor).
Not to be outdone, the hospital called and asked if I knew where to go the morning of the procedure. "Hmmm....I haven't been there before, so..." She helpfully described, "Turn on Innovation Parkway and then go way to the backside...." Whoa Nelly!! That's what the doctor is about to do. Choice of words, please? After all, you have options. "Take the 3rd left and you'll be at the rear..." No, that wouldn't help either. Go on......
Yesterday was prep day. You know the day where you get to eat all the soup you want (without the noodles, veggies, or any of the good stuff of course), but it turns out, who has time because I wasn't out of the bathroom for many minutes of said prep day. Having Labrador Retrievers is adorable as they want to be with you every minute. They are fully supportive about all the restroom trips and come and sit in the doorway to protect me from anyone who might come to steal me while I'm on the TOILET!! But after the 25th trip (not exaggerating), even they grew tired of the trip and simply lay in the sun and sighed. Some protection. After a while, I began to wonder, "Why don't I just pour this diet coke I was drinking straight into the toilet bowl? It will be there in such a short while anyway."
I shouldn't complain. After completing my prep early, I actually got a pretty good night's sleep last night with little (ahem) interruption.
This morning, Dave took me to check in at the outpatient surgery section (at the rear.....) to meet Dr. Butler (not gonna lie to you---Dave and I giggled like 4-year olds when we met our gastroenterologist for the first time and had to put extra emphasis on the first syllable of his name). When I checked in, the admin gal asked to see my insurance card, form of payment (don't even want to think about how much I have to pay to have someone go up my backside. It's wrong on every level), and........wait for it........my picture I.D. Couldn't help it. I had to ask, "How many people have you had try to sneak in trying to disguise themselves as someone getting a colonoscopy?" She chuckled but I'm sure she's heard it all before.
Getting the IV in was a bit trying......maybe on account of all the liquid that was dehydrated from my entire body over the last 36 hours....but I digress. "Wow, you have little veins" did very little to make me feel petite and pretty but made me a bit ill. Once the IV was in, Dave charmed my nurses, I charmed my anesthesiologist (I wanted to have a great sleep, of course), and the rest of the experience was pure bliss, including the surgical nurse who said to me right before I went under, "You have the most beautiful blue eyes". Oh crum, I thought as great drugs were put in my IV> The picture ID didn't work. They must be about to do the procedure on someone else because I don't have blue eyes!!
Best sleep ever!
But just for today, perhaps we should think about what words we say and the effect they have on others.
I found out I would be traveling to Northeast Arizona to teach for three days. My first thought was, "What is in NE Arizona?" I know Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, then......what is next? I wondered. Does anyone actually live up there? "Yes, you'll be working with the Navajo nation. Or maybe it will be the Hopi nation", I was told. "Ummmm....are they the same group?" I asked. No one really had more to tell me.
But here's what I found out when I googled info:
*I couldn't fly up there. I would need to drive and it would be about a 4 - 5 hour drive.
*I couldn't find a Hilton anywhere near First Mesa, where I would be teaching. What?! But I just reached Diamond status with Hilton. Where will I stay?
*Winslow, AZ is about an hour from there and they have hotels, albeit no Hiltons.
*But WAIT!!! Winslow has a Sonic----I feel like I'm back in the Motherland.
*I would be teaching Hopi and Navajo folks ("but what do I do so I don't offend anyone? I know NOTHING about their culture." I wondered)
The drive up here was gorgeous. I traversed through multiple topographies----from desert filled with cacti through the red rocks of Sedona (have you experienced a Vortex? Yeah, me neither) through the pine trees of Flagstaff, then east to the mesas and plateaus of Northeast Arizona. Then I entered Winslow, where I did the obligatory stand on the corner and walked along Route 66, getting my kicks through eating some mighty delicious Mexican food. My hotel was a lovely hacienda filled with antiques, artwork and special, unique rooms with big bathtubs. :)
The drive to First Mesa (past Second Mesa and yes, there is a 3rd Mesa, I asked) was a little over an hour and serene and it filled me with a sense of peace I don't often get in a big city. When I got to the elementary school, I met Sahmie, the elementary principal who was hosting our training. Sahmie is Hopi and I quickly realized we had much in common, particularly a love and passion for education. She is an advocate for community and wants to eliminate social injustice. I was there to teach them but I must admit I have learned more than I could ever teach them. Lindsay is Navajo and teaches 4th/5th grade and is introspective and extremely thoughtful.
I have learned:
*Verizon cell service is non-existent in northeast Arizona but not hearing the ding telling me I have new mail is really okay sometimes.
*A passion for student achievement and best teacher practices is universal, surpassing all ethnic and cultural boundaries.
*the Hopi and the Navajo have clans and I know a bit more about their culture than I knew last week (and I know enough to know I will never know everything there is to know about their nations)
*I love meeting new people and hearing about their love for education
*I am blessed beyond measure.
Such a great weekend in San Antonio for our 25th reunion at Trinity University. Four of us did Ted talks (10 minute talks on subjects of interest). What I found incredibly interesting was the common theme that ran through the talks and through the weekend in general.
Good communication seems to be in high demand in every professional and personal topic we encounter.
So grateful to be able to spend time with other professionals who value communication and trust.
Just got through watching "Education Nation" on MSNBC, hosted by Brian Williams last weekend. One of the high school teachers from Oakland, CA said, "Teaching is really all about relationships."
I propose that teachers don't need to be friends with their kids, but we need to be willing and able to establish relationships with them. We need to have more conversations about what "building relationships" looks like and what it sounds like. I love being a part of this conversation all over the country.
Just for today, perhaps we can focus on how much value we find in building and keeping good communication and trust.
If you know of a district who would like a keynote or workshop on building communication, trust and relationships in their school, have them check out my weebly page or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When I worked as principal at an elementary school, I used to remind our staff (and myself) that we need to be certain we keep private conversations private. In other words, when the secretaries and I had to discuss a student or a parent in the front office, we had to be so cautious about what we said and how loud we said it because inevitably, while we were speaking, anyone could walk right in to the front office, hearing everything we said.
On another communication note, however, it is also important to remember to check over what we type before pressing send. How cool was it when we found the app for voice-to-text? Mine works like a charm, for texts or emails, and I use it all the time, particularly while I am on the go-----in a car while a NYC driver is driving me to the airport at breakneck speed, only to slam on his brakes before he plows into the car in front of us. Oh wait....this post is not about the stress of getting to the airport in rush hour traffic in NYC. It's about voice-to-text. I digress......
The gal who schedules trainings for us had emailed me about a training and I was emailing her back saying, "Maybe I should do the one in Phoenix, since it is closer to my home in Tucson than the training scheduled at the same time in NYC." I then went on to talk about how I would have had experience with a Native American group and would therefore feel comfortable doing the next Native American group, should she need me to do it.
What I said was "I would be happy to do that one instead of NY since I will have just had experience with the other one so recently." What the hard of hearing voice-to-text app heard was, "I would be happy to do that one instead of NY since I will have just had sex with the other one so recently." WHAT?????
Luckily (oh-so-luckily, I might add), even while the car in which I was riding was about so slam into the car in front of us on the George Washington Bridge, I had the foresight to glance down just in time before pressing SEND.
"Not SEX! Experience!" I shouted into the phone.
"Excuse me?" the driver asked, swerving slightly on the insanity that is NYC traffic.
"No, no, no......never mind", I told him as I saw obedient voice-to-text type in "No, no, no never mind" on my screen.
Great, I thought. It translates incorrectly what I need put into the phone but translates impeccably what I do NOT want it to record.
Proof positive that we need to check our work and watch our language in all we say verbally as well as in email and text.
Just for today, take a moment to check over your emails and texts before pressing send. It will save you heartache, I promise.