THE GOOD LORD WILLING AND THE CREEK DON’T RISE

Nursing Talk

Dear Cassandra,

Sometimes I don’t feel like going to work. Maybe the Cubs and White Sox are playing. Maybe I stayed up late watching a movie, and I’m tired. Maybe I just don’t want to go to work. Why should I?

—Wants to Stay Home in Chicago

Dear Wants to Stay Home,

Why should you go to work? You don’t have a good excuse for not going! You are not sick. You are not in the hospital. You are not dead. You just don’t feel like going to work.

Say you lived in French Lick, Indiana. French Lick is a small town in the heart of Hoosier National Forest. In the early 1900’s, it was a destination for the wealthy because of the “curative” powers of the mineral spring waters. Two elegant hotels were built to accommodate the visitors. The West Baden Springs Resort, opened in 1902, was proclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world. The French Lick Springs Hotel was a Gilded Age beauty with mosaic floors, faux marble columns, and exquisite paintings on the lobby ceiling.

West Baden Springs Hotel operated until 1932. The stock market crash of 1929 and the shifting patterns of vacationers forced the hotel to close. In 1934, it was sold to a Jesuit order for a dollar and served as a seminary for thirty years. After that, it was sold several times. Over time, it became a ward of the bankruptcy court, and neglect took its toll. In 1992, the building was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The struggling French Lick Springs Hotel had continued to operate since the turn of the century. However, it needed restoration. The elaborate plasterwork on the lobby walls had been covered by blue and white paint. Eight hundred rosette lights had been painted over. The mosaic floor in the lobby needed repair. The rooms needed updating. The Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana stepped in and bought the West Baden Springs Hotel. Bill and Gayle Cook, who made their fortune manufacturing medical devices, invested $382 million in the restoration of the hotels, the building of golf courses, and new spas. The Indiana State Legislature granted an additional casino license, and a casino was attached to the French Lick Springs Hotel. Today French Lick is again a tourist destination.

Now let’s get to the point. French Lick sits at the bottom of huge hills covered with trees. If there is a six inch rain, water rushes down the hills and covers the bridges leading into town. Parking lots are flooded. Businesses like Big Red Liquors, CVS, and Subway survive because the buildings have been built three feet above parking lot level. Customers can’t get into the businesses, but the merchandise stays dry.

If you lived in French Lick and you could not get to work because the streets were flooded and the bridges were covered with water, you would have a good excuse. Alas! You do not live in French Lick.

Besides, you gave your word to go to work that day. Someone is counting on you. So, buck up. Pull yourself out of bed. Put on your clothes, and get out there! You are lucky to have a job. Millions of people would love to be in your shoes.

—Cassandra

Note: First published on American Home Health's news, September 2011.