“The doctor will see you now. Like, RIGHT now.”

We’re having crazy-bad weather in Silicon Valley, which always makes me grateful for Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department – at the ready 24/7/365.

But it’s gotten harder to meet the need, what with fewer hospitals around, and a skyrocketing number of unemployed coming to the “ED” (we don’t call it an “ER” like the TV show) because they just don’t have anywhere else to go.

So, to meet the need, the team opened an “Express Care” clinic across the hallway. It’s there for folks who are sick, but not sick enough to need a bed in the ED. “When you get there,” explains Dr. Jeff Arnold, Chief of the ED, the first person you see, right when you check in at the registration desk, isn’t a clerk or an administrator. It’s a doctor.”

Dr. Arnold has seen this speed up care dramatically. “If the first person you meet is an M.D., they can say things like ‘Okay, I want you to see the attending physician, but while you’re waiting I’ll refill your blood pressure medication'”. Then the doctor does it with a few key strokes, just moments later. The medication can be ready before the patient is ready to leave!

He’s really bothred by the number of newly-uninsured who have to choose between their vital medications and, say, groceries or paying the rent on time. “The advantage of having a doctor see patients right there at the desk extend beyond the obvious,” Dr. Arnold says. “Our patients know that right away, their care has begun. It gives them a feeling of comfort at a time when they are feeling pretty vulnerable and lousy.”

Sometimes, that’s as important as the clinical care VMC provides. If you want to help fund this unique program, visit the VMC Foundation website, or as always, give us a ring any time. To learn more about VMC’s emergency services, click here!

Chris is running? Now I’ve heard everything.

After voluntarily flying in a jet-copter last weekend (I have serious acrophobia), my friends and family are all asking me the same question: “Who are you and what have you done with Chris?”

They conclude I have been replaced by an imposter not just from the whirlybird incident, but also because I’ve been running. No, I’m not being chased, though that was my standard response for decades…until now. I blame my friend James MacGregor, Publisher of the Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal:

JAMES: Maybe you should set some goals around running.
ME: I hate running. It makes me insane with anger.
JAMES: Nah, you just need to train for something!
ME: Fat chance.
JAMES: Tell ya what – if you run the 2009 Turkey Trot, I’ll run it with you.
ME: James, you could run that race TODAY, twice!

…and so on. Sadly, the more James talked, the more sense he made, so I am training to run the 2009 Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. This race is ten kilometers, which is something like 300 miles if my math is correct.

So I started running in August, and guess what? It’s not bad! I’m actually enjoying it, and ready to take on the Turkey Trot. Here’s a thought: Why not run it with me and James? It’s not expensive, so let’s get a VMC Foundation team together…if you’re game, send me an email at echristopher.wilder@hhs.sccgov.org and we’ll join forces.

Here’s the best part: the Turkey Trot raises money for some super organizations, including the Children’s Health Initiative (I serve on their foundation’s board, and their work truly benefits Valley Medical Center’s patients). Let’s start Thanksgiving right, by giving back to our community and doing something good for ourselves too.

Amazing, really. Who am I and what have I done with myself?

The. Best. Party. EVER.

Friends, the VMC Foundation held our annual gala Saturday night, and I know I say this pretty much every year, but this one ROCKED.

If you’ve ever been to one of our events, you know the VMC Foundation will NOT do “chicken dinner at the hotel ballroom”…no offense to hotel ballrooms, or chickens. We find unique venues, like Club Auto Sport, to show off some of the most amazing cars in the world. We find the coolest entertainment, like Earth Circus – “Cirque” style performers who amazed our 450 attendees. I like the photo above, taken by Elisabeth Handler with her cell…blurry but magical.

We serve the finest wine, provided by Burrell School Vineyards. The best food, thanks to Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. The best band, David Dumont’s Li’l Big Band. The slickest auctioneer, attorney Richard Alexander. If you were there, then you know. If not, hey – come next year!

We do all of this for three reasons:

1. Our donors and supporters deserve a great party.
2. The VMC Foundation staff, especailly Gala Diva Judy Cosgrove, will not settle for less.

3. I go attend a zillion events every year, as many of you do…so I want ours to stand out. It did, and I thank everyone who made it happen. Go visit our Facebook page later this week to see the photos!

Dancing With the CARS – September 12!

As I’m sure you know, we here at the VMC Foundation like to have a big, formal, opulent gala every fall…except this one.

Oh – we’ll have a huge party all right, but it won’t be stuffy, or formal. Leave the penguin suit at home and come to the most FUN event of the year: Dancing with the CARS.
Club Auto Sport in San Jose is hosting us, featuring some of the world’s rarest and most amazing cars you’ve ever seen…including my favorite pictured above. Yes, they have a Bugatti there and it’s so pretty my knees get weak.

But even if cars aren’t your thing, we’ll have amazing food by Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (like last year), world-class wine by Burrell School Vineyards (a returning sponsor), fabulous dance music from David DuMont’s Li’l Big Band (back again) and something new: Cirque performers to astound and amaze.

And auction items. And prizes. And race car simulators. Kids will even enjoy this party, and in a shocking show of non-stuffyness, we’ve lowered the ticket price to $149 each – down from previous years, and well worth it for the fun you’ll have.

So make plans, and get your tickets here. There are still some larger sponsorship opportunities as well, which could be beneficial to your organization and to the VMC Foundation. Of course, give us a ring at 408-885-5299 with any detail questions.

Support VMC the easy way…Rock n’ Roll and BBQ!

So, last night’s band practice was totally excellent…I know because my ears are still ringing.

We’re practicing for the upcoming VMC BBQ, put on annually by your public hospital’s award-winning Therapeutic Recreation department. This dedicated crew supports our patients with spinal cord and brain injuries – and their family and friends.

Oh – the band…yes, it’s the famous Idol Hands, in which your humble author plays bass guitar. We do blues, rock, R&B…fronted by our amazing singer Veronica Giles, R.N., we provide live entertainment for all the big VMC events…maybe because we play for free.

Come support VMC’s Rehab Center, National Parks and Recreation Month, and the Idol Hands Band:

Thursday July 9, 11:30 – 1 (ish)
Valley Medical Center’s Rehab Lawn, Bascom at Renova
BBQ, live music, games, prizes and fun
Five Dollars for lunch, rehab patients FREE

This great mid-day, mid-week escape is open to the public…tell a friend or two and come on down!

Celebrate National Nurses Week!

As Valley Medical Center continues to see a larger number of patients every year, it sure is great to know we have a fantastic team of nurses – HAPPY NATIONAL NURSES WEEK!

Here at YOUR public hospital, we’re celebrating today with a nursing education fair, 11am to 4:30pm in our new Valley Specialty Center building, Sobrato Cancer Center Conference Room…come by!

Tomorrow, Thursday May 7, VMC’s Nursing Exellence Awards will be given out in an inspiring ceremony at 1pm – again, Sobrato Concference Room at VSC.

Join me in thanking those who have dedicated their lives to the field of nursing. If you happen to be a nurse reading this, THANK YOU! I’ve been on the receiving end of wonderful nursing care here at VMC, and I sleep better at night knowing you are there for us all.

Join us Wednesday and MAKE HISTORY!

Hot enough for ya?

This week brings weather warm enough to fry an egg…or help save the planet, in the case of Valley Medical Center.

Join us at 2pm this Wednesday, EARTH DAY, on top of our parking deck for a history-making event: We’re activiting our solar panels – 2,288 of them to be exact – and ushering in a new era of efficiency and environmentalism at YOUR public hospital.

Free ice cream, music, VMC Foundation water (in compostable bottles!), and Valley VIP’s including Tom Werner, CEO of Sunpower (they make the solar panels). I know I’ve mentioned this event before, but this will truly be one to tell your grandkids about…

…when they ask you what our generation did to save the earth.

I know I feel pretty darn proud to work for an organization that takes energy conservation seriously. Oh – and it will be FUN, too – hope to see you there!

What’s twenty tons and sticky?

…a big magnet, that’s what. A REALLY big magnet.
This holiday “gift” for VMC’s patients arrived yesterday at the end of this crane, and was oh-so carefully lowered down into our diagnostic imaging center in the main hospital. Heavy work for a rainy Wednesday: The 3T (Tesla) magnet weighs forty-four thousand pounds, and so does the sheilded wall we had to remove from the side of the hospital to load it in.
What this means is that we have a new MRI about to come on line! This ultra-efficient, faster, more accurate machine will provide exceptional anatomic detail…and speaking of detail, don’t ask me to describe the technical aspects of this gizmo. My little brain will overheat.
Instead, be comforted that Valley Medical Center has world-class experts ready to run the new MRI, and as our patient population increases, we need all the speed and efficiency we can get.
And now we do. Happy Holidays, everyone!

VMC Idol rocks Silicon Valley!

Friday night was the third year of VMC Idol, the SCVHHS’s own singing competition…and another great one indeed! Not only does that staff at your public hospital system save lives and protect our health, they can SING!

Congratulations to our winner Ricia Baumgardner for her great version of “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera. Coming in second was Maria Isla and her sassy rendition of La Quinta Estacion’s “El Sol No Regresa”. Our bronze medalists were Melissa Noto and Rick Lee doing “Way Back into Love”…which you can see here!

There are so many people to thank for making this fun-fund raiser possible: Our amazing staff at the VMC Foundation and the staff of VMC’s rehab center, our volunteers, the Heritage Theater in Campbell, the singers who tried out and who competed, and of course our judges Dr. Akshat Shah, Carole Adler and County Supervisor Ken Yeager.

Dr. Steve Harris, VMC’s chair of pediatrics served as emcee, Bob Shea did a great job behind the board, and Luis and Connie captured it all on video and film. Personally, my beer glass it tipped to the Idol Hands Band in which I’m rediculously proud to play bass…great job guys!

A great night…but do I have to drive?

A HUGE thanks to the Silicon Valley Business Travel Association for throwing a super party Friday night: Vino & Vistas, held at the Silver Creek Valley Country Club was a thing to behold! First, the wine was fabulous. Second, the auction items were amazing. Third, and more amazing: David Garibaldi!
That’s him painting John Lennon – while the crowd cheered and The Beatles music played…six minutes later, and he’s done. Astounding.

After auctioning David’s paintings (thanks to all who bid), the Grand Finale of the evening: Pulling the winning raffle ticket for the Model A Shay. Trouble was, the winner was NOT in the room, which of course meant someone had to drive the 1929-replica car back to its covered garage.

You guessed it. Me!

Fun? Sure, but challenging: No insturment panel lights in an antique car, and with the windsreen coming up to my neck, hearing the engine was tough. I shifted gears using guesswork and vibration…all the time glad that Valley Medical Center was nearby, with it’s top trauma team at the ready.

I’m kidding – sort of. Seriously, THANKS to all the volunteers, our staff, and all who made VINO & VISTAS 2008 a huge success!