July 20, 2019 — I haven’t been in my new hometown for very long, but I’ll say with confidence that the emergency department team picked a very San Diego way for me to get acquainted with them — a beachside picnic and a taco bar! On a beautiful Saturday morning, I, along with my wife and three of our children, made our way to Crown Point Park to join the ED’s annual summertime bash. They couldn’t have picked a better spot — I mean, check out our view!

I could get used to this!

After we had some time to chat with members of the team and their families, Kristen Santiago, director of the emergency care center, and Nina Smith, business unit coordinator, rallied the troops for some games. I was the designated guesser for the first, Heads Up, and the team put me to work with ED trivia questions. I nailed my first challenge (the acronym “LWBS” stands for “left without being seen,” a key performance marker in the ED), and got through the other 14 questions (some with a little help from my friends). Some other facts I learned included how many years Rady Children’s ED has been open (26), the number of patients we served last year (96,966) and the total size of the ED staff (140 people). It was a fun and fast-paced way to fill me in on the day-to-day of this hardworking group.

I had a great group helping me out during Heads Up

Next, the party’s attendees were divided into teams for a relay race. It was hilarious watching everyone dash through challenges such as getting a beach ball across the relay course in a number of goofy ways or slowly filling up a cup with water carried from one side of the team lines to the other … and all the more hilarious to join in. My team didn’t take the win, but I had a blast, and it was clear everyone works well together. That bond is so important to managing the ED’s lightning-fast, high-demand environment, and if they can stay united on blazing hot beach sand, they can stay united anywhere!

Finally, it was time for a taco buffet (marked by a beautifully handwritten sign) and a gift exchange, with cookies from me and some new gear from my hosts.

Going for the gold at the team relay

I got a couple of baseball caps, which came in handy right away, and a T-shirt commemorating the ED’s recent 25th anniversary. I also scored a few pairs of sports-themed socks, including my new Gainesville set. Go Gators!

The ED team: Saving lives and excelling in calligraphy

Just a sample of the cool gear I was gifted

With that sendoff, it was time for the Frias family to head home, full of tacos and fun in the sun. Thanks for including us in your party, ED team, and for your creative approach to sharing more about all you do to help our community’s families through some scary emergency situations.