Advocacy is hard sometimes.

You know, if getting the job done were easy, we would not need advocates.

I find myself in difficult situations sometimes. I assure someone I will help them. I warn them I do not know how to solve the problem, but we will figure something out. At that point it is time to start going through the list of people I know, reading up on whatever the problem is, and basically banging my head into the wall.

These experiences turn me into every case manager and social worker’s nightmare. Here I am muddling in their affairs, promising people things we have no way to obtain, and in general expecting all the stars to align in my patient’s favor. Oh, I assure you I am not a miracle worker. I try to set up the expectation I will fail.

And I do. I fail many times. I am forced to humble myself and repeatedly explain to people I have no idea what I am doing.

It is not a big deal to help someone with something you are an expert in, that is typically just finding the need. Now, try to help someone with something you never even knew could be a problem. You don’t even know you don’t know.

So, I start asking questions. People become exasperated when they give me an answer and I deem it the wrong answer. That did not solve my problem. So, next solution. Will the next step please stand up? Admit it, Slim Shady just popped into your head. I pester people until they finally breakdown and start contacting their super magic resources. Still no luck? Okay, let’s keep bugging people until someone finds someone who knows a possible solution.

I do not mean to indicate I deserve credit for any of the out of the box solutions people help me come up with. If we are being honest, my role is to act like a two-year old and continue to pester with “Why?” Why can’t we try this solution? Why won’t they let us do this? Well, the way I want to do things makes the most sense. What do you mean it is illegal? Oh….. okay. How about this? No? Why? Why can’t we try? Fine. This goes on and on.

Now for the best part. After I have pestered someone all day without a good solution, I make them explain everything again. I plead. I cajole. I ask them to throw me under the bus if it will help get the information we need. Please, tell this person the stupid nurse practitioner you work with has messed everything up, and could they please help you understand the process so you can supervise the stupid nurse practitioner complete the task. You would be amazed at how well that works. 

See, if these problems were easy to solve people would not tell me about their issue. If there was already an easy solution one of the other people they had gone to for help would have just taken care of it. Instead, the other people know the difficulty in finding a solution, and they just can’t do it. They may not know anything about it. Maybe they just don’t want to.

Why can’t I do that? Because when I need help with something big for my family, I hope I can find someone who says “I don’t know how to fix this, but we will figure it out.”

**** If you are a case manager, social worker, supervisor, physician, friend, or just someone I call to beg for help… Thank you. I could not have helped without you. You are really the one who worked magic. I just acted as a voice. I suppose that happens when you are an obnoxious loud mouth. You are the best.

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