I have been preaching the theme, “Be your own Advocate” to my Summer Intern. I use this for business so he will network and feel like he has gotten the most out of this summer.
I’ve also said it when discussing my very frustrating running injury.
The universe has decided that today is the day it is going to drill this lesson in my head.
I am in Grad School and I really like my program. However, I chose this program both for what it offered and its convenience. The local community college in my area offers a University Center where accredited colleges from all over can offer degrees to those who live here so they don’t have to commute. I am in one of those programs. However, the last two terms they have not offered any courses I have not taken. Luckily, last term I was able to find an online equivalent for my classes. I was not so lucky for Fall 2014.
Not only did they not offer anything at the local campus or online, but they also didn’t have anything new at the next closest campus 20 miles away. (I live in Southern California, these are “LA Traffic” miles so we're talking a 45 minute drive).
The only place I could go was 34 miles into downtown LA.
Once I resolved myself to the course I would have to take, got ready to go to my boss with some difficult decisions about in and out times and stopped breathing like a dragon, I emailed my advisor. I let her know that I knew this was not her doing, but I was very frustrated and would like to know who I could send those frustrations to. I told her I understood that these changes would not come immediately, but I hoped my feedback would make the “powers that be” a bit more cognizant in the future as I highly doubt I am the only one with these issues. The courses are not rotating properly and anyone who started around the same time as me, has to be having the same problem.
Within 30 minutes she replied that she had spoken to her boss and they had chosen to change out one of the courses with a different one. One I actually needed…
I’ve had to be my own health advocate the last few months. You may or may not know about my hamstring struggles. We all know our health care system is a maze of messes and my insurance is no exception. These are the steps I took to get a diagnosis:
- Make appointment with doctor 3 months out
- . Have work call a meeting the same time, try to re-book doctor, get pushed another month, choose to go to Nurse Practitioner
- Tell her about hamstring injury, get referred to PT
- 2 weeks later finally get PT appointment, have to leave work early because PTs hours are exactly the same as work hours, have Therapist tell you that you have the absolute wrong body for running and that this first appointment –the consultation- counts as one of your 6 visits
- Go to your next 5 visits, put in the work, have nothing change, get recommended for 6 more
- Go to the next 6, have nothing change, email doctor in a panic, get doctor appointment
- Doctor refers to Ortho, takes two more weeks to get Ortho appointment, no more PT for now because you’re out of visits.
- FRIDAY 6/27: Finally get into Ortho, they request MRI
- WEDNESDAY 7/9: Never get MRI referral, email (and in the email write that you will email every day until you get your MRI) get MRI appointment that day
- LAST FRIDAY 7/11: Two days later have Physician’s Assistant read MRI and tell you that you’ll need Cortisone Shots and you could probably run as little as 10 days post shot
- TODAY 7/14: Get a call two days later to come in for a consultation about the glorious shot
- Orthopedic Specialist Doc tells you that the shot is a bad idea. It’s too controversial and if it gets messed up even a little, you may need surgery. Recommends 8 more weeks of specific physical therapy.
- 13. Wait for PT referral…
I’m so terrified they’re going to send me to the same PT as before that I started googling all of the PTs on the list outside of my network and sent the Orthopedist an email with this fear and my video from the LA Marathon so she wouldn’t forget me. I told her that I was going to find the absolute best person on this list and hopefully she could back me up and get me in.
That brings me to the last thing. I may not run for a long time, but my dream is to get back at it. I want to run…far and fast.
Runner’s World Magazine is doing a contest to be on their cover and I want that dream too!
Won’t you take a moment, click this link and vote for me each day until August 15th. I would love to be in the Top 20 and right now I’m about 100 votes from there.
You can visit http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/438/4hvtuhep73e4om2e26k0j10qk0 to help me make this dream come true!
If I learned anything at all today it is how important it is to advocate for yourself. Rules are in place for a reason, but when dealing with your education or your body, use every power at your disposal to get what you need for a better future.