Well, if nothing else, I'd say my experience in cancer-ville has made me a bit more assertive. I historically tended to be a bit more on the passive side of life and to pick my battles. For example, I was never one to complain in a restaurant or send food back for fear of the "sneeze-burger". If you have ever read the book "Burnt Toast", that was me. I tended to settle for things, never one to make a fuss, especially with people I don't know.
Lately, however, I am learning when it comes to your health, you just can't screw around and wait for someone else to do the right thing. Robert Wood Johnson cannot make an appointment until they receive my medical records from Monmouth, and review the files. So I was sitting here waiting for someone to send my medical records whenever they get around to it and it was not exactly jiving well with me. As such, I've become a bit of a harasser.
Things get lost in the shuffle, even the paper file of a cancer patient. It's ridiculous, but to some employee somewhere, it's just a part of their daily grind. I guess to them, it's not that important. It's just one more item on their to-do list that didn't get done. After leaving several voicemails, I finally reached someone in the medical records department. She told me the release I signed on Monday never made it to her desk, and until she had that, she couldn't send my records. Lovely! So I had her fax me the form for me to sign it again, and urged her to please expedite the file. She was pleasant enough and said she would make it happen. Even if she sneezed on my file, I don't care because I got what I needed out of her. It only took 7 phone calls from me to make it enough of a priority for it happen.
The HR Manager in me struggles with the obvious lackadaisical approach to job performance. So to each of you, I challenge you to think about who your stakeholders are every day, and think about how your to-do list impacts them. Granted, most of yours will not be cancer patients waiting for treatment, but still, they have needs too. Try not to just let your work become so mundane that the job doesn't get done. They pay us for a reason.
When you become a patient, somewhere along the line you realize you have to become your own advocate. You can't wait and expect others to go the extra mile for you. Some will, but you cannot assume. When time is of the essence, and it's your own health being impacted, your sense of urgency gets heightened, and your motivation to act goes through the roof. So harass if you must. It's working for me.
Does it make me a pain in the ass? Maybe, but given the circumstances, I don't particularly care. At least I am still a polite pain in the ass. I harass with a smile.