Over the holiday weekend – Memorial Day Weekend – I pondered the sacrifices soldiers have made for our country. I expect you did, too.
I’m married to a retired soldier. My husband spent 20 years in the US Air Force during the VietNam War era. I’m so very, very proud of him and his service. Patriotic holidays have a special meaning to us because, well, he lived it. (I was not married to him in those years.) We are grateful to, and honor those who served, including those who lost their lives.
All this pondering, and the tendency of my mind to wander (!), got me thinking about a different form of service, too.
It’s true, that we as advocates and care managers don’t put ourselves in harm’s way. But I do believe we serve our countries in critical ways. (I say “countries,” referring to both the US and Canada.)
We are healthcare soldiers.
Now, to be clear. I have no intent to co-opt the spirit of Memorial Day. This is not a suggestion that our service as advocates is the same as the all-in nature of the service of a military soldier. But I do want to share (and ask you to comment on) my thought process about an advocate’s service.
- We all deserve to be protected from harm, whether it’s political harm or the harm bestowed by a healthcare system that pretends to provide one thing, when too often it falls short, is too expensive, or causes death or debilitation. It requires different kinds of soldiers with different kinds of training to provide that protection. A military soldier helps protect us from harm intended by our political enemies. An advocate or care manager “healthcare soldier” helps to protect us from harm – care or cost – intended or unintended – from the healthcare system.
- A military soldier learns discipline and ethics in order to defend our country. An advocate soldier learns best practices, standards, and ethics in order to serve patients who must be protected from a greedy healthcare system.
- A military soldier defends our rights as Americans or Canadians. An advocate soldier defends our rights as patients.
- When a military soldier keeps our enemies at bay, then we are free to live our lives, to love our loved ones, and to enjoy the freedom that soldier preserves for us. When an advocate soldier keeps the healthcare system fair and honest, then we are free to live our lives, to live an improved quality of life, to love our loved ones, and to enjoy the freedom that military soldier preserved for us.
As far as I know, no advocate has died defending a patient. (Thank heavens!) It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever need any sort of “Memorial Day” on the calendars of the future to honor fallen advocates.
But in a different way, I am most definitely grateful for the perseverance, skills, and abilities of advocate-soldiers – those of you reading this post – just as I am our military soldiers.
So, for your service, I thank you. God bless all soldiers – military and otherwise.
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