In HR, we talk about ‘Champions’ a lot. We talk about needing Champions for Recognition, for Diversity, for Change…people who are leaders, big picture thinkers, are dedicated to the cause, are not afraid to use their voice and will perform to high standards. Someone with ideas, passion and committment. There are champions in sport, health, environment, community – I am sure you can name a few.
I was referred to my Champion of Pain Management (for lack of another term) almost 10 years ago, and we’ve been together ever since. He is relentless on finding a solution, a fix, a cause…or being a source of hope. Although he is a trusted leader, he doesn’t hesitate to refer to others when puzzled. He is a respected mentor, coach and teacher. I have heard the many stories.
At first, I felt I wasn’t doing my part in my relationship with my Champion. Perhaps I was naive, scared, intimidated, but, because of my natural curiosity, I started to read how to make the connection better. Plus, I wanted to find some way to demonstrate my appreciation for his time and work. (Words just don’t cut it).
So, I put myself in the driver seat and took my role more seriously:
- openness/honesty: yep, that took time to get there, but it’s hard to solve a problem with only 1/2 the info (besides – he could always figure me out)
- follow the plan, not some version of it: making up your own rules or using another approach never did go so well 🙁
- communicate: remembering that little notebook of things that were said and things to share, info on meds, etc.
- be prepared: what is new since last time? how is it going? any changes? I often need to think through my appointment ahead of time.
- bring someone with you: I still struggle with this one personally (that’s a whole other blog), but it can assist with communication and information capture – plus emotional support.
**ask questions, ask questions, ask questions – about everything – I learned that Doctors need and want you to be involved in your care and its through your story they are best equipped to do their jobs.
A recent visit sparked this blog as I found myself once again feeling grateful to have him in my corner. But I can’t talk about this Champion without also sharing my gratitude to the many other leaders, researchers and health care practitioners, all Champions too, that have provided guidance and support along my journey.
As fortunate as I may be, I recognize that so very many continue to struggle to find their own Champion/leaders/partners/voices. Everyday the paper, tv news or social media is filled with heartbreaking stories of cries and pleas for help and resources; people looking for many levels and different kinds of care. I remain ever hopeful for some creative solutions by all those impacted.