Guiding the sick through the system …

kv

My friend Karen Vogel just published a piece called “The Accidental Advocate.” It starts:

Like many patient advocates, personal experience transformed me into a new career. I was prepared and motivated. I had a professional network and confidence that I was smart enough to figure it out as I went along. What I didn’t include in my business plan was ironic shock.

One of my champions was my neighbor Laura, who lived next to me for 20 years. For a while she listened to me whining about my work in health insurance management, my aging parents, the screwed up healthcare system . . . and challenged me to stop complaining and take action. And so I did. The main impetus was my mother’s death. It forced me to become a long distance caregiver for my father, which turned out to be a wonderful adventure for both of us. I quit my soul-sucking corporate job, went back to school and retrained. I started my own company 3 years ago and worried about finding clients. “No problem,” said Laura, “my aunt Jane is sick and needs someone to figure out her insurance.” Client #1.

Four months into my new occupation, on a Friday evening in April 2016, I got a call that Laura was in an emergency room. She had been struggling with memory issues and a coworker dragged her to the hospital under protest. I rushed over yelling “I’m an advocate! Let me document everything!”

Laura had glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) Grade 4, the worst kind of brain cancer, usually terminal within 18 months. On Sunday morning a surgical team was in place to make sure she got a lemon-sized mass removed from her head. Laura became client #7. …

Read the entire thing.

Here is an interview Karen did last year with Vice News on HBO.

What happens to your social media accounts when you pass away?

This piece is tangentially related, in a way, to my December 30 post below.

Principles of Profanity

What would a theory of foul language look like?” Jonathan Mayhew does some beautiful brainstorming on the topic for you.

FB and Twitter

A close friend of mine noted that Facebook has held us all “hostage.” If we don’t acquiesce to its pernicious commerce, we lose easy contact with our dear friends and fun acquaintances. Facebook used to be utterly delicious. *sighs*

Twitter was a great way to stay up to date and share information. It still is, actually. It also enlivens trolls, bots, racists, people who hate women, and the American president. It makes me feel like an accomplice.

I am a communications professor. I would not take lightly absenting myself from these platforms.

[Update, 31 Dec. –> I am vacillating!]

Buffalo Seminary

A very fine school. (I hadn’t realized until my trip last week that Tara Vanderveer, the legendary Stanford women’s basketball coach, attended.) I took this photo on Bird Avenue near Elmwood. (Photoshopped.)

BuffaloSeminary

Finals

It has been slim pickings here at basil.ca the last while. Fall 18 was a very hectic semester. I added a major assignment to my upper-level professional communications classes, and I fit in two significant trips (one to Boston for my son’s wedding, and the other to the Kootenays to take care of my late friend Kat Kosiancic‘s things). I’ll be heading back to Buffalo to visit family and friends over the break and’ll be posting more before and during the trip. But before that: Final exams tomorrow!

& Dad getting ready for the wedding (a rare selfie) …

TuxSelfie