Today, by the way, is my first day back at school. And, as often, I am feeling unprepared (thus my keying in on the the word “preparation”) physically, mentally, and perhaps most of all, emotionally. I have a class this morning that I don’t quite trust. If it’s not immediately fabulous, I plan to go to another section that meets might afterwards. If that one seems better, then I should attend an alternate section of a class I have on Tuesdays, that meets on Monday nights, in case I need to optimize my schedule… so potentially nine hours of class today. I don’t know if my entire way of handling things is good strategizing, or if it’s really a lot of indecision and wheel spinning. Although I have had some grand spelunking classes here at spelunking school, I’ve also had some less grand ones… enough that I don’t feel I can rely on the spelunking administration–as well meaning and hard-working as I truly think they are–to be an advocate for my very best education. They just have too many pressures from too many places, and truthfully, they aren’t in the classrooms.
I was talking to a friend the other day, who was expressing a kind of mortified admiration for my willingness to rock the boat in terms of rule-bending. This is one of the things I learned during my cancer experience. The function of the hospital is to tend to sick people, but the functioning of the hospital, of the entire medical community really, is to keep functioning. It’s not illogical, if they keep functioning, they can keep offering help to sick people. But don’t be confused that this functioning is about making any single individual well. The resources are often there to do that, which is great–but the advocacy is something the individual has to bring to the table herself. Family or friends can fill this roll as well–but it has to be someone who cares more about the state of that individual than about the community as a whole. If handled correctly though, this is not a needs of the many vs. needs of the one situation though. In cases like this, I don’t believe that stretching the boundaries of a bureaucracy is to the detriment of other users-in this case, hospital patients. Rather I think it sets precedents within the bureaucracy allowing it to stretch its boundaries to help other individuals as needed, and at the same time models self-advocacy behavior to others. People who see themselves as individuals rather than statistics, and who realize that they don’t have to adhere to every rule, are in a better position to survive and thrive (according to some stuff I’ve read, not just my own opinion.).
And now I have to leave in 20 minutes and I’m still in my pajamas. See what I mean about lack of preparation?