Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Ball-Busting, Bad-Ass, Pitbull

A mildly disturbing story.


At work, most of my patients are overwhelmed by some type of billing fiasco or resource application or care coordination. The bad news is two to three months into the process and I’m still on the phone for hours trying to find a resolution and refusing to accept, “That’s our policy.” “The department you want does not take calls.” “Well there is nothing I can do about it.” as an answer.

The good news is, tenacity paid off, sort of, and I found at least partial answers for most of the complaints.

So lately I’ve been getting quite a few, “I would hate doing your job” comments which are generally accompanied by a descriptive name like Pitbull, Ball Buster, Bad Ass, etc. (I find the incongruity of profanity coming from a little old lady pretty amusing.)

Once in a while I also get “How in the world did you end up in this kind of job?”

Well here is the story.


My mom is the queen of advocating for individuals who have no other options. She organized the county system to offer free access to an attorney for low income families and she was the Pro Bono attorney, for the state, for the year. She initiated the building of a battered women’s shelter. She has been a volunteer leader for the League of Women Voters for years and she ran for state office twice.


I figure, as her kid, I could do one of two things, crumble under the pressure to do something as fabulous or assume mom did enough service that I can slide by just claiming to be her relative.  At the gates of heaven, “What have you done with your life?” “That's my mom.”  “Oh, well then please enter.”


She did all of that by consistently refusing to take “No” for an answer.  So (loosely put) the lesson for the Bishop girls was, “Help other people, and you might have to put someone’s nuts in a vice to get that accomplished.”


All of the Bishop Girls (there are five of us) have ended up in a job where tenacity is the key to success.  If it takes months to get something accomplished then clear out the calendar, stock up on diet coke and use the “I’ve got all the time in the world and I’m choosing to spend it on the phone with you” tone of voice.


So here is the disturbing part.  If you think one persistent, demand action, pain in the ass is bothersome; try five of us, all day, every day, because we will run in shifts and won't hesitate to keep calling up the chain of command.

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