One of the lessons I learned over time is that my role as a case manager is to work myself out of a job by educating and empowering my patients to advocate for themselves. Doing this reinforces that when people have the tools they need, they are resilient and able to move forward despite their challenges.

Over the past few weeks, I have watched my patient Troy advocate for himself and work hard to live the life he wants.

We have worked together over the past two years to fight for what he needs to live as a quadriplegic. As his advocate, I always had him on the phone when I called anyone on his behalf. After the initial introduction, I would let him tell his story and explain why he needed what he was asking for and how it would help him. It was not always easy. Many times we saw firsthand just how broken the healthcare system was. But by working together and helping him stand up to ‘the system,’ he learned he has a voice, and by using his voice, he could get the resources he needed or meet his needs.

He used his voice to negotiate, be assertive, and advocate for himself and ask questions so he understands things regarding his care.

He knows his life will never be what it was before he became a quadriplegia, but he is not giving up and has plans to be the best he can be. His life is not easy, but taking back control of his life is giving him the confidence he needs to move forward.

I learned a lot from him, also. I learned that despite a disability, you can live a life. I learned not to settle for no – but to have patience, look for resources in unsuspecting places, and stay positive, and never give up on yourself.

I am grateful to have met him and proud to watch him grow. I wish him all the best!

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