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Trisha Torrey

Here's Why You Call the Professionals

By December 17, 2012

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Last week, Tuesday evening, I headed down to the basement to pull out some Christmas wrapping paper...

Our basement is like so many - just a cement floor, cement walled repository for our "stuff" that we don't use on a regular basis.  Hubby's workbench, old craft tools and supplies, holiday decorations, boxes of old-old family photos, Great Grandma's china and a few other valuables that we just can't find room for in the upstairs.

But unlike most basements this time of year, as I hopped down the stairs, probably humming a Christmas Carol, I was confronted with 2 inches of water across the entire basement floor.  ARGHGH!! It seems the sump pump had quit during the middle of last Monday's all-day driving rain storm, so Mother Nature saw fit to flood our basement while we blissfully stayed upstairs, unaware.

It's a mess.

My husband, who (before we ever even met) had been through this before with 4 feet of water in his basement, was all but in tears. Anger, frustration, fear of having lost important things like old family photos, or the little do-dads our kids had made for us when they were young...

But I don't panic until I know I need to panic.  Instead I called my homeowner's insurance agent, who not only told me we were covered, but gave me the names of two water damage clean-up experts.  The sump pump was replaced immediately and two hours later all but the standing water had drained from the basement. Within 24 hours, two of those experts had visited us, assessed what they could of the damage, and had given us estimates on drying us out and hauling out the damaged items.  We hired the second one (even though they were a bit more expensive) and a few hours later they had pulled out a truck load of wet cardboard boxes, had set everything up off the floor onto little plastic feet so the floor could dry, and had brought in nine big fans, and two industrial-sized dehumidifiers.

As of today, everything is dried out, the smell of wet, pre-mold or mildew is gone.  We still have hours and hours of clean-up and stuff to sort through, (it looks like a bomb went off in the basement), but all-in-all, the water damage itself, and the drying out, was taken care of with a minimum of effort on our parts - because we called the professionals.

And that's WHY we called in the professionals.  Because they could help us handle what seemed to be an overwhelming challenge.  And because they knew what needed to be taken care of that we were clueless about, including some special anti-microbial spray that would stop any sort of mold and mildew before it started.  We wouldn't have even known to ask about it.

So why am I sharing this story today?

If you are diagnosed with something difficult or scary, or you have symptoms that elude your doctors, or if you're overwhelmed trying to choose a treatment option, or if your medical bills are so high that you can't get your arms around them, or you wish they could be negotiated lower, or if your family is arguing over how to take care of an elderly parent, then you, too, need an expert.  You need a professional, independent, patient advocate.

You need someone who understands the challenges in front of you, who understands the ins and outs of the system - the things you are clueless about. You need someone who can reassure you and provide you with peace-of-mind that you will be able to get through the difficulty in front of you.  You need a professional, independent, patient advocate - one who can work with you and your providers to make sure you have the best possible outcome in the face of your health challenges.

I'm not suggesting that the gravity of 2 inches of water in my basement is at all as dire as your new diagnosis or your outrageously high medical bills - not at all.  But I am suggesting that when professional help is available, and when there are people who can lighten the load for you, then seeking them out is what makes sense.  Professionals exist to help improve your possible outcomes from a difficult situation.

Here's how to find a choose an independent patient advocate.  If you don't need one today, then save the link - because someday you will.

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