Over the past week or so, I have been researching Medicare in preparation for the presentation Buri and I will make to Aunt Martha’s on Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. I started with some of the sources Professor Boraca suggested and delved into the complicated, frightening world of Medicare. I slowly made my way through a small portion of material available on Medicare. I found several brightly colored charts that attempted to simplify the program and even documents explaining the many facets of Medicare in plain language.
As I pored over my research, I tried to make sense of it all and to imagine myself explaining the program, its many parts, and its processes to someone else. I tried to imagine helping a client enroll. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that Medicare is even more complicated than I had originally assumed. I could not imagine myself speaking intelligently about the Affordable Care Act or Medicare. They are topics that are relevant, interesting, and absolutely important to our partners at Aunt Martha’s and to our future clients. However, I found myself at a loss, wondering if I would ever ‘get it’ and have the necessary knowledge and skills to actually help either party. I started to think that both questions were to be answered with a resounding ‘no’ and that it was time for a break. Hoping that it was only exhaustion and residual negativity (from some difficulties with law review) talking, I left my computer in search of a cup of tea and some encouragement.
I didn’t anticipate the latter being as easily procured as the tea, so I made my way to our tea station and turned on the kettle. As I waited for the kettle to whistle, I reviewed my task lists for the week and the rest of the semester and wished that this presentation was over. For a moment, I viewed it as merely another task on a long list, an obstacle to overcome before graduation, another ball to juggle. Then I stopped and felt a bit ashamed. This is the very meat of the work I think is so noble. This is where I am truly learning and stretching my capacity to understand complicated concepts. This is where I am gaining the skills to actually meet needs. If I, who have the luxury of devoting uninterrupted time and thought to understanding public aid, am confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, how much more confused, overwhelmed, and frustrated must our potential clients be?
With my tail between my legs and my tea in my hand, I walked back upstairs and finished my research with new motivation.