It's a new year and time for another SB lesson. We were in the third day of my son being in critical condition in Pediatric ICU. He was lying in a bed with tubes and wires coming out of every possible place in him and there was a shunt draining fluid from his brain. He was unconscious under heavy medication and could not speak. This is the stuff of nighmares folks.
My ex-husband had flown in and was watching over Al that morning while I caught my first bits of sleep. When I rejoined him at Alex's bedside there was the neurosurgeon standing with a woman I did not recognize. She introduced herself as the social worker - the SW, if you will.
I will pause here to say that I have had many helpful and extremely caring moments with SW's - they helped me find work, clothing and food for the kids during my divorce. I have great respect for SW's - well, for all but this one.
The neurosurgeon looked at us with one of those "Oh My God" serious faces that only doctors can give you and said, " I strongly recommend you take your son to Dr. XX and XX Hospital immediately. He went on to say that he was the best doctor to handle my son's upcoming surgeries. I said, "Well let's get him moved right away then..." Before I could finish my sentence the little SW says in a scolding voice, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no!" I replied, "What did you say?" She said, "Oh no, no, no, no. You better check your insurance first to see if it will pay for the ambulance to take him."
I was speechles for one moment - then the SB in me looked at my motionless 11-year old son and turned back and said, "Oh no, no, no, no no. We are moving him now. Look, I will be paying hospital bills for the rest of my life. Do you think one ambulance ride to bring him to the doctor that can save his life makes a bit of difference in all this. This is about my son, not about insurance."
Time was crucial. I rode with Alex in the first ambulance that had taken him from the ER and the first hospital to this hospital and I saw how complicated the move was for those EMTs. Did this woman want me to throw him in a taxi and hope for the best! Maybe we could hitchhike and save a few bucks. Who would say this to a mother?
Well, this story has a happy... no miraculous ending, because a couple weeks later my sons final surgery was a triumph and he is recovering beautifully today. Oh yes, and if that particular SW should ever see this - the bill for the ambulance that took him from their hospital to the third one is the only bill, in all of this, that was paid in full. My insurance paid the bulk and the ambulance company discounted the remainder.