And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
Cause I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
I woke up yesterday morning after a night of not sleeping so well. I had to take my love to surgery. I guess I was more nervous than he was because he was snoring away next to me for most of the night. I checked my phone after the alarm went off. My littles had been sleeping away at grandmas. Mom had texted me in the middle of the night saying my daughter was sick. She had a fever and a sore throat and a cough. She needed to know what to do. I begrudgingly texted her back with motherly instructions, got my lazy and sleepy self dressed, and proceeded downstairs and out the door into my warm garage and waiting SUV to head out to the hospital.
I sat next to him as we waited. I had the lucky advantage of being a nurse, of knowing all the steps that were to come next. Some of the staff recognized me and maybe treated us a little bit better because I was one of their own. But at the very least, I was able to explain to him the things he didn’t quite understand because staff were a bit too rushed to answer questions or thoroughly explain things with the explanations that needed to be undertaken with extra care due to the stress and confusion and extra drugs swirling around his head.
He was finally whisked away to the cold unknown of the waiting operating room and I was escorted to the surgical waiting room where a grumpy volunteer promised to keep me updated. The signs on the door proclaimed loved ones would be provided with updates every thirty minutes, a fairly lofty goal when considering all the folks waiting around for their loved ones inside packed surgical suites. My anxiety was rising. Thirty minutes passed, then an hour, then two, and almost three without an update. The surgeon said he thought he would be done in about 40 minutes. Who knew what was taking so long. But I figured if something had really gone wrong surely I would be alerted and no way he could be lost and forgotten back there. The surgeon came and pleasantly greeted me. The familiar jargon of one healthcare professional to another. The brief update and discharge instructions as other waiters curiously looked on. Observed our interactions. Wondering why he was speaking on and on about specific tendons and bones and trauma incurred during surgery and what the possible aftereffects might bring. The old bat of a volunteer finally called me back to the recovery area. The first she had spoken to me since we checked in. I am mildly annoyed that her so called 30 minutes lasted longer than three hours. She asks me if I am ready to go see Roger. I don’t know anyone named Roger, but sure I’d go back. And my wet palms were suddenly dry and still.
I sat with him until he had recovered and helped him back into the car. We got home and settled inside and my mom met me at urgent care with my daughter. I was mildly annoyed and a little bit stressed. Slightly anxious over money and finance, the copayment for surgery and meds and now more doctors and meds and on and on and on. I was mildly annoyed that I had to take time away from my recovering better half to run to the doctor for a slight childhood illness that likely did not need a trip to a physician but just some TLC and chicken noodle soup.
And then while I am waiting a mom and a child about the same age as my own wandered into the urgent care. The family was Hispanic, didn’t seem to speak perfect English and inquired at the desk about the cost of a visit for someone who was uninsured. The receptionist replied that the cost for an office visit was $185. The mother smiled and said thank you and walked out the door.
I should have stepped up. Here, have my money. Surely there was no reason in the world that a child with the same symptoms, the same age, many of the same circumstances as my own child should be denied the same treatment my own kid was getting. He was just a kid, same as mine, it didn’t make any sense. But I didn’t step up. Just sat there in my own little world. Worried about my own kid and trivial circumstances.
Yes, my other half was just home from surgery. Sure he couldn’t drive for a while on account of a broken foot. My kid was sick with the flu and would need an adult to stay home with her for a week while she recovered. But I had a job with the flexibility to take off when my family needed me. I had a mom and a mother in law close by that could help with chores and driving and errands and child care and just emotional support. I had good health insurance and money in the bank to pay for appointments and medications and unexpected aftercare. I wasn’t worried about how I could afford to get my sick kid to the doctor or having to choose to pay for water or electricity or medicine a loved one needed, I wasn’t afraid I would be fired or retaliated against for taking some time off to care for family members, and I even had plenty of sick time to use so that I would not only keep my job but get paid for the time I needed to be away from work.
It just made me so incredibly happy and sad. Happy and fortunate to have all that I do… And so incredibly sad that the little boy so much like my own walked away that afternoon without access to healthcare or medicine that my own daughter had. Sad that I felt annoyed at the inconvenience of it all instead of grateful for all that I had. Sad that I know there is much more I could do to help, but I don’t do it. Ultimately I am selfish. And even if I did it would never be enough.
Yes, it’s a very mad world. A mad world indeed.