Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Art of Compassion- Simple Goes a Long Way

Jax has been sick for the past few days and last night went into a pretty bad coughing spell where he just couldn't catch his breath. I gave him the nebulizer. Didn't help. Listening to your child as he can't breath can be a pretty scary thing. It wasn't 911 scary, but urgent care scary. As a parent you know the difference.

I drove over to a place called Nite Owl at 9:30, filled out the paper work, submitted my insurance card and waited with my sick boy who was also carrying a fever of 103. By this point the coughing had slowed down but his breathing was still labored.

I got out my checkbook to pay the $80 co-pay and was told that they didn't take checks, which I had checked before I left. According to superpages, they accept checks. According to them, they don't. A lot of people have that issue, they told me unapologetically. It's not their site. As a business, it would probably be beneficial to take the simple step to contact the site administrator and fix it, duh. There's an edit button there if you are the business owner. I looked into it.

But whatever.
It was 10:00PM and my insurance had gone through and I had a 3-year old with breathing problems. Surely they could be reasonable.

I mean, we're talking about a 3-year old who couldn't breathe. 

The receptionist said she'd go speak with the doctor. 
She came back and said there's nothing they could do.

I reminded her that my kid couldn't breathe.

She told me to take him to the ER.
I reminded her he's right in front of her.

She told me policy is policy.

What doctor in their right mind refuses to see a 3-year old who can't breathe in the middle of the night? Seriously, I was boiling.
Yet another instance of feeling completely helpless in the name of healthcare.

All I needed was one small drop of compassion. 
Or simply a smidgen of common decency.

Nope, they wanted me to drive further across town and pay $400 to sit in a disgusting ER for hours at night with a sick child.

But it's good that they followed procedure. Rules are rules.

We headed home.
Neither Matt or I thought going to the ER was wise, but we were still worried. What if he got worse? And what about that fever? Why does stuff like this always have to happen late at night?

So I grabbed the credit card and headed back.
I'm sure they were excited to see us.

You don't send a mom away in that situation and expect high fives when she comes back. 

Jax got meds and the doctor got a pretty intense stare down.
Though I thought I was pretty calm considering. He danced around it, telling me if I think my kid can't breathe, call 911. Not the right words, buddy. How about simply looking me in the eye and saying, "I'm sorry, that shouldn't have happened."How far those words would have gone. Just a dose of humility. He asked if I wanted the co-pay waived next time to which I said I didn't want anything from him but to act like a human being when there's a 3-year old in front of you who can't breathe.

I sometimes wonder what life scenarios play out in people's lives to make them callous.

There was a ray of sunshine to the story though.
After being up all night with Jax, I stopped by his regular doctor's office this morning to see if I could speak with a nurse or leave a message about the breathing treatment he was given. Evidently this was not proper protocol. Tears welled up in my sleep-deprived eyes as I was scolded by the receptionist.

Not again.


Then this woman made the choice to act with compassion.
She walked back to the nurses' station and brought my nurse to see me.

This nurse also made the choice to act with compassion.
She listened.
She answered my questions kindly.
She sympathized.
She hugged me.
She was everything a person working in healthcare should be.

These women restored dignity where it had been lost.
What they did was so simple but meant so much.

On a side note, I asked Jax what he thought of the doctor visit last night.
He said it was bad.
I asked him why.
"Because they made you sad."
Why was I sad?
"Because they wouldn't fix me."
True, but I told him I will always, always fight for him.
He gave me one of his Jaxie smiles, hugged me, and said, "I know that," even though I'm sure he had no idea what I was talking about. 

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