Thursday, March 15, 2007

So Breath!






I’ve been a bit disillusioned about my recent position in home health care lately. To tell you the truth, I hate my job. I’m the administrative assistant to the general operations manager of this division. And let me tell you, it sucks. I pay bills. I deal with creditors all day. I keep records and take minutes of meetings and distribute information.

The office is cramped, filthy, dingy and cold. There is no sunlight. The horrid working conditions is compounded with reorganization from a recent take over and add to that – miscommunications and a non caring attitude and I’m absolutely miserable.

Except for today.

A young woman was discharged from the hospital yesterday with chronic reparatory problems. She brought us her discharge papers and told us she was supposed to be on oxygen 24/7. We had no signed physician’s orders and couldn’t treat her without that. We called the doctor’s office, and the call was not returned. We had to send her home with nothing but a promise that we would get to her as soon as the doctor called us back.

She was back this afternoon. She handed us a prescription and sat down. She could not breathe. The girl that works the admissions started trying to work through the mound of paperwork and ins and outs of things that would help this woman get her oxygen through her insurance provider.

Mean while, the woman sat in the chair in the front office complaining she could not breathe.

I went to her and sat by her side. “How bad is it?”

“I can’t feel my fingers and my face is tingling.”

“Screw the insurance. I’m getting you air.”

I went to the back. I wish I had a tape of this. I can’t believe I said this out loud.

“Eric. I have an emergency up front. I want an E tank on wheels with a regulator and a five foot canula STAT!”

He moved.

I moved.

She had air.

I don’t care if the insurance is never billed. We gave her four more tanks and promised to check on her in a few days. She’s alive.

She is 23 and alive. And breathing.

I can’t say I love my job. But for today, I made a difference.

4 comments:

Minx said...

If more people showed unconditinal love like this, Roberta, the world would surely be a better place?

Dominic said...

I am proud of you, Roberta! Wow!

John said...

How did we get to this place, where billing considerations trump medical decisions? What country are we living in? What century is this?

Roberta, you did a great thing. Hope you don't have to pay for it...

Roberta said...

Thank you so much for responding John. She was back in today to pick up more tanks. I checked her color and talked to her for a bit...she is fine.

I didn't do a great thing, John. I did what was right. Any court in the country would have vindicated me.

The insurance system is a scam. The medical system is a scam. It comes from the bottom up. I'm sick of it. I'm looking for a new job. I don't want my name associated with it.

...but I'm on a rant. Thank you for reading.