The world shifted when my father called and said, “Your Mother’s been in an accident”. You brace yourself for the next sentence, hoping and praying silently that she’s all right. Your brain explodes with questions, what-ifs. You stop yourself from picturing the accident because that’s too painful to think about. Where is she? How is she? Have you spoken with her? Why aren’t you with her? The questions tumble out in a rush…the adrenalin is unstoppable! Please tell me she’s all right!
Just hours before Mom and I had gleefully chatted about watching with relief and sheer delight as the last of the Chilean miners made it out of the collapsed mine. And now, my Mom was stuck in an Emergency Room with no family by her side, with no way to communicate with us, and no way for us to find out what had happened to her. I called the ER, but was told by a nurse that because of the Hippa Law, she could not tell me how my mother was doing. She did finally tell me that my mother was in “stable” condition. After pleading that I was 500 miles away and needed to know more, she told me to call my mother back in 20 minutes as she was having x-rays at that time.
Meanwhile, I learned that my cousin drove by the accident scene. So, I called him. By looking at the car, he said I should consider driving down to NC from DC. Fortunately, my cousin’s wife is a nurse and was working that day. So, she went down to the ER to check on Mom. The accident happened around 10 am, Mom was cut out of her car by the Jaws of Life, and taken to the ER. I was notified of the accident by 11 am or so. It was 12:30 before we really knew how my mother was doing. Fortunately, she suffered only a broken arm. But, the fact that we didn’t know and couldn’t find out was terrifying. I can’t imagine what it would be like to face Hippa Laws if you were out-of-the-country when a relative had an accident in the US. And, let’s be real … how many people have family that work at the hospital! I’m seriously beginning to question the Hippa Law stuff.
Further, be wary of your ER doctor. I know there are a lot of good docs out there and this is not a bash session. However, my mother’s ER doctor told her that the break was a “clean one”. This was on a Thursday. The following Tuesday two specialists told her that it was a nasty break and required surgery. She now has a metal plate, a bunch of screws, and a bone graft in her left arm. Whatever you do … do not take what your ER doctor tells you as the gospel. Seek out other opinions … our family learned a valuable lesson. My Mother’s ER doctor mishandled her at the hospital, too. For all we know, he could have damaged her arm further. The specialists noted that part of the bone had broken off. Was it shattered in the accident or did it tear off because of moving her arm around in appropriately? I doubt we’ll ever know … but, I’d like to compare the xrays from the ER room and the specialist. By the way, Mom said that the EMTs were much more gentle than the ER doc. How fascinating!
My mother is doing well post-op and we are hopeful that she makes a full recovery. But her passion for things like gardening may be tempered for good. Let’s hope not. Mom, I’m so grateful that you are still with us. Too many people do not survive auto accidents. God was shining down on you and us! Thank you, Lord-Allah-Yahweh!!