"Self pity is our worst enemy, and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world."
- Helen Keller1880-1968, Blind and Deaf Educator

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Great Escape

I called my case worker on Sunday afternoon and left a message explaining what I needed. I didn't wait for her to call me back on Monday morning- I called at just after 9 am. I had to convince my HMO that, while although bed rest was the only treatment for my condition, I HAD to do bed rest in the US and they should fly me home no matter what the expense. My husband had called around and found some local companies that could do it for about 30K. So much for paying out of pocket if we were denied. Even my dad said he would help but was shocked at the sticker price. The doctor in san juan said it would make better sense to save the money for IVF than to blow it on this. He had given up on my baby, whose heart was still beating just fine.

All the doctors and I were calling in with the info, faxing the details, I was pleading and crying with the HMO. Only now do I hear that, if an infection occurs, I could lose my ability to reproduce, or I could get sepsis. Maybe I heard it before, but it didn't register until now. After waiting most of the day, the decision came back- NO. They wouldn't pay for it. If I didn't agree with the findings, I could appeal the decision but usually it takes a while to get the answer back from appeals.

I was distraught. I worked on the appeals with all the doctors and a new case worker from the HMO who was so caring and sweet. In the meantime, my OB from the states called the medical director that had made the initial finding. I don't know what he said or how he said it, but the HMO reopened the case- that never happens I am told. Usually a decision is final and the chance for change is in the appeal. Nonetheless, there was to be a meeting about me on Tuesday at 12:30 pm. Ok- I wasn't going home on Monday. I could make it one more day.

My husband and I decided we were getting out of dodge one way or another. If I had not reaccumulated more fluid on Tuesday am and if there was no dice on the air ambulance, I would take the one direct first class flight out of there, leaving at 6:30 pm. We would arrange an ambulance to the airport and then use wheelchairs until the flight. We arranged for me to be admitted into the hospital Tuesday night one way or the other.

On Tuesday afternoon, we were completely packed and waiting. It was getting late and we were going to need a decision or we would need to leave for the airport. We could continue to wait there if we needed to. The call came in- they granted me the air ambulance. I was so happy for my baby!

It was a private, lear jet that would fly to about 15 miles away from the hospital. Let me be clear, this was not a luxury lear jet but it definitely was what I needed if Sally Ann even could have a chance. The jet was just big enough for me, my husband, two medical personnel and two pilots. No cocktails. No rest room. Sitting room only- it was too small for an adult to stand. That was fine for me- I was on a stretcher. The nurse on the flight told me of an insurance one can buy if travelling that will automatically pay for something like this- called Med Jet Assist ( http://www.medjetassist.com ). I definitely will get this when I travel in the future.

We arrived into the hosptital at about 5:30 am on Wednesday morning after the plane had to stop twice to refuel. My OB was there waiting for us. It was so good to be home. I knew nothing had changed with Sally Ann and her chances of survival, but at least I was with people I knew and I could understand them when they spoke to me. The ultrasound revealed status quo- no fluid, but a healthy heartbeat and movement. All I could do now is to keep praying.

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