A few weeks ago I called Kaiser Permanente to schedule Sydney's routine eye appointment. They told me that there were no openings in the doctor's schedule for the next six months. They could, the too cheerful appointment lady told me, put me on a 12-month waiting list. I argued with her. Told her it was very important. Asked if they would instead allow us to make an appointment with OHSU. She said, "We have you on the list. Something will open up."
Apparently nothing opened up because they didn't call. In the meantime, Sydney seems to have a harder time focusing even with her glasses on (we notice her eyes occasionally crossing). This concerned us, especially since our last appointment helped us realize that it is very important for Sydney to get her eyes checked regularly because she could lose her vision. I suspect it's just a matter of her getting a stronger prescription, but whatever the cause, it needs to be fixed.
Kaiser's lack of action began to irritate me. Day by day I got more and more angry, and last night was the tipping point for me. It's not a matter of not having good coverage--the school district provides us with an excellent health care package. It's not a matter of us searching for a diagnosis--we know the problem. This was just Insurance People doing their Insurance Thing.
I am, generally speaking, not a pushy person when it comes to service matters. I'm not going to complain about my food at restaurants. I'm not going to yell at the phone company for mixing up our bill (although I will make them fix it). But when it comes to my family--to my daughter--there's no way in this world that some HMO is going to make me wait a year to get medical treatment.
And there you have it: the heart of a parent who will go to any lengths, who will say anything, to protect their children.
I called Kaiser today. I wasn't going to back down. If they continued to give me the "12-month waiting list" line I would drive up to Portland and wait in the office until the doctor would see us. Sydney was getting her eyes checked. No matter what.
As soon as someone got on the line, I was ready. I need an appointment. My daughter is two and needs her eyes checked otherwise she'll lose her vision. If you don't have an appointment you are paying for us to go see OHSU. If you aren't going to pay for OHSU I will drive up there and wait until you see us. And after that I will cancel my health insurance with you and tell all my friends what kind of service you provide in spite of your slick TV commercials.
I got an appointment. She apologized that I'd have to wait a week until the doctor could see us.
I know that when it comes down to it I am my child's best advocate. As soon as she was born, more than affection and adoration filled my heart. My heart filled with a love so fierce that I would protect her against anything or anyone that would harm her. I can see how this love makes parents do crazy things--illegal things--and I think the most you can do is pray that you make the wisest and best choices without compromising your integrity or morality.
I suppose I knew it all along, but today I figured out that no doctor, no teacher, no health insurance or court system is going to fight for her like I will.
Because I am her mom. And she is my daughter.