There are several phrases most parents do not want to hear. They are phrases that can evoke intense emotional responses.
They are as followed:
“Now, mom, don’t get mad, but….”
“The police are here, I am okay, but my car is totaled.”
“Are you sitting down?”
And of course my personal favorite:
“Does our health insurance cover emergency room visits where I am at?”
Each phrase can be followed with a reaction similar to this:
“What the… I…, hang on I need to catch my breath”, and ends with “What did you do this time?”
They are all phrases that can send a parent off the deep end, and I have heard everyone of them at one time or another over the 31 years I have been a parent. Individually they are hard to hear. Lump 2 or more together and it is a heart attack in the making.
In 2005 I heard 3 of these phrases lumped into one phone call.
My son had gone to Gold Beach, Oregon to attend a football camp. It was an annual tradition for the football team to go to this camp every year after school let out. Two days into the camp I received “The call.”
“Mrs. Thomas, this is a nurse at the Gold Beach General Hospital. We have your son here and he has some questions concerning his health insurance coverage. He has received some sedation, but I think he can still speak with you. The gasping of air commenced.
“Mom, are you sitting down? Don’t get mad, but I am not sure and I need to ask, does the health insurance we have cover emergency room visits here in Gold Beach? I forgot my health insurance card and I need you to give the admitting nurse all the billing information. I broke my collarbone. I mean I REALLY broke my collarbone. Don’t worry though, coach said he would take care of everything.”
My chest tightened up, my head began to spin, and I noticed I was having hard time breathing. I then did the “Unspeakable.” I cried.
“Mom, why are you crying?”
“I don’t know. I just feel like I should be there, but I can’t.”
“Like I said, mom, coach is here. I will be fine. Please stop crying.”
Gold Beach was at least 4 hours from our home, and I did not have reliable transportation. My son did not have a cell phone, nor did he have any cash for co-pays to cover any medication he might need.
As a mom, there is no greater helpless feeling than this. I had to put all of my trust, concerning my child’s well being, in his football coach. This was the same coach who spoke with me on the phone and said, “Yep, his collar bone is broken, but Misty you should have seen the play! I mean, his catch before the hit, that broke his collarbone, was awesome. I have it on tape. Do you want to watch it when we get back?”
“No thank you, coach, I’ll pass on that one. I will not be coming down. Will you make sure someone calls me at least once a day to update me on his progress? I would appreciate that.”
My son lived through the experience. Eventually his shoulder healed, though he missed most of the football season that year. More importantly, I lived and I learned. I learned it was okay for me to cry. It was okay for my son to see my emotion. For through that emotion I showed him he was loved.
And no, I never watched the video. That was a bit too much for this mom to see!