Monday, December 30, 2013

Karma; or, just what the doctor ordered (and no not THAT doctor)

Sometimes there is human drama that unfolds without the help of people, and sometimes it is the fault of our own making. Yesterday, in a story of karma that will only be slightly satisfying because it involves children falling ill, and no one can ever feel anything but sad and worried when little ones are sick, a story that should have been about caring for sick kids became a lesson in humility.

My niece is three and the sweetest of charmers. Her parents (my brother and his ex-wife) divorced about two years ago and are not really on speaking terms. I won't take sides, but only to say that I am on the side of the children. One, because that is the side we should always take, and two, because between the pair of them, there are no heroes in this relationship. Anyway, this story, as I said is about her being ill. My sister brought a nasty bout of bronchitis as her "plus one" to Christmas dinner and all week most of our little band of family and friends has been suffering in varying degrees. The hardest struck, as most often is the case, are the oldest and youngest. My niece, it seems, might have been the sickest of us all.

Yesterday, she returned from her split custody with her mother back into my brother's house. She returned sick and only got sicker through the night. Finally, around 3pm or so she was sick enough for my brother to take her to the doctor. This was a pretty big decision because he has no insurance and would have to ask his ex-wife to use the insurance she has for the kids. It turned out to the right decision because they immediately sent that poor sick little girl to the emergency room because her little lungs were shutting down. As I said, my brother, her dad, does not have money, insurance, or even a job, so he had to contact the girl's mother for her insurance information. Most people would think that the important thing is to take the poor dear to the hospital no matter whose insurance foots the bill... well, not her mother.

All this to say, to sum up, if you will. That the poor sick and terrified girl who was being treated at the hospital was met by a mother who decided that it was more important to take her father to task as deadbeat (kind of true), who could not take care of the daughter and if it wasn't for her insurance the little girl might have been even sicker (kind of true); rather than to nurture the child and make sure she was okay and unafraid she began a screaming tirade in the halls of the hospital. A story that is sickening (pun intended) not only because I imagine my poor little niece was already scared, and that her screaming mother calling her father (the one trying to comfort her) names did not make it better. But, worse still, I imagine such a ruckus was discomforting for the rest of the patients as well.

To make this long story more clear. The ex-wife (and I deliberately do not call her mother because here she was clearly more busy being an ex-wife than a mother) tried to take the child. It was like a Jerry Springer episode, but sadder. Finally, my brother saw a policeman in the hallway and called him over. The doctors, nurses, patients, and the child all said that my brother was trying to take care of her but that the girl's mother was out of control and told her she had no right to take the little girl away from her dad just because she was sick. But wait. Because there is more.

Just when it seemed that the ex-wife could not have been any more sanctimonious and judgmental about my brother's parenting skills, her phone rang. It seems that the ex-wife's daughter, a new baby from a new marriage, was also sick. She was at home with a different father and he had called to say that the baby was very sick and was running really high temperature and could she meet him at the emergency room because he needed to use her insurance. In effect, he was doing the same thing with her child as my brother had done with his. The doctor actually laughed at the irony of the mother accusing her ex-husband of making the little girl sick while she also had a sick child at home, before realizing, like I said in the beginning, that however a delightful story of karma this may be, sick children are never a good thing. Even if they do teach you a very public and humiliating lesson.

Today, thank goodness, it seems that the little girls seem to be doing well. Well, as much as they can hope to be with such parenting.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me stomach-churningly sad. I'm sure my reaction has something to do my own situation and knowing that my daughter is stuck in a situation in which her parents don't like one another (though I do believe we try to shield her from that). I'm glad, though, that when reading this I put myself in the place of the little girl, because this gives me hope that I do try to do what's best for my own daughter regardless of what I may think of her father. I hope your niece's parents can learn to do that, too.