Buckets And Buckets Of Lemonade!
As some of you may know, I’m on a 7-day cruise with my family this week. So, you may or may not be surprised to hear from me. Well, I have good news, bad news, and news to make you say “hmmmmm.” The good news is… I now have unlimited internet access at our hotel. The bad news is… we’re not on the ship anymore. The news to make you say “hmmmmmm” is… perspective, it’s all about perspective.
So, let me tells ya about it….
Yesterday morning (the second day of our cruise), my mom slips and falls while playing ping pong on the pool deck with my sister Judith. In the ship’s infirmary, x-rays reveal that she has fractured her hip. Therefore, we need to disembark at Cabo San Lucas, our next port of call (which also happens to be our first port of call), and get her to a hospital immediately. The ship’s doctor gets her stabilized, and she spends the rest of the day lying in the infirmary, doped up on morphine. Judith and I spend the rest of the day literally hitting up every dining/drinking/entertainment venue they have on the ship and trying to soak up as much of our now-truncated cruise experience as we can.
At 11:00 AM this morning, we reach Cabo. Of course, Cabo doesn’t have any piers big enough to handle cruise ships, so the only way to get onshore is via a little boat that they refer to as a “tender” (which is really just a euphemism because “tender” and “lifeboat” refer to exactly the same craft). So, they halt the line of approximately 1,000 other guests trying to get on the tenders, carry her stretcher down the rickety steps onto the loading platform, thread her and the stretcher through the railing and onto our own personal private tender, and finally take off for shore. Once we get on land, they have an ambulance waiting for us.
At the hospital, we’re given our options: 1) do the surgery here in Cabo, or 2) fly her on an air ambulance back to the United States to do the surgery. To confound the situation, Kaiser (obviously) doesn’t have branches in Cabo San Lucas, so we will have to pay out of pocket, then file a claim, which Kaiser may or may not reimburse us for. Well, flying her back to the U.S. will allow us to get her to a Kaiser hospital, so the surgery will definitely be covered. HOWEVER, the airlift will cost about $20,000! Ultimately, we decide to do the surgery here, since the hospital definitely seems well run. The total damage, though: $11,500 for the surgery and hospital stay, and $495 for the ambulance (not to mention the cost of the hotel room and the flight back to the U.S.). Yeesh.
So, it’s now 10:00 PM and $12,000 later, mom’s scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning, and I’m in a hotel room across the street, desperately trying to make some lemonade out of this half ton of lemons that have been tossed our way. Here’s what I came up with: instead of 6 hours in Cabo, we’ll now have three days to enjoy the city. Woo hoo.
Just as I find myself about to drown in this sea of lemons, though, perspective steps in….
You see, Judith and I have been doing our best to stay calm these past 24 hours. We’re now close to maxing out our credit cards, and mom has a long road to recovery, but at least she’s stable and in good hands now. Yesterday, as we gallivanted throughout the ship, trying to enjoy our last few hours on board, I started noticing the families bickering and the rotten spoiled unhappy faces, and I started thinking how ungrateful these people were, and how lucky they were that their vacation was just starting, and how thankful they should’ve been to be there. That sentiment definitely carried over this morning as we watched everyone else go off to explore the town, while we crammed into an ambulance and headed to the hospital. If you know me, you know that I despise self-pity, but I thought we definitely had something to whine about here. Or so I thought….
Tonight, as I’m returning to the hotel (after having been called back to the hospital to pay the ambulance fee), I meet another American family from Orange County. I had seen them in passing all day at the hospital, but didn’t have a chance to talk to them. As it turns out, the father had had a stroke on a cruise ship over a week ago, so the the mother and two kids had to fly down here. They’ve already been here a week and will probably need to be here at least another week because the father is in no condition to fly. At this point, they’ve already had to pay over $30,000 out of pocket, and they still have no end in sight.
Holy crap, I guess my mom isn’t that bad off, is she?
See, perspective. Really, it makes you say “hmmmmmm”….
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