How My Son Made Me a Superhero
I teach US History for a day job. We encounter many heroes in our class but what makes a person a hero or a superhero? Is it a fancy suit, or a radioactive spider? It seems if we really look at the superheroes it is their ability to assess a situation and relentlessly and courageously confront it. There are true superheroes in our world from soldiers to law enforcement to girls shot for going to school. But we all in our lives have times of conflict for one reason or another and all face opportunities to become superheroes in some capacity. My father, and I'm sure countless before and since him, always told me that God often gives you what He knows you need not always what you expect. I expected a perfect baby girl when I first got pregnant. I got an imperfect baby boy. We knew once he was born with a condition known as unilateral microtia-atresia that we would have hurdles to face for him as his parents and with him as well. His condition affects his hearing and how one ear did not fully form in the womb. We are not done with our battles but we are a step closer.
A little less than a year ago we scheduled his major reconstructive surgery. This is the surgery that will give him the outer construction of an ear. About eight months ago I began what I thought would be a battle with our insurance that became much more. I knew going in that it wouldn't be easy but I had no idea how tough it would be. I tried to prepare myself, I started eating healthier, exercising more often, planning work ahead of time, and even distancing myself from relationships that weren't positive. But none of that fully prepared me. Time and time again I would get denied, and time and time again I would send mountains of explanations why their specialists weren't the same as the surgeon we chose or studies of why it was important to have his surgery at a specific age and with an experienced surgeon, knowing nothing I sent was even glanced at. I had days when I felt so defeated I had to take a minute in the car before I walked in to keep from falling apart, nights that I spent hours talking to God, and months when prayer candles were constantly lit. There were days when people were mean or dramatic and it didn't even get to me because I already felt like I was walking around with an elephant sitting my heart. But no matter what I kept going because I knew my son was worth it.
It is not new news that the health insurance system in our country is broken. Not only does universal healthcare seem to not be a viable option but our current system is not even set up to be a true market system because the consumer has no information, choice, or is in any way empowered to make decisions. It has been baffling to me that had this issue been involving my car I would have had a claims adjuster who I knew and who was assigned to me but because it was my child that was not the case. After months of frustration, defeat, and perseverance (more like stubbornness) I got a phone call. A phone call from a woman who said said she wanted to help me and who actually listened to my case. A week and a half later she called to tell me we won and his surgery would be covered. I still can't believe it's over, I made her repeat herself to the point that she asked if the connection was bad. The damn skeptic in me still thinks they are going to send me a letter saying PSYCHE! (fingers crossed they won't) I feel like I'm going to burst from happiness and relief. Our little joy boy doesn't have any idea of the war we've fought. He knows one month from today he is going to have surgery and thinks since he isn't sick that after he'll be a superhero. He doesn't know that just by having him in our lives he made us superheroes because now we are strong enough to face any fight.