Before I start this story, I’d like to state that there are a few things you can do to save your loved ones at least $12,000. First of all, make sure you always have a key to where your loved ones live. Second, make sure that your loved ones never let their health insurance lapse. Third, you may want to discuss an emergency plan with you loved ones if they ever lose consciousness.
My dad suffers from epilepsy and occasionally gets seizures which knock him unconscious. This typically happens every 2 to 3 months. When he gets knocked out, it is my mom who renders aid to him while he recovers.
It was a few years ago when my mom decides to take a whole month off to travel to another country. While she was gone, I made sure to check up on my father multiple times a week. I recall this incident happened on Easter.
I was at home and called father to check up on him. He didn’t answer so I left a message and asked him to call me back. Since I was hungry, I drove off somewhere to go pick up a pizza. After some more hours passed, dad still didn’t call me back and I was getting worried. He wasn’t returning my calls.
Fearing the worst, I got in my car and started driving towards his shop (he lives there). When I get there, his truck is there, the door is locked, and the lights are turned off. I knock on the doors but I hear nothing. For about 30 minutes, I try anything I can do to make noise or look for a key or a way to breach into the shop. I even thought about smashing the glass in order to get in and check on my father. I thought about calling the police to breach the building but I had a feeling father wouldn’t want me to do that.
Dad is unconscious and could possibly be dead. I don’t have a key so I can’t confirm his condition. I hope for the best and head on home. Maybe he will recover the next day.
The next day, I get up and drive to my office to get some work done. Sometime before lunch, I get a call from the hospital downtown. I don’t know how he got there but the nurse told me she got my phone number by checking father’s phone. I had called at least 16 times so they must have assumed I was family. Apparently, my father got the will to try to work and serve some customers but the customers noticed father was in terrible shape. They called an ambulance and got father admitted to the hospital in the ER/Trauma Center.
I’m relieved that he isn’t dead so I inquire about his status. The nurse says that he is conscious but his mental capacity is greatly diminished. Apparently father thinks it is the year 1955. Regardless, I just want to see him to know that he is okay.
I send an email to my boss asking if it is okay if I leave work one hour earlier at 4pm so I can visit father. He sees my email and lets me off of work right away.
I drive towards home and stop by the mass transit rail station. I boarded the train downtown, walked past my old college, and into the hospital’s trauma center. When I see him, he is strapped to a cot, dressed in a hospital gown, has an IV tube stuck in his arm, and has a neck brace holding him down.
I see bruises on his head but he can recognize me and we talk for a little bit. I can ask him some basic questions but he isn’t all together there. His responses are pretty short and off. He is disoriented and doesn’t really know what happened to him. He can’t remember much.
After 15 minutes, a nurse moves the curtains back and walks in. I spend a little time pressing her for information. Luckily, she tells me where father’s items are. As I open a drawer, I see a plastic bag that contains his clothes, phone, and wallet inside. A gut wrenching feeling hits me in the stomach and I look through father’s wallet. I find his insurance card and the coverage period is valid unfortunately father had discussed with me weeks earlier that somehow his coverage lapsed and he was trying to get a different insurance policy. It was very possible that father didn’t have any coverage at this point in time.
More staff enter the space and move father from the trauma center to the 4th floor of the hospital. I follow along with father’s stuff. As we settle into the new room, I place his items on the table next to him. A doctor comes in to examine him and I inform the doctor about father’s condition. After 30 minutes, I feel okay leaving father at the hospital. I wouldn’t be able to give him better care at home and I don’t think the hospital would have discharged father if I asked them to.
I go to work Tuesday morning and then visit father at the hospital after work. Unfortunately, he still hasn’t regained his full mental capacity and can’t answer basic questions. I also wasn’t able to locate father’s items. Father still thinks it is 1955. Regardless, I do my best to comfort him a little and tell him to try to get his memory back. After he does that, we can take him home.
I go to work Wednesday morning. Sometime after 11 am, I get a phone call from the hospital and it is father. He sounds week and miserable but he is mostly back to normal. He knows who he is and he can answer complex questions again. He begs me to get him out of there. After work is done, I head over to the hospital and find father. I locate him and start guiding him out of the hospital until I realize that he doesn’t have any of his stuff. He is still dressed in the hospital gown and doesn’t even have any shoes on. For the next 90 minutes, we start sweeping each room he was located in over the last 3 days in order to find father’s phone, wallet, and clothes. We end our search at the lost and found and unfortunately, we turn up empty handed. Father comes to the conclusion that hospital staff might have stolen his items. We leave the hospital without father’s clothes or items.
He is still in the hospital gown and barefoot so I ask him to stay as close to me as he can so he doesn’t draw any attention. After a quarter of a mile, we make it to the rail station and there are some police stationed there. I make sure father is as close to me as possible and get him through the entrance. Father and I board the train, unfortunately a 20 minute ride becomes 40 minutes when the train breaks down. When we finally get to my car, I start driving home and I get father some fast food for dinner. I’m so glad to be home but I can’t let father be alone on Thursday. I asked my boss if I could work from home on Thursday to get my dad situated and my boss agreed.
Thursday morning arrives and I wake up and start working from home. After a few hours, I get father ready to go to his shop and start figuring things out. Unfortunately, the hospital couldn’t locate father’s items. Without father’s keys, we can get into his shop, drive his car, or use his money. Our only hope is that father did not lock the doors before he was taken by the ambulance.
We arrive at father’s shop and pull the door handle only to find that it is locked. With anguish, we start to consider our options. We drive to a fire station to see if they can breach the door but no one is there. Father decides to just breach the property himself. However, he doesn’t want to smash the glass to get in. By 11 am, one of his tenants arrive and we get access to suite A of the building. Father’s workplace is located in suite E, so father decides the best idea is to climb up into the ceiling in suite A. From there, he can crawl across the I beams of the property and pop out the ceiling into suite E. Unfortunately, each suite is separated by a firewall. The only solution father his is to bust through the firewalls with a 20 pound weight. As he does this, he unlocks the doors of each suite and I see him climbing up on the I beams to make it to the next firewall in order to bust it open. The whole time, I’m worried father will fall and injure himself again. But thankfully, that doesn’t happen and father breaches suite E and gains access to some of his cash and a spare key for his truck.
The ordeal isn’t over yet. Since father lost his keys to the shop, there is always a risk that someone could break into his shop and steal his stuff. We spend the next hour or two going to a lock smith to get new locks for his shop and new keys. This mostly ends the ordeal on my end.
Days later, my mom arrived back in America and we retrieved her from the rail station.
Weeks to months afterwards, we learn that father had no insurance coverage at the time he spent in the hospital. While he was there, the hospital staff ran every test on father to make sure he didn’t suffer head/brain trauma. The final bill of the hospital visit came out to be $12,000.