...or the indignant rant of a non-biological mom who happily went through a second-parent adoption.
I think it's fair to say that I have carried a great deal of the medical care duties associated with being a parent of a micropreemie. I was there in the NICU for hours (on average 12-18 hours a day) for the entire four months of Hallie's stay, with a large number of nights spent sleeping in the recliners or rockers by her isolette, and before we lost Olivia, ran back and forth between the two isolettes as frequently as Sharon did. And I was there in L&D 24/7 (with the exception of a few times when I ran home to walk Bailey the dog) for the four days Sharon was in the hospital (and would have gladly spent four months doing that, had it been possible to keep Sharon pregnant).
Before the girls were born, we had emergency papers drafted by our friend Josh, who is a lawyer, stipulating that I could make decisions about the girls should Sharon be incapacitated (a very real possibility if an emergency C-section were involved in their birth. Fortunately, this was never necessary, but it seemed to be a prudent measure to take given that we were not sure how the hospital personnel at Pennsylvania Hospital would treat me in such a case.
I was thoroughly impressed with that treatment--the nurses, doctors, support staff, etcetera always treated me as an equal parent to our girls and accorded me a status equal to that of Sharon. That meant, and means, a lot to me (and to us as a family), and is a big reason why we love our nurses, doctors, security and front desk folk as much as we do.
And, up until tonight, I felt the same way about CHOP. Not tonight.
Tonight, we had to rush Hallie to the ER after 7 vomiting episodes that took place between 5pm and 9pm. The kid had nothing in her, her diapers were totally dry, she was obviously not herself (lethargic, uncomfortable, whining, and her color was off) and we knew that we needed to do something fast. So we gathered up our gear and sped over here (where we are now rather uncomfortably ensconced in an ER room, gradually getting some pedialyte in our kid).
We had all the bottles of goat milk, meds, a few dozen changes of clothing between us, toys, Sesame DVDs, and insurance cards. I never imagined that I would require the adoption decree.
But it turns out, according to the surly registration lady (to whom Hallie rightfully took an active dislike), I really did need that piece of paper. Never mind that one of those insurance cards is from my work, where Hallie has coverage under my plan because she is my daughter (my excellent employer allows for same-sex partner and child benefits, regardless of adoption status, as long as you are willing to vouch that you are a family).
So, even though Sharon was stretched out on the gurney-cum-bed holding a writhing and screaming (well, screaming for a kid with vocal cord paralysis) Hallie who was clearly in pain and not doing well, she needed to be the one to sign the paperwork. Turns out that, without my decree, my doing so constitutes a HIPAA violation and isn't good enough for this place.
Never mind that they've got me on file as mom or that I have committed precisely this 'violation' a few dozen -- maybe more --times when I am the only parent there for medical treatment at Allergy, GI, Pulmo, the regular ped, etc.
And all of this leads me to inquire: do all adoptive parents carry their papers to the ER? Or do folks just assume that one man plus one woman plus one baby equals one family, regardless of genetics.
Harumpf. This is not a good night to pull this stuff with me.
Anyway, Hallie is asleep now, finally, after considerable whining and kvetching. We've managed to get 5 ounces of clear liquid in her (apple juice and now the pedialyte cherry we brought with us---the ER actually ran out of everything but the unflavored and this wasn't cutting it for Hallie). We need to get 3 more into her before they will discharge us, but Hallie is finally sleeping and she needs her sleep, too. Hopefully she'll take more when she wakes up, and keep it down, and we'll be free.