A live surgeon, at last!

Day 5 After the Fall (cont’d)

Later that afternoon, I called the insurance company, with a full head of steam. Finally I spoke to our actual case manager, Samantha. Jay gave her permission to discuss his case with Aaron. Then I asked about the state of the claim. Samantha assured me they were considering it, a meeting was planned, but they needed medical and police reports.

“Well I have told and told the hospital that you need the report,“ I said. “I gave you the phone number here.”

“Yes and we faxed them a form to fill out but they only sent back the first page. We need the whole report and then we will have to translate it. It takes time.”

“Don’t you have an agent on the ground here who can talk to them?” I felt I knew the score now.

“No. We use translation software.”

Terrific. If it was anything like Google translate I could only imagine how distorted the messages might be.

“Have you had any luck with the police report?” she asked.

“No. I have the address for the carabinieri office but the phone number doesn’t seem to work…” Or maybe I wasn’t dialing it properly?

“Well we must have that report in order to approve the claim.”

“Wait a minute. The doctors say they need to operate, possibly tomorrow. I want a second opinion. Can your people supply that?”

“Yes, once we have the medical report and test results, our medical team can determine what will be best for Jay.”

I sighed. “Okay. I’ll see what I can do about the police report but I think you need to talk to the hospital yourselves. I just can’t communicate with them.”

I felt more frustrated than ever by the time we hung up. I wished the benefits officer, Neil, would get back to me. It had been two days since I’d emailed and I felt a hint of concern that maybe the brotherhood would not go to bat for Jay after all. In any case I needed someone in Canada putting more pressure on the insurance company.

Feeling overwhelmed and deflated, I went down to the cafeteria to get Jay more water. On my return, glory glory, I met Dr. Panti! He almost slipped by me. I suppose I’d expected some towering figure surrounded by a golden aura, the way everyone kowtowed to him. In fact, Dr. Panti was a small, gentle man in his sixties, not much taller than me, white-haired, with mild blue eyes and a quiet voice. Also, alas, not a single word of English. Poor old Embassy Sandy hardly had time to breathe. I speed-dialed and got her on the phone. As promised, she translated. Panti took me to see the scan again and explained that Jay would need surgery to rejoin the pelvis. I felt panicky and told Panti we had to get approval from the insurance company. He nodded benignly. I asked if we could get a medical report for them. He agreed (but no report ever materialized). I asked if we couldn’t wait and have the surgery at home.

Dr. Panti shook his head.

“He says it would be too painful for Jay to travel,” Sandy translated. “Meg, he is very concerned about Jay. He says the pain would be unbearable.”

I could see the concern in Dr. Panti’s gentle eyes. And I knew how much pain Jay felt just being turned on his side. “When would he do the surgery?” I asked Sandy and handed the phone back to Panti.

He talked for a while. When Sandy translated, it seemed there was no certainty about the schedule. Panti wanted to do the surgery soon but it there was a lot going on at the operating theatre. Maybe tomorrow, more likely Thursday or Friday.

Sandy told me that Panti had to get back to surgery. I thanked him, mumbling molto grazie. He smiled and went on his way.

My phone rang. To my astonishment it was Janet, my friend’s sister, the one who had lived in Perugia.

“Meg, I’m so sorry about what has happened. How is Jay doing? How are you?”

I filled her in on developments.

“Look I’m trying to reach friends in Perugia. Some of them are away right now.” August was holiday month in Italy, as in many parts of Europe. Many people went away, shops and restaurants closed. None of this was having any particular impact on me. The hospital stayed open!

Janet continued, “I have spoken to one friend, Giorgio. He is eager to help. Unfortunately he doesn’t speak much English.”

“Oh Janet, that’s very kind of you.” I could not really imagine how Giorgio might help, but the thought of a friendly face in Perugia did me good.

“He wants to come and see you at the hospital tomorrow. Can you give me the details?”

I told her the name of the hospital, Jay’s ward and room number.

“What time would he come?”

“I’m not sure. I’ll find out and text you.”

I thanked her again. Tomorrow would be easier. Tomorrow I would move to Perugia. Scarlett had called and made the reservation at La Collina last night. She had decided I needed a bigger room, a camera matrimoniale, to be comfortable. Still hoping the insurance company would cover this cost (although Aaron said there was no guarantee, just to keep receipts), I told her to book the better room. That night I packed up all our gear. Jay had hardly unpacked, of course. My things were thrown around the room cyclone-like. I paled at the thought of how I would ever manage all this luggage alone on the trip home. Step 1, get it to Perugia. Then cross my fingers that in a few days…what? Jay would have surgery? We would fly home? I fired off more emails, particularly one to the doctor friend who’d mentioned the Embassy, asking his opinion about whether surgery should be performed here or there. I asked the same of our family doctor. I’d given his contact info to the insurance company as they said they wanted him involved, but apparently they had yet to contact him. What were they doing????

All doctors sent the same response. Of course they could not have an opinion without seeing the scans and tests. Perhaps tomorrow the insurance company would have some insights – but I wasn’t putting money on it.


2 thoughts on “A live surgeon, at last!

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