I have exciting news! The doctors have determined which bacterium has invaded my bloodstream. The gram negative rod causing all the worry is none other than E. coli. Aah, E. coli, what a strange relationship I have had with you over the past ten months. Coincidentally, it was one of the main organisms, along with staph, that I studied in my infectious diseases class. And now here I am, with both a staph and an e. coli infection. How's that for a strange twist? My friend suggested, and I agree, that I should get extra credit in my science class. But everything seems to be well under control. The antibiotics are doing their thing, and I feel pretty good. Hopefully I will be out of here by the end of the week. Hopefully.
Speaking of strange twists, here's a good one: Let's say a person, any old person, is attending a fairly large, generic university. Now let's say this person finds out he or she has a fast-growing, deadly illness. There is hope for this person, but only if he or she receives treatment for the disease immediately. So this person, through no fault of his or her own, is forced to take a leave of absence from said university. Unfortunately, this person found out about the illness at the most inopportune of times: one week before finals. Our valiant hero requests incompletes from three teachers whose classes had yet to be completed. The teachers graciously grant the request for incompletes, giving the person One Year to turn in the assignments.
Our hero leaves the university with a heavy heart and an uncertain future. Will the treatment be successful? Will our hero be able to return to school next year? Will our hero ever be able to return to school?
Flash-forward six months. Our hero has been told he or she will be able to return to the university in the fall. Sometimes this fact is the only thing that helps our hero through the trials (and pain) he or she has been enduring. But then, a snag! Our hero's insurance provider unexpectedly changes. Suddenly, the Hospital where our hero is being treated is no longer "in network." Concerns are raised about expenses, affordability, and whether or not our hero will actually be able to return to the beloved university. Our hero's strong parents work hard, make many phone calls with many hours spent on hold, and eventually figure out a solution to the insurance problem.
But then, another snag! A few short weeks later, our dear hero is informed that he or she has not received any financial aid from the university for the upcoming school year. "But why?" our hero queries. "Because you have three outstanding incompletes from last year and no grades from second semester," replies the questioned. "But they were wholly unavoidable." "Then appeal the decision." And so the decision is appealed. A formidable letter is sent, both from our hero and from our hero's Doctor, clearly stating the medical necessity of leaving the university. Assurances are sent back that the case is being reviewed and the outcome looks optimistic. And thank goodness, for once again fiscal questions had arisen regarding returning to the university.
And then our hero receives a phone call: "It looks like they won't fully review your case and grant you aid until your grades have been resolved. So, finish up your two final papers and your final exam, and we'll be all set!" Our hero is shocked. "But I'm still in the middle of treatment; I won't be able to finish my assignments until I get back to school." "Well then, you probably won't get any aid for a while. But make sure you pay your tuition by the deadline, August 16." Now what? Our hero is left with no choice but to try and write two papers and establish a timeline for the one exam as soon as possible, even though our hero had been under the impression he or she had until December 2007 to finalize the grades. Now, ordinarily, our hero would have no trouble completing these tasks. He or she is, however, also dealing with certain variables. Variables such as still undergoing treatment for a deadly illness. Variables such as unavoidable, debilitating infections. Variables such as not being able to reach a post office and teachers going on vacation. And with the tuition deadline fast approaching, our hero still doesn't understand why the nice people who grant aid don't understand that this is an extraordinary situation, and the incompletes really were unavoidable.
Frustration. Money. Business. Drugs. Insurance. Money. Fear. E. coli. Will our hero prevail against the odds? Will the papers miraculously be completed? Or will the nice people who grant aid experience a burst of understanding and review our hero's appeal and grant aid now? Stay tuned for the continuation and resolution of our hero's saga. Also, if you'd like to share your thoughts, comments, or write your own ending, e-mail me, the objective narrator, anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seriously. If commenting here isn't your thing, I'd love to hear from you. email@example.com.