The manager of my department (DM) - for whom I don't work, but who co-supervises some employees with me - has a semi-adopted daughter he adores. This in itself is delicate, because this child is actually his wife's granddaughter, but they have raised her from an infant, and she is now five. She calls him Daddy, and about half the time he leaves for a bit in the afternoon to pick her up from school. She calls him at work every afternoon, and usually I'm the one telling her to hold on while I find her dad. She's also dropped by from time to time with her Grandmom/Mom (G/M), but she's always very very shy, hiding behind legs and not saying word one.
There is - or has been - a custody battle recently, where the birth mother (BM) who dropped baby off at grandma's five years ago and dropped off the face of the earth, now wants baby back. It seems there was a car accident during the summer where G/M was on some prescription pain medication she shouldn't have been driving on, and BM got wind of it. In the ER after the accident, there was a mass found on G/M's neck, but it was biopsied and no problems. There was also a mass seen on little one's kidney (liver? memory on this one a little vague), but not much was said more about that. Also, since then, there has been much discussion of the time BM showed up for a couple of weeks and signed away rights to the little one, and now claims it's all a forgery, despite being notarized in her attorney's office. Honestly, it's a horrible soap opera.
Now that you have the back story, we can get into the real hairy stuff.
Because of this child's questionable custody status, I guess, and for whatever other reasons, she's been a Medicaid baby all her life. The HR lady at our office has specifically prompted DM to add his wife and little one every year during our open enrollment, and finally this year he did. After the accident, and we were all a little pleased when little one's perpetual ear infections had not made her impending tonsilectomy (sp) a pre-existing condition.
So she had her tonsils out last Wednesday. Sunday they were at the ER. Monday they were back at the ER. By Tuesday of this week, they were in the next state at the Women's and Children's Hospital, and little one had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Now they're saying Stage 4.
OK, here's the deal. I'm catching most of this second hand. I've not been told most of it directly, and even if I had, it's not my business to tell DM's business, and certainly not my business to tell his daughter's. I'm preaching hard to the other people in my department that we don't have the right to say why he's not in. He's not in. No is a complete sentence. Can someone else help you? Can I take a message for him? No, I don't know when he'll be back in. Are you sure someone else cannot help you?
Meanwhile, despite not having been told any of this firsthand, I want to do something. I knit. This is what I do. Can I start a chemo cap for the child, having heard third hand that they're hoping she'll (gulp) survive three rounds of chemo? Is it negative thinking to do that? I'm thinking I can knit her a cap and some matching fingerless wristwarmers - I know my hands were always cold when I had an IV. Is it presumptious to do this before I'm told? Is it presumptious to do this for a child who refuses to speak to me, even when directly spoken to?
When the owner of the company called me this morning, I told her we needed to quit wringing our hands and do something productive. She knows the child's pediatrician - ask if we can organize some kind of blood marrow screening at the shop or something. I probably snapped at her, just trying to be proactive for once in this child's life - I don't know. I want to help. I want to stage my help correctly. I want to be supportive. I want to set a proper tone for the office.
Hold my hand here, somebody -