My $1000 Commute

Thursday night dumped a fair amount of snow on the NYC area.  It was hard to tell the exact quantity because the wind had blown it around so much.  But at 8 am on Friday morning, Ari and I were knee deep in it digging out my car.  Normally I’m at work by then ,but given the forecast, my employer had pushed therapy time back by a whole half hour.

I should say, I happen to be very proud of the hospital at which I am employed.  We provide top-notch services, conduct cutting edge research, and truly care about our patients’ quality of life.  They’re also pretty good at acknowledging employee achievements and make a decent effort toward employee engagement.  One little thing though- I sometimes question their commitment to keeping their employees, you know, alive.  So, 40 minutes later, despite the NJ State of Emergency, I was driving to work just like any other day (including the morning of Hurricane Sandy), just this time across the slick, white roads.

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Not the face of a happy driver

Now, I have the utmost respect for people who risk their lives to provide essential services during emergencies and inclement weather (I’m looking at you nurses, EMT, firefighters, public works professionals, etc.), but the thing is, I am not one of these people!  Nobody is going to die or even be at much of a detriment by missing one speech therapy session.  Even a patient needing a dysphagia evaluation can be kept on a more conservative diet until the next day.  I work in a rehab hospital which means that most of my patients have been followed by an acute care SLP up until admission. So why are we so strongly encouraged to brave the elements?  My best guess is the bottom line.  Missed therapy means non-compliance with insurance which means my employer doesn’t get paid.  It’s a business, I get it.  But aren’t there alternative solutions?  Maybe those who can’t make it in on a snowy day have to work the weekend to make up missed treatment time.  It’d be a pain, but definitely safer.  Does anyone else work in a hospital that has a better system?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Anyway, these were the perturbed thoughts rumbling around me as I dug out my car, as I convinced my sweet husband I would be fine, as I bumped along the highway at 30 mph, and as I listened to my coworkers’ recount their terrifying slides down hills and unintended pit stops in snow banks.  The kicker though is the $1000+ damage I incurred on my way to work Friday morning when I drove through a pile of snow in my lane on the Parkway.  By the time I saw the snow, it was too late so, with a car to my right, I plowed on through.  It was powdery snow, and I actually cheered when I made it through okay.  That is, until I heard the rattling.  So, with my high deductible, this little snowy ride to work will cost me a whopping $1001.50 (that toll ain’t free!).  Should have stayed in bed.

2014-01-04 12.19.59

Could have commuted to Madrid for the cost of that little crack

One more thing, and this part is important.  I would like to point out that, despite my ranting, I am aware of the following:

  • It was my choice to go to work on Friday (next time I will be calling in late)
  • I probably should have anticipated a possible road obstruction and have been driving more slowly because of it
  • My hospital would not be able to do such great work if no one showed up (or if we were dead, or if we needed a better paying job to finance our car repairs, but whatever)
  • It’s only money.  This, of course, is the big one.  While a significant chunk of change, this expense is not going to change our lives.  We are grateful that everyone got to work in one piece, and if a car couldn’t be so lucky, so be it.

Ah, nothing like a little perspective to soften the blow.

Stay safe out there!

~Sam

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One thought on “My $1000 Commute

  1. It is very very rare that my hospital closes for weather. If my outpatient site is closed I can either go to the main hospital or use a personal day. If the hospital is closed- then all employees have to use a vacation day or take a day without pay.

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