Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The family way -- Part 2

Scroll down for Part 1.

In the checkered history of Chicago crime there have been loan sharks, extortionists, hit men.... One infamous illustration in the enforcement of a lapse in discipline among the associates of an organized crime family involved the squeezing of the unfortunate lapsee's head in a large vise, conveniently located in his basement workshop. His eyeballs popped out first. Then his head more or less exploded as the vise was tightened still further.

Now I don't recount this event merely to ruin your appetite but, rather, to reassure you that, as a native Chicagoan who's been around some, I have developed something of an appreciation for criminality when practiced at an extreme level. The habitual jaywalker does not command my attention. A mere pickpocket is beneath my notice. Even the thug who bashes his victim with a pipe before stealing a purse does not impress me. And not just because I have attended meetings of the Chicago City Council either. Thankfully, I have managed to avoid direct contact with most among the criminal classes (meetings at City Hall aside); indeed, part of my ceaseless study of the seamy underside of society is to help me recognize it when I spot it at a distance and avoid it to the extent humanly possible.

So when I say that Older Daughter's descriptions of the tactics employed by the IVF clinic reminded me of the worst sorts of criminals ever set loose upon this earth, I do not speak as some naif who blanches at the first whack of the knee cap (assuming, of course, that the knee cap is not my own).

These people take full and complete advantage of couples who are desperate to have children. They did, admittedly, enter into a written contract, giving them three shots at a baby for an allegedly prix fixe, complete with a possibility of partial refund if certain contingencies occurred. Of course, the amount would have to be paid up front and in full; as any reader of fairy tales can tell you, possessory liens on first-born babies can get complicated.

Like the prix fixe at a fancy restaurant, the stated price for the IVF was eye-poppingly large (this without a vise). I was asked to read the contract, of course. It was sprinkled liberally with trap doors -- one false move and the couple can be booted out of the program. But, along with Hank's father (Hank's father also having trained as a lawyer), I concluded that there were two choices: Their Way or No Way. And many of the trap doors were merely designed to render the possibility of refund illusory, not necessarily to excuse any obligation to at least attempt performance.

But this allegedly prix fixe contract soon reminded me of the slimiest used car dealerships as opposed to the fancier restaurants. "So, you like the car, do you, bud?" says the ugly man in the uglier plaid coat. "Nice price, too. But maybe you're gonna want an engine with this baby. That's extra."

As medication was extra with the IVF contract.

And the medication costs also ran to the thousands of dollars. In advance. As in, 'we will drop you from the program if you don't have the money wired to us within 10 minutes.'

That's not an exact quote; it captures the essence, however.

Through all this, as they mortgaged their future, Older Daughter and Hank were expected to remain cool, calm and collected.

The procedure won't work if you get upset.

To be continued....

2 comments:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well just buggers...

smiles, bee
tyvc

Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

"The procedure won't work if you get upset."

As a matter of fact, I'm a bit upset of the contents of this post, eh. Informative yet I felt so weary. :(

Thanks for the share,
Peny@Top 5 Healthcare Settings in US with High Demand for Nurses