We were traveling back east for a family reunion and had a brief stopover in Cleveland. I walked Rory and Henry (then 11 and 9) around the concourse so they could burn off a little energy as they had both been getting really bored and antsy on the plane despite Game Boys and other distractions. In the most crowded part of the concourse full of summer travelers, the always-looking-for-excitement Rory suddenly falls to the ground and pretends, very convincingly, to be having a grand mal seizure.
At first, I just rolled my eyes with annoyance. This was so Rory. Butpeople were yelling for someone to call 911 (no cell phones yet). I knew the ER would never accept a diagnosis of “kid faking grand mal seizure just to annoy mother” (the correct answer) and just let us go. But social workers would almost certainly be in my future if I refused care for him. My stingy HMO was never going to pay for an ambulance ride and extensive emergency room tests which I could easily see running into the thousands. As a divorced working mom, this trip was already a huge financial stretch. We were going to miss our connection and not be able to get another one; flights were running completely full that time of year. And worst of all, we were going to be stranded in Cleveland.