emergency room to the right. urgent care to the left. it was a choice point.
as we drove from the ski hill back to our town, i was worried. terribly worried. but my worry was less about my two broken wrists. it was less about the pain. it was less about all the things i could see – already – that i couldn’t do for myself. it was less about my piano and, thus, my life. it was less about how long it would take to heal and what that healing would look like. it was less about how important a role david would play for me in this process of getting-my-wrists back. it was less about how this injury would impact me.
my worry? it was about what it would cost.
i wracked my brain for all the research i had done in selecting this year’s healthcare plan and how the deductibles work and what is covered and what is not covered and whether x-rays were completely billable sans satisfying our deductible. i worried about the cost of the emergency room, the cost of the ER staff, the cost of radiology, the cost of casting. there was a moment, driving through paddock lake, that i began to sob, thinking of the financial worry of all this. my wrists throbbing, our health “insurance” a whopping $29,000 a year out-of-pocket, and i was sobbing, in the middle of post-injury shock, at the worry of the additional burden this would put on us.
and that’s pretty pitiful. what a pathetic country in which we live that the first set of thoughts when injured is not getting well, is not healing.
i believe in an effort to more fully understand what i was going through, ptom told me he read a few blogposts written by or about people who had broken both wrists. it occurred to me that might be a good idea so i googled them.
the first post made me made me frustrated. after telling the story of her injury, deborah, who lives in new zealand, spoke about her experience with the socialized healthcare in that country. i wept as i read the motto is “prevent, care, recover,” and there was no cost to her – at all – through diagnosis, treatment, healing, extra care helpers, rehabilitation, transportation. she lost no work salary during the time of her recuperation. every single thing was covered and paid. she states that, “this has been a huge relief to me and has definitely aided in my recovery, because I’m not stressed.”
why am i so amazed by such a humanitarian approach to a nation’s care of its populace? is that not of utmost priority? should our population have to worry about seeking care to remain in or regain good health? what kind of country does not put the health of its people first?
as we approached the hospital in kenosha we had a choice. emergency room or urgent care. i asked david to park by urgent care. in the middle of pain emanating from both my wrists, two slings fashioned by ski patrol around my neck, i thought i remembered that maybe the co-pay or coverage would be more palatable in urgent care. we sat in big red for a few extra minutes; i repeated i wasn’t sure what to do or not do. not sure about the differentiation between urgent care and the emergency room, i thought we could at least ask if urgent care could handle what i presented – a need for x-rays and exam and treatment.
we walked into a crowded waiting room. indeed, they could handle my injuries. we waited hours with all the others there, many of them with masks covering their mouths and noses. everyone looked worried.
a very kind doctor examined me, did x-rays, cast me, gave me directions and sent me on my way with follow-up to an orthopedic doctor in a few days. at that office, a very kind doctor examined me, re-cast me, gave me directions and sent me on my way with a follow-up and more x-rays in ten days, a likely change of cast-type in four weeks, physical/occupational therapy on its heels and a standing invitation to see the reigning hand specialist whose expertise had been proffered.
and, of course, we haven’t received any billing yet. i’m quite sure that will be the icing on the cake, well, so to speak.
or maybe i should say – that will add insult to injury.