My No Negative June is coming to an end and it has been hard to remain positive over the past few days; granted this is because of an injury that has left me feeling pretty helpless.
This past Saturday Mike and I went for a bike ride and, as we were riding downhill, approaching a red light, I face planted off of my bike and onto the street. I was putting my water bottle away when I noticed the red light and – because we were going down hill – I nervously tried to reduce my speed. The problem was I only used my left hand/break which caused my front tire to stop but not my back. The next thing I knew I was facedown in the street with blood gushing out of my chin.
Luckily an officer was nearby and she stopped to help us. Unluckily, I don’t have insurance until July 1st (tomorrow) since I recently changed jobs. This means all of my medical expenses have to be paid out of pocket.
The officer who stopped was really sweet. She called the fire department and EMT because I think my injuries looked a lot worse than they were. When I see (or hear or think about) blood, I become very nauseous. Since my chin was bleeding I felt very faint but I didn’t feel like I had a concussion or anything too serious. Nonetheless, the officer thought it was best to call for medical assistance. Up until this point I was relatively calm but as soon as one of the first responders came and told me I would likely need stitches – and I remembered I didn’t have insurance – I started freaking out.
The first responders took my blood pressure and were concerned because it was so low. They wanted me to take an ambulance to the ER. I immediately thought about all of the expensive ambulance bills horror stories I’ve heard and started to cry. There was no way I was getting in an ambulance without insurance.
The fact that I had just been involved in an accident – and was still bleeding – but had to be concerned about medical bills and insurance is disappointing. It astounds me that we don’t have a publicly funded healthcare system in America…
Luckily Mike was able to get a hold of a friend who graciously came and picked me up and took me to an Urgent Care nearby. Mike stayed with our bikes until our other close friends were able to come and get him.
At Urgent Care I had to pay $150 for the office visit alone and an additional $350 for stitches in my chin. A $500 bill! Thankfully I can afford this unexpected medical bill but truly feel for the folks who would have been put over their financial threshold because of one doctors office visit.
The doctor and staff were thankfully very understanding of how nauseous I become around blood. They even put on some “spa” music while the MD stitched my chin, while the nurses held my hands throughout the procedure. Mike & I chuckle at the site of mellow music playing on an iPhone nearby and both my hands tightly clinging to the nurses for comfort. As you can probably tell, I am a bit of a baby when it comes to these kinds of things and might be perceived as melodramatic… No matter, I’m just grateful for a gracious medical team!
I left Urgent Care a few hours later and quickly realized that my chin was actually the easiest thing to deal with in comparison to my other injuries. I had also scrapped my palms, forearms, knees, and maybe bruised my ribs? And while they were surface level wounds, my palms made a lot of things difficult to do Including bathing and brushing my hair; two things I like to do daily. Thank goodness for living with your boyfriend who can help you bathe and neighbors who will brush and French braid your hair… My ribs were better after a day or two but it was hard to sleep – because any movement cause rippling pain – those first few nights.
I am lucky to have Mike who helped me a lot while I recovered. And family and friends nearby. My mom and stepdad came over the day of my accident and brought me flowers, Neosporin, and pineapple (the doctor told me pineapple helps with inflammation). Our friends Sam, Shelby, Conor, and baby Owen spent their Saturday afternoon in the waiting room after driving me and Mike to Urgent Care (not to mention Shelby’s daily text messages checking in on me and making sure I am okay).
Aside from having a good supportive system to help me while I heal, it has been a painful and frustrating few days. Tomorrow is the start of July and this experience has put a kink in my project of No Negativity this month. I am trying to keep things in perspective and realize 1. my injuries could have been a lot worse and 2. I will, of course, be better soon. The one thing I can’t shake is the sadness that comes with realizing our “system” is not set up for people who don’t have insurance or close friends and family nearby.