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. (It’s a real problem and I’ve actually thrown up when having lab work done.) 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 I know there are many people who wouldn’t be able to. The fact that a medical accident can put so much finical burden on a person or a family is inconceivable to me. This country is just not set up to help people in need which isn’t great. (“Make America great again!” …blah, blah, blah)
The doctor and staff were very nice and understanding of how nauseous I become around blood. They put on some “spa” music while the MD stitched my chin and the nurses held my hands throughout the procedure; reminding me that everything was going to be okay and about my upcoming trip to Mexico!
I left Urgent Care a few hours later and quickly realized that my chin was the least of my injuries! When I fell I had also scrapped my palms and forearms, leaving me barely able to even bathe myself. I am so incredibly lucky to have Mike, who has helped me with everything from getting my antibiotics to washing my hair to cooking dinner to cleaning my wounds and everything in between.
I am also lucky to have family and friends nearby who are so loving and supportive; 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 who 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); my neighbor, Kathy, who brushed and braided my hair for me before going back to work.
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; but it is hard with the stress of having stitches and not being able to use my hands. I also can’t shake the sadness that comes with realizing “the system” is not set up for people who don’t have insurance or close friends and family nearby.
Small picture: we leave for Mexico this Saturday so I am hoping all goes well and I continue to stay on the mend. Big picture: people need help and compassion when things come up in life. It breaks my heart to think about a single parent or senior citizen having to go at something similar to this alone.