It has been an interesting experience to have a bone-breaking accident during my senior citizen age of 65. My blog will be on “hold” for a few days while I have surgery to take out the metal that was originally put in to help my bones heal. I must say, however, that I have truly learned the meaning of the word “accident” after this little affair; I’ve had a first-hand experience with multiple health insurance companies; and I’ve been reminded of why I live in a small town of 10,000 in a part of America where people are genuine.
Last August I took a nasty fall on a poorly maintained piece of sidewalk where I worked. I broke my left elbow, right wrist, and nose all in a few seconds. I was walking down the sidewalk to my car carrying several framed photographs in the crook of my left arm. My right arm swung at my side and my purse hung from my right shoulder. I glanced up briefly to see where I had parked my car and that’s all she wrote. The toe of my foot caught in a spot where the slabs of concrete didn’t quite meet. [At this point I will apologize to all who inquired about my poor balance. True, I fell, but it wasn’t my balance that caused it. However, I didn’t need to give you a prickly reply.]
Fortunately, my cell phone fell out of my purse onto the sidewalk and, while I could see my wrist was ballooning up, I managed to dial 911.Two of my former students came with the fire engine and an ambulance [talk about embarrassing], and managed to cart me off to the hospital fifteen minutes away. Of course, the first problem was remembering which hospital my insurance would cover since the insurance had recently changed. That resolved, I got excellent care at the emergency room. Then the question arose about the only surgeon on call: would he be covered by my insurance? As it happened, he would be. [An aside about surgeons: I believe the more unique your problem–such as my elbow–the more intrigued your surgeon will be. I had multiple areas to work on. Fantastic!]
Like an old used car, I had to wait three days in the hospital for parts before they could repair me. But after the surgery, as I healed, I had occupational therapy which helped me relearn how to feed myself, open door knobs, and put on my seat belt.
In the meantime, the insurance company I had had was denying all claims, the insurance company I was now with was denying all claims, and eventually it was correctly deemed a worker’s comp accident. I now have three huge files of correspondence from these people. Then when I added Medicare–two months after my fall–they sent me letters double checking that they hadn’t paid anything for which they were not responsible. I often ask myself how folks older than I manage to keep all these inquiries straight.
While I am the bionic woman at the moment, I soon will not be. The screws in my elbow are fully visible and my wrist could use more range of motion. So my bionic parts are now going to exit. They were only necessary to heal the bones and now their continued presence is uncomfortable.
The bottom line of this whole ugly episode that I will soon put behind me, is that it has reminded me of what a blessing it is to live in a small town where word, especially bad news, travels fast. I have had no end of help from friends, acquaintances, and well-wishers. They fed me, stayed with me, drove me to doctor’s appointments, and cheered me up. I am truly blessed and that is one of the reasons I write about life in a small town in the middle of America. While this life may lack a bit in privacy, it sure makes up for that when you need friends.