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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lucky, no breaks



I fell off a ladder and landed on my back in the driveway. It was maybe a 5 – 6 foot drop. While not a big fall, it did knock the wind out of me. While I was pretty stiff and a bit scuffed up, nothing appeared to be broken. Some folks might go to the hospital to get checked out, but not me. Heck, I didn't go to the doctor's much even when I did have insurance.

I'm a big fat guy, not a young as I once was, so I'm lucky not to have broken anything. In my defense, I do get a fair amount of physical exercise. One the things that probably saved me was my years of martial arts training. Falling was a big part of my training.

Over the last few years there were probably a number of times I should have gone to the hospital. A few years back while picking up firewood, my pickarroon glanced off a log and embedded itself in my leg. That left a nice scar. Probably should have at least gotten a tetanus shot. Oh well.

At least I've learned to wear safety glasses. My day to day sunglasses are actually tinted safety glasses. No fancy Ray Bans for me. My sunglasses say Dewalt. The extra impact resistance has come in handy more than a few times. One of the most useful inventions for us aging do it yourselfers is safety glasses with bifocal readers built in. No longer do I have to choose between eye protection and actually seeing what I'm doing.

My last pair got ruined when one of the lenses got a big glob of marine adhesive on one of the lenses. My first thought was darn, I ruined a pair of safety glasses. Then my second thought was duh, that's exactly why I was wearing them. Sure beat the heck out of a trip to the ER.

I'm on a disability retirement from my days as Firefighter. I don't make a big deal about it, but my lungs are fragile. Due to a legal loophole, workman's compensation doesn't have to pay the medical expenses of my condition. That's fine. The treatments I used to get were generally ineffective or made things worse. A couple times they overdosed me on medications. That was no fun. One medicine I was lucky to have refused. The next year it was taken off the market because it caused heart attacks.

As you can imagine, I'm hesitant to sign up for the new medial insurance. Doctors and I rarely get along. When my old plan got to almost $1,000/month, I had to drop it. Here's the thing about insurance, even if you have “good” insurance, a catastrophic illness will still bankrupt you. My parents had what was considered one of the best plans in the state. Mom came down with MS, then cancer. The things not covered by insurance bankrupted them.

As I see it, my options are like this. I could get a cheap plan and pay for most things out of pocket, which is what I'm doing now. I could really stretch the budget and get a better plan, but face financial ruin from a catastrophic illness anyway. Not much choice.

There are times when I wished I lived in the civilized world where the average person doesn't have to make these decisions. Instead, we have the worse of both worlds. In a truly Libertarian Capitalist society I could pick between competing medical providers. Prices would be common knowledge, as would the quality of care. In a socialist system, the state would pay for everything and I'd only have to worry about paying my taxes. `

I'm not afraid of dying. Death and I have gotten close enough to shake hands a time or two. Everyone dies. Right now, I'm enjoying life. After years of struggling to regain some semblance of health. (no thanks to the doctors) I'm having a good time. I refuse to let the fear of illness or injury keep me from living.

That being said, I'm taking precautions I never bothered with before, like good first aid kits and safety equipment.

Well, I'm going back up the ladder. There's still a project that needs finishing.

-Sixbears

17 comments:

  1. Ouch! I feel your pain - you were luckier than I was - broke three ribs, It took months and months to heal. Be careful on that darn ladder, please!

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    1. Ouch for you!

      Got to soak in a hot tub last night. That did much for my aches and pains.

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  2. Yikes, falls from such a height can be fatal. 6bears ya gotta have a partner to hold the ladder! Come On Man!

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    1. I might have fallen on them and then all they'd be is a greasy spot in the driveway. :)

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  3. To this day I still slap the mat when I fall. Some things die hard. Be careful out there.

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    1. A month ago, I was stepping over the 2' high ply barrier that I was using to keep my young pup safe. Of course, she walked right under my feet and I zigged while she zagged. Debarked my shin on the ply as I went down but instinctively slapped the mat (concrete!). Yay for training. Boo for the broom handle that fell across my forehead as I landed. Swore first...laughed second!

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  4. Glad nothing was broken. Falls are hell on us slightly aged folks!

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    1. Don't know if I'm lucky or tough . . . probably luck.

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  5. Having jumped out of a perfectly good plane on a number of occasions, knowing the parachute landing roll is crucial. Hang on there brother.

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    1. I'm feeling pretty good today.

      I'd parachute out of a plane . . . if the wing was on fire - a lot!

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  6. Being fat, and having ridden a ladder down into the water between a ship and a pier a few years ago, ladders scare me. You're describing exactly the sort of thing that makes my damn ankles shake every time I get on a ladder. Not that it stops me, but yeah, your story made me pucker right up.

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    1. I used to make my living on ladders back in my firefighter days. If I had to fall off one at least it was a short one.

      That must have been a scary ride.

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  7. Glad you're still amongst the living, some folks have died from simply falling over backwards. I'm sure you're right about the martial arts training.

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    1. I must have done something right, thanks to training. I've had worse injuries tripping over two stairs. Life is funny like that sometimes.

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  8. Brother I have some of the best medicine to take.It is called recovery zymes by Michaels. These help you recover faster by repressing inflammation by breaking up debris in injury area.

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