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.