By: Revanche

Baby’s first serious injury

November 30, 2016

JuggerBaby takes a hit (medically) and we do financially, but it's okA More than Minor Injury was sustained by JuggerBaby.

We shared many moments of toddler distress, and equal parental distress for the pain ze was experiencing.Β  Zir whimpers of pain were pathetic, especially for a kid who shakes off bleeding wounds if there’s something better to pay attention to, and heartrending when it escalated into cries of distress.

After a worried hour of coddling, icing, comforting and feeding but no resolution, we ended up at the ER. They were, despite zir panicked screams and tears, caring and efficient, trying their best to put zir at ease and bribing with many many stickers. Despite their best efforts, we ended up back in the hospital doing follow-ups when that treatment didn’t resolve the issue, and then several more hours picking up medical supplies.

Prognosis? About three weeks of healing.

If that’s all it is, and I’m hoping and praying that’s all it is, then it could have been a lot worse. JuggerBaby left a trail of snot and tears streaked across a few of my shirts so ze might have a different opinion, but I’ve tended to far worse wounds in my day. For now, ze isn’t an unhappy camper, ze is more comfortable and is coping bravely.

There were a lot of moments when I didn’t feel anything in particular. It wasn’t panic numbness or guilt-spacing out, it was knowing that this was painful and inconvenient and difficult, and just plain awful as parents seeing their child in pain. But foremost in my mind was thanks for our good fortune in life right now, because even as we tackled one hurdle after another, it was entirely manageable. Tiring, even exhausting, hauling many pounds of distressed child, trying not to jostle zir, but as long as ze comes out of it fine in the end, that’s all we have to really care about.

We are so fortunate that we have good health care and insurance.

The ER visit copay was $100, our followup copay was $20. Our FSA covers that with ease. The five x-rays were torturous, and the casting was worse, but we didn’t have to ask how much every single test or exam cost. I know exactly how much it costs to take X-rays for dogs and I swallow hard whenever we have to take Seamus back for another $200-400 visit – human medicine is multiple times more expensive. Part of this is because we chose an HMO, part of this is because the level of plan we have in the HMO is really good. Our premiums are relatively high, but the tradeoff was not having to think and worry about the cost of every item.

Intertwined with that lack of worry was the level of care we got. When I wanted an extra x-ray to be absolutely sure there wasn’t a third problem lurking, we had already been surprised twice, the technician got right on the phone to request it, and made sure that we got authorized for exactly what we asked for.

In my decades-long history with medical care, I’ve been seen by grossly incompetent doctors, strings and scads of them, who dismissed my pain as imaginary or in my head. I was prepared to go to war for my child, but I didn’t have to. They accepted that zir pain was legitimate and treated it as such.

We are so fortunate to have money.

We’re not rich, hence my iron-clad rule that we always save first and never spend more than we make. That means that we have reserves in case of emergencies.

That means that cost didn’t determine if we would get the medical supplies and clothing ze needed to be warm and comfortable.

We can afford ten dollars for a cast cover for daycare, since they won’t be able to take the same caution we do to keep zir cast dry. When it became clear that zir arm wouldn’t fit into any sleeves, I had a hoarded gift card to cover the cost of a warm coat – 50% off, a bargain hunter never quits!

We are so fortunate to have the mental space to plan ahead.

I always keep an eye out for clothing 6-12 month sizes larger than ze is currently wearing, gathering them piece by piece so that when ze has a growth spurt, we’re not scrambling to keep zir dressed. Ze needs looser, roomier clothes for a month? No problem, I dug out the little stash of larger clothes. We’ll have enough clothes to last a week.

We are so fortunate that our jobs aren’t run by tyrannical nincompoops.

When we had to drop everything and go back to the hospital, without a question we both got ready to go. We spent the time we needed taking care of our child with a second thought. The nurse asked us if we needed doctor’s notes during one of the visits and we both just looked at her blankly for a couple minutes before realizing why she asked.

What an utterly upper middle class reaction.

It’s been a decade since that was my life but I remember shift work. I remember not being able to make a doctor’s appointment without finding a replacement to cover for me. (My managers never used to find coverage for us so, sick or bleeding, you had to cover your shift. They sucked.)

I remember that I couldn’t afford to lose the wages by being out sick, so I worked through illness, and pain, and without a doubt exacerbated my fibro. I had to suck it up, I didn’t see a doctor.

(And that’s when I was lucky enough to have health insurance. In the year before I was working a full time job, in the early days of my fibro, we couldn’t afford health insurance. I didn’t know what the “oh, self-insured” comments meant for years but opted out of the repeat humiliation of trying to be seen at the local clinic. When I did get an appointment, without fail, a mid-50s male doctor would look at my x-rays and tell me that my pain was in my head. There’s a reason I look at male doctors sideways to this day.)

I hate that this happened but …

Comparing this ordeal with when I had to deal with Mom’s illnesses, the near-hyperventilating math trying to figure out where the money was going to come from, while navigating the near impossible, many hours-long waits in the Medicaid-accepting medical offices – it’s just no comparison at all.

Money and good care makes life a thousand times easier. I cannot be more grateful that while I couldn’t provide the care that Mom deserved, we can now for JuggerBaby.

At this moment in time, even with all the worry, numbness, anxiety, and wondering what the heck is going to happen, we are in an incredibly good place for this and I cannot help being grateful. I cannot let it go without passing on some of our good fortune when there are so many in the world doing without, or suffering terribly.

There are so many, but right now I’m thinking of Aleppo. I’m thinking of the X Clinics and especially the one in Texas serving rural populations who have the least access to reproductive healthcare.

:: Who would you support when your cup runneth over? What are you grateful for today? Have you ever broken a bone?

35 Responses to “Baby’s first serious injury”

  1. Money Beagle says:

    Hope everything turns out OK in the end. Neither of our kids has yet to break anything so no casts yet, but our daughter did once go headfirst into the corner of the bed, so it was off to get stitches for her.
    Money Beagle recently posted…Running On Thanksgiving: The Race That Wasn’tMy Profile

  2. Our first experience was a pony bead up the nose. So no broken bones, but the ER visit was extremely expensive. (We have a deductible and coinsurance, not just copay for most medical things.) https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/dissecting-an-emergency-room-bill/
    It actually ended up being more than $1400 because they hadn’t sent all their bills yet.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…RBOCMy Profile

  3. NZ Muse says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that and I hope JB recovers quick pronto. What a scary thing to go through for all of you.

    I would say all of my adult jobs have been very middle class in that sense and I hate to think about navigating kids with a strict boss/inflexible job.

    An old friend is currently supporting her mother through months of surgery, recovery, rehab – it is so exhausting for them both and so miserable. She thankfully can afford private care and is looking towards that – if she can get her mum home sooner and pay for therapists etc to come visit, and get her out of the ward, it’s worth it to her. It really is making me lean toward taking out some level of hospital/specialist health insurance in the future, certainly before kids.

    Am currently trying to prod T to seek out someone to see about his back pain, and we’ll deal with the cost. It doesn’t matter.
    NZ Muse recently posted…I like big bucks and I cannot lieMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks!

      It’s such a vast gulf of difference between working class (retail, warehouse, labor, etc) and middle class jobs – I can really appreciate the benefits of being able to choose to leave the working class job.

      Taking care of an elderly parent would be so much harder. Or maybe it just feels that way because I did that as a working class jobber.

      What kind of healthcare options could you consider? I assume it’d be supplemental?

  4. I’m so sorry! I hope JuggerBaby heals quickly. Baguette was in a cast for two weeks when she was two and a half–she broke her leg coming off the bed wrong. Fortunately we were able to afford the care (mostly, but not completely in-network). And also fortunately, at that age, it is all about the bone growth.

    http://www.tragicsandwich.com/babys-first-cast/

    • Revanche says:

      Oh poor Baguette! But 2 weeks sounds incredibly fast. I guess that’s the one benefit of it happening so young, they heal so well.

  5. I’m sorry you went through such a stressful time with JB. A child’s injury is experienced so acutely by the parents, and it sounds like this was a doozy. They mend so quickly though, and I hope you see that soon. I’m glad that this experience at least had the effect of allowing you to reflect with gratitude upon your good health coverage and care, and your humane work culture. You’ve seen both sides, so your insight here is unique. I hope you don’t feel guilty for your relatively good situation – but it’s great that you are aware of it. I suspect that before too long, you’ll be making big differences in the lives of people who don’t have the advantages you have won. All the best to JB!
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Financial Freedom At 92 Years Old: Desire & ContentmentMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you – I do hope ze heals as quickly as everything says ze will. I don’t feel guilt for being fortunate, instead I feel gratitude! It’s hard not to be thankful when I’m aware how much worse it can be for others.

  6. Poor baby! And poor parents, too. I hope JuggerBaby heals quickly and am glad for your financial stability that lets this experience be easily managed.
    Little Miss Moneybags recently posted…About those consignment sales…My Profile

  7. I spent the better part of my childhood and teenager life breaking just about everything. For a klutz, I was remarkably fearless. The one that really sent my mom over the edge was the broken jaw. I was such a bloody mess when I walked in the house that she actually ran out of the house with me to go find my dad. But…I got to ride in an ambulance and my neighborhood friends thought I was SO COOL. Sigh. I guess that’s my way of saying that I hope, in the end, this becomes a good story.

    So sorry to hear that JB isn’t doing well. I hope, hope, hope for a speedy recovery without complications. And you’re so right that we are so fortunate to be able to cover emergencies. (Also this is part of why I was too cowardly this year to switch from an HMO to a PPO. My insurance is just TOO good for $10 less a month.)
    Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies recently posted…Doubting Your Charitable GivingMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      That is an amazing story – how on earth did you break your JAW? And $10 a month? Hold on to that and never let go! πŸ™‚

  8. Joe says:

    Sorry to hear about JB. I hope JB is healing up now. It’s always tough to see your kid hurt.
    Joe recently posted…Wrapping Up Our Thailand Trip in Rayong and ChonburiMy Profile

  9. Karen says:

    Poor baby and poor parents! I hope JuggerBaby recovers quickly!

  10. Poor little kidlet! I’m sorry JuggerBaby got hurt and JuggerParents suffered along, too!!

    When Dear Ex and I took M’hijito to his first pediatrician (a total ass, s peaking of middle-aged male doctors), we were told to expect to make several visits to the ER during his childhood. Said he: this was normal for boy children. Since I have a real psychological thing about hospitals and especially about ERs, this was not good news.

    Fortunately, the kid was one of the brighter versions of maleness. He was not given to climbing to the top of flagpoles (yeah: one of his little pals did that) or throwing himself off walls or sticking forks in light plugs. The only time we had to take him to an ER was when he had an asthma attack and turned blue. That was scary, I’ll tellya! So was the horrible shot they gave him, which they admitted would be very painful.

    Thank the hevvins he outgrew the asthma. ERs and hospitals are no fun! Hope you don’t have to enjoy any more visits soon!
    Funny about Money recently posted…Do you need an extended auto warranty?My Profile

  11. Oh no! Hospital visits with small children are the absolute worst. I hope JB (and you!) are all recovering well. Nick got very sick when he was 6 weeks old, and ended up at Children’s with a spinal tap, catheter, and a three day visit. It was the most terrifying part of my life, and we felt so blessed that our health insurance covered everything but $1,000. Our employers gave us time off, no questions asked. These two things (and high quality health care near our home) gave us the ability to instead focus on a very sick child. It took away the other worries & allowed us to focus on what mattered most.

    Sending healthy thoughts your way!
    Hawaii Planner recently posted…2017 budget planningMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      A SPINAL tap? Oh my gosh, and at 6 weeks old?? That’s absolutely terrifying. So glad that you had good health care at the time.

      So far, so good! Thanks for the healthy thoughts, we have a couple more weeks to go, and I’m sure we can use it all πŸ™‚

  12. Sabrina you-know-who says:

    I’ve been too swamped to keep up with your blog (or anyone else’s), so I’m just seeing this tonight. I’m so sorry to hear of JB’s injury. Poor little thing! It’s just so hard to see your little one in pain. I hope that the recovery goes smoothly and quickly.

  13. When you were relating the story about a Nurse asking if you needed a note. I had the same reaction as you. I am so encrusted in my middle class bubble that this thought doesn’t even cross my mind. We truly are fortunate and hopefully your baby is much better now πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…How Quitting Caffeine Changed My LifeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      We really are, and these are the seemingly little things that remind me how lucky we are all not to be stuck with those issues any longer. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  14. Dar says:

    I live in Canada with its free health care – great for emergencies like the one you just faced, but a very slow system for people with chronic conditions – long waiting lists for referrals to specialists and for tests. I lived in the US for a few years and had health coverage by an HMO via my employer. It was a very speedy and high quality system but I always felt terrible for those who didn’t have access to the same coverage.
    Dar recently posted…500My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’ve had the good fortune to have experienced the terrible side of our health care, so I appreciate our coverage now even more, particularly with a chronic illness. I could see how my condition would only seem to be urgent to me, and not my health care providers, in the Canadian system, and that would make life rather unbearable. Again, it makes me grateful for what we have and want better for everyone.

  15. Oh, man! I’m sorry all this happened! I have one that’s the same—pain doesn’t phase them, so when the screaming/crying/panicking starts, we know it’s immediately time to head to the ER. I don’t think I keep my cool as well as you.

    And yes, the money aspect of it all does help, and having reasonable bosses. I’m lucky I don’t have one right now, but his is pretty understanding and flexible in these situations. I’m glad that things are in a better state now for you than they were back then.
    Femme Frugality recently posted…How to Switch Checking AccountsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It does help to have a kid whose baseline is “mellow about minor injuries”! Otherwise I would have hesitated longer to go to the ER, but in this case, it made sense. Which is what makes me so mad about Congressmen suggesting that we should be making medical decisions based on the economics and not the medical necessity.

  16. That sucks! Even though you are in a financially stable place to deal with the costs, your child is still sick, and that must feel awful. I’ve had emergency visits with my dog that instantly brought me to tears (everything turned out okay in the end, though!), but I can’t quite understand the pain of being a parent in a similar situation. In some ways it’s the same – they’re whining and in pain and can’t even tell you what hurts – so I’m imagining it’s like that, just crazy amplified. Lots of love, Revanche! Here’s hoping this is the first and last trip to the ER for JuggerBaby. <3

    ~20% of our budget goes to caring for a sick family member, and likely will in perpetuity (constant care is needed), but that's not much of a dent compared to our income. Alright, I'm actually going to have a resolution this year: to set up automatic donations to our favorite charities.
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    • Revanche says:

      That pit in your stomach is PRETTY similar when your kid is sick / hurt to when your beloved dog is sick / hurt – tough no matter what! Thanks for the well wishes, much appreciated!

      If you do set up auto-donations, I’d love to hear what you chose.

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