Baby’s first serious injury
November 30, 2016
A 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. 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.