Be Careful of the Steps

May 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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I haven’t posted anything on my blog for quite a while–strictly against the rules for bloggers who want to maintain a readership–but I have a good excuse. On Saturday April 16, coming out of my parish church after the 5 o’clock Mass, I fell down a flight of steps and seriously messed myself up: broke both wrists, damaged nine teeth, put my front teeth through my upper lip. The guys in the ER said I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.

One wrist was hurt a lot worse than the other; more about that in a minute.  But the right one, the one I write with, was just a simple fracture so I can still write, slowly and with three fingers. But the wrist starts to ache after I write for a while, so I may be doing shorter blog posts till the middle of June…

I got quite good care at the emergency room at Methodist Hospital in the Park Slope section here in Brooklyn; none of that waiting six hours to be seen stuff, for which I was and am grateful. I’ve gotta say, though, that dealing with two broken wrists even as Paul Ryan et al attempt to privatize or abolish outright the minimal publicly supported health care we have in this country was a surreal experience.  Fact is, the ER guys sent me home with instructions to see an orthopedist who would put my one fractured wrist in a cast and probably operate on the other shattered one. Turned out the orthopedist whose name they gave my husband and me doesn’t do wrists; it took us three full days to find somebody who does and who would take our mid-level health insurance. Ultimately I found the surgeon myself by googling “wrist surgery  New York City.” Ended up with Charles Melone at the Hand Surgery Center at Beth Israel in Manhattan, who is, as far as I can tell, the messiah of wrists; he was the surgeon for the NY Knicks at one point, and fixed Patrick Ewing. He operated on me a week ago Thursday and says my wrist is going to be just fine.

So: all’s well that ends well, right? Maybe not. I keep wondering what would have happened to me if I had been, say, twenty years older than I am and maybe a little dotty. Or didn’t have a husband to drive me back and forth to the hand surgery center. Or didn’t have a professional-managerial-class-level of financial resources on hand to pay the home health aide not covered by our insurance and the three hundred dollar co-pay for the surgery (up front). Or had broken my right wrist as badly as my left so I couldn’t google my own surgeon. I’m sure my Irish-Catholic cousin, Congressman Ryan, is bearing all this in mind as he fine tunes his bill to eviscerate Medicaid and privatize Medicare.

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