There is a razor's edge between doing something stupid and an accident. At least it is kindest to think so. Getting hurt doing something you know is likely to get you hurt and for which there is no reason so to do, that's stupid. Taking reasonable care based on available knowledge and still getting hurt, that's accidental.
Therefore, the fishhook in my thumb was an accident. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Given the potential pain of removal, lack of antiseptic or bandages, and my well documented health history, the local ER was the most reasonable option. Especially reasonable considering that between Medicare and other insurance, assistance was available on demand and at no cost to me. And it promised to be better aid than our son offered, also without costs.
It must be here reported the care given by emergency personnel and doctor on duty at St Vincent Clay Hospital was professional, caring, and expedient. I had to wait a few minutes for a bed to open up, so was prepared for a long wait on what was apparently a busy afternoon. Maybe they just needed the bed for somebody who'd done something stupid, but we were in and out in less than 40 minutes -- major hand surgery and all.
While waiting for the doctor to find his wire cutters and pliers I heard someone asking if a nurse could check his blood pressure. Seems he was concerned about lightheadedness because of his high blood pressure history, but couldn't afford the ER Fee.
After 24 hours I took off the "wound" dressing to type out my thoughts and found myself with more unanswered questions than answers....
First, the fishhook didn't dig deep enough to ever really hurt; if I had to pay the doctor for removal, would I have let our son use the wire cutter and pliers he had at hand?
Also, how much had I added to the sum total of the financial problems of Medicare in that 40 minutes?
For that matter, given the innumerable tests and procedures medical types want to do on we "well insured" patients, and given all the medications inevitably prescribed, what is the contribution to the national debt of any one person on Medicare?
Finally, where is Dr. Goodman when that guy in the ER needed him? Nathaniel Goodman, MD was our family doctor when I was a kid. I hurt myself accidently and my dad took me to the family doctor. That's what you did in the olden days, children, went to the family doctor's office. For some reason I distinctly remember the good doctor explaining he could no longer charge based on a family's ability to pay. In order to be reimbursed for those who did have insurance doctors now had to charge set fees. Fishing for health care changed that day and nobody noticed.
Never did finish cleaning out the trunk of our son's car -- any volunteers? If you do want to help, watch out for those toy fishing rods -- they're real.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.