40 year old Norcal skate border walks into the office with a bright teal fiber glass cast on his left arm.
"Nice color choice" (I compliment his Orthopedic fashion consciousness)
"you may not think so after you hear this...." he begins.... it is a tale that would make even the staunchest Tea Partier deman universal health care: lost his job as a master's prepared Engineer , got a new job, new job doesn't offer insurance.... new job makes TOO much money to qualify for local health assistance, but not ENOUGH to afford an ER trip. So... after he breaks this arm for the seventh (yes, seventh) time during an extreme skate boarding routine, so what's a smart skateboarding engineer to do....??? He pays privately for xrays, interprets the xray himself ("it didn't look too out of place.. I think it was the scaphoid process...I did a lot of googling online"). Then, industrious as he is, the patient orders online casting supplies "they came from Pennsylvania, I had to wait a few days for them to arrive"... upon arrival, he leans his skateboard against the wall and undertakes a self casting process (good thing his dominant hand was spared this time!). 8 weeks later, he cuts open his own cast, and duct tapes (see prior uses of duct tape) it back together.. peeling the shell off to allow the radiology tech to x-ray his self-healed arm.... still shows a break.... so back on with a new cast. In the meantime, he's found a new job, one that pays less, so he is now ELIGIBLE for the city assistance program.... but needs an Ortho referral to be seen.... which is what brings him around, full circle to my office. Ortho referral given... urgent visit scheduled by spending one hour on the phone trying to reach the Ortho NP, who, aghast like myself, double-booked this kind skateboarder for an urgent consult tomorrow. After all is said and done, and the urgent double-booked Ortho consult inevitably results in tax dollars covering a percentage of an expensive prior-unnecessary surgery.... we will ask ourselves (or at least we should) why health care is not treated as a Human Right. I would insert excerpt here about a favorite friend of mine who has similar ortho and issues (self-casting aside)... a full-time working, college educated, amazing contributor to society and my life who will likely pay out of pocket to have her lovely dancer's wrist surgically repaired after falling from a scooter.. but honestly, I'm just too pissed off to write more in this moment.
All atrocious health insurance policy and indecency aside teal was a good color choice..... that much is true!