Of Stingrays and Healthcare

Sometimes I really regret listening to my mom.

Ok, that’s not fair. TODAY I really regret listening to my mom. You see, nine days ago I got on the business end of a stingray. I don’t feel like recounting it right now, so if you want the full story, check out Tom’s blog. After that, it’s been quite a week. After staying off the wound for several days (mostly because every time I tried to walk on it it puffed up like heated Jiffy Pop) and getting a serious case of cabin fever, I’m up and around but still quite conscious of it.

Those of you who know me (and I daresay most of you do) know that I’m not really a “go to the doctor” kinda gal, so if you assumed I did not seek medical attention for this wound, you are correct. Two reasons for that: one, I don’t believe running to the doctor for every little thing will accomplish ANYTHING but making you sicker, and b) I don’t have health insurance, so the indulgence of going to the doctor for every little thing comes out of my sailboat fund.

Now, I do have a doctor, and I do go about once a year. However, since I do not have health insurance that covers anything but the catastrophic stuff (and although this wound felt catastrophic at the time, it’ not exactly the loss-of-limb type stuff covered by my plan), I go to a wonderful little complex in “midtown” (euphemism for “poor south side of St. Pete”) that offers sliding scale healthcare. Real doctors, real care, but based on how much you make. Because I have more writeoffs every year than Al Capone (thank you, The Money Pit!), I pay $25 to see a doctor. And, before you right-wingers start, NO, I do NOT feel guilty. I have paid health insurance premiums for years which, save the splenectomy, generally resulted in a cursory exam that took about 10 minutes. I have been ripped off by the system for years, and this is not government-funded, so not a damn penny of your tax dollars are being spent for my health care, fear not.

ANYWAY, I did not go see that or any other doctor. However, at some point yesterday, Tom’s sister took a look at my wound and said she really didn’t think it looked good. Her husband took a gander and apparently agreed (he’s a man of few words but it seemed at the time that he assented). These two spend a good deal of time on their boat and have spent a lifetime in and around the water, so I trust their opinions. That alone, though, would not have been enough to convince me. It did prompt me to ask Tom what he thought, hoping for his traditional reassurance that it would heal just fine (he’s more anti-doctor than I) but, alas, that’s not what I got.

“I don’t like the way it looks,” was what he said, then suggested that I may indeed want to get it looked at.

Great. This is the guy who pulled the pins out of his broken finger himself rather than go back to the doctor, and he actually thinks I should go see a doctor. This scares me a bit. Plus, when I look at my foot, it really doesn’t look great.

So, I wake up this morning resolved to call the doctor, grit my teeth, and let him poke at the hole in my foot.

Except they’re closed. Apparently it’s some kind of holiday. So… I call the free clinic, because I have about a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a doctor’s appointment with someone I’ve never seen before.


Great. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna go to the hospital ER for this, which leaves only one option. A walk-in clinic. I know from experience that they charge $80 to walk in the door. Now, technically I have the money, but this is why I started this off by saying I regret listening to my mom.

I cannot save money in a regular savings account because I will take it out if I need it. However, time has shown that if I don’t have the money, these “emergencies” tend to work themselves out. But still, my mother’s voice ricochets through my head and I do have a CD, which I plow money into every month, and every time I get a lump sum I have no immediate plans for, I do basically the same thing with it. Which is great, really. Except this is the last week of the month.

I only get paid once a month, which means I pay ALL my bills when I get paid and only keep what I need in my account. It would disappear if I left it all in there, and I know this. But, like I said, it’s the last week of the month, which means I’ve bought everything I need and paid everything I need to pay this month, so the $80 for urgent care is really going to hurt. Now, I do have it, understand. I just don’t want to spend it on this, because it’s not really meant for that. Yes, I know that there are emergencies and all that, but… eighty bucks for them to look at my foot and give me a prescription for an antibiotic? Come on, that’s almost as much of a rip-off as bottled water.

So, Tom looks at it this morning and said it actually does look a little better, and I get him to say I can probably wait until tomorrow.

He promised to push me around in a wheelchair if he was wrong.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.