Apryl J

My heart pounded fiercely to the rhythm of that ball bouncing down the court. My body wracked with the pain of sprinting back and forth and was drenched in sweat. The feeling was worth it because we had finally made it again. It was the last game of my junior year — the 2016 Lady Cougars Varsity Girls` Basketball State Championship. As a team captain, I realized that the opportunity to bring home another victory and make history once again for our school rested in my hands. I looked down. My right knee stung from a floor burn I had gotten during the first quarter, but I did not have time to think about it. I just had to make it through until the last buzzer sounded. Little did I know, however, that losing that night by six points was the least of my worries. In less than 72 hours, my life would be dramatically altered in a way I could have never imagined and things would never be the same.

There were no symptoms until that following Monday morning when I went to school. It was just as any typical day until I had developed a horrible headache. I figured it was no big deal, so I continued on, with a constant supply of water and a dose of Ibuprofen. About four hours later, the headache had not yet ceased in intensity, but had worsened and I was having trouble breathing. To make matters even worse, I had developed a strange limp and noticed my abnormally swollen right knee. Assuming I was only coming down with a cold and may have subconsciously hit my knee on my desk, I packed my bags and headed to carpool. I climbed into the front seat next to my mom, tugging at my sweater on the way home from school, and my mom noticed my uncontrollable chills. Checking my temperature once we arrived home, my mom decided we needed to at least visit an Urgent Care Center.  By then, I was having trouble standing, my knee had swollen to triple its size, and something red was spreading all over my leg. After a couple hours there, they said nothing major was going on and that I just needed some antibiotics.  At this point, however, I was at the point of collapsing with a high fever and sudden fatigue. That is when I started thinking something was extremely wrong; I was right and everything from that point started going downhill.

With excruciating pains shooting up my right leg, we drove to the nearest hospital and there was a four hour wait for a doctor to take a look at my knee. We slid back into the car and raced to another hospital that was about twenty-five miles away and I was admitted almost immediately. It was at that moment when terror and panic first seized my body.  I tried to get up and the unthinkable happened: I could not walk. From there, I just remember the entire experience as a complete blur: there were doctor and nurses running around muttering and whispering  “. . . her pressure is too low . . . fever’s not going down. . ., transfer her somewhere else . . , it’s spreading . . ., and . . . if so, surgery.”  It was one of the most horrific nightmares any healthy athlete (or sixteen year old, for the matter) could have ever imagined.

After being readmitted twice, I spent many days on my back, staring at the hospital ceiling, trying to wrap my mind around how this could ever happen to me, a reasonably active athlete. It was not until I had almost fully recovered when I realized the severity of what had actually happened: from that floor burn on the gym floor I had contracted a bad staph infection, which, after the course of several hours, developed into septicemia. I am grateful to say that today I can definitely walk and am in the process of training for my last basketball season as a high school senior.  However, it was not until this point of my life when I finally realized, firsthand, the necessity and true extent of service that having adequate medical insurance allowed.

I have always known that having good insurance was essential for “accidents“, but even so, I never could have expected what happened to me earlier this year. With eight children, I`m thankful that my parents were wise enough to understand not only the importance of having proper medical insurance, but also backup savings in case such an incident occurred. A month prior to my hospitalization, my eight year old brother tripped over an someone`s foot, and hit his head on a brick wall.  An ambulance and twelve stitches later, the medical bills started building up. Because both my parents and my school had adequate coverage, it was not a huge setback for our family of ten.

The same case applies to my situation. What I merely thought I would be in the hospital overnight for became a three week stay. Three weeks of medical expenses (including CAT scans, MRIs, medication, meals) all at a state of the art hospital would have been a nightmare for any family (especially mine) to even consider paying.  The expenses totaled to figures that would make anyone`s eyes swim, but insurance was what paid the majority of the cost. Though this experience taught me a variety of valuable lessons, one of the most important as far as application was to always have a financial plan and insurance protection when unexpected events happen in life. Having not only reliable health insurance, but also having auto, life, and home insurance is a must in terms of daily life because “accidents“ do happen regardless of who you are. When they come, you want to be prepared.

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