“Kaylee is your sister okay now?” With a puzzled look, I said, “What?” My friend replied, “Your sister is unconscious in the gym.” Without explanation, I ran out of my class to my school’s gymnasium. I threw open the doors to see my sister laying on the floor, surrounded by teachers and the principal. She was in her cheerleading uniform with white socks. I ran to her side and grabbed her hand and asked if she was okay. Her response is one I will never forget: “Who are you?”
It was hard to think my only sister could forget who I was. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I walked into my first period class, sat down in my seat, and waited for a regular day to begin. It had been spirit week, and that day was Redneck Day. I proudly wore flannel, jean shorts, leggings, mud boots, and pigtails. My friend soon approached me and began to tell me my sister was hurt. I distinctly remember telling my teacher I was leaving and running down the halls to see her. When I came to her side and she said those words, I asked what had happened to her. My gym teacher ensued to tell me she was demonstrating an activity for the Homecoming pep assembly, which was to take place later in the day, in socks. During the demonstration, she had slipped and lost balance. Her head hit the hard wooden floor first, and she lost consciousness.
After what seemed like hours, the ambulance had arrived to transport my sister. I was able to ride with her and meet my parents at the hospital in the neighboring city. I remember crying the whole way; and I could tell the ambulance driver was unsure what to say. He tried his best to comfort me, however, I was afraid my sister was going to have permanent effects and be unable to recognize me for the rest of her life. The EMT’s in the back had asked my sister to remember three words, and were continuously trying to keep her awake until we arrived at the hospital.
We had finally made it Bradford Regional Medical Hospital. We had previously known the hospital was not the best, needless to say, it was not well equipped. The doctors in the emergency room had diagnosed my sister with a mild concussion and told her to go home and rest. I remember being confused and looking at my parents’ faces who were equally confused and angered. My sister could not remember her family members’ names, birthdate, or the three simple questions the EMT’s had asked her. In rage, my parents requested my sister be transported to Buffalo Women’s and Children’s Hospital by ambulance. After filling out the paperwork and waiting, my mother and sister rode to Buffalo in the ambulance. Meanwhile, my father and I went back to my school, gathered mine and my sister’s belongings, and then went home to get clothes in case we needed to stay. After, my father and I drove to Buffalo to meet my sister and mother.
I had forgotten I was dressed as the typical redneck until I walked into the hospital and everyone stared at me. Despite the embarrassment, I was determined to find my sister and see if she was okay. After maneuvering through the vast facility, we finally located her. She had received more scans and tests. We waited for the results, which concluded a severe concussion. She was to be admitted for observation and treatment until her memory was regained. Thankfully, after a week, she was able to gradually remember our names and various other details. The doctors signed her release forms, and advised she take it slow. I am forever grateful to all of the individuals who helped my sister.
If it was not for medical insurance, I cannot imagine what state my family would be in today. Our insurance was able to create affordable costs for everything my sister needed, from the costs of both trips, emergency care, scans, and treatments. If we had not had insurance, my sister might not have been transferred and diagnosed correctly. Or, my sister would have received care; however, it would have come with an immense burden of debt. It is sad to think about those who are unable to have healthcare. By law, hospitals cannot refuse to see someone; however, the patients will have to pay for any treatment received. A simple CT scan is $1,200, and a simple E.R. visit has a national average cost of $1,233. I can only imagine what the debt would have been after my sister’s accident, and the toll it would have taken further on my parents to repay the hospital.
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