“Have you ever been in a helicopter?” my friend asks one night as we are sitting in his dining room, playing board games with his family. “No, I have not” I instinctively retort. I think about this reply for a second, having the intuition that something is wrong with my answer, “Oh wait, yes I have. I just don’t remember it”. This idea of not remembering had become much more common and much more frustrating after my accident.
On May 22, 2014, I was involved in a serious car accident. On June 4, 2016, I was released from the hospital. Between these two dates, I experienced a helicopter ride, a medically induced coma, and a two week stay in the hospital, none of which I remember. A totaled car and numerous MRI’s alone would have been expenses that would have been impossible for my family to pay without the help of insurance.
My car was T-boned by a suburban. By the account of the other persons involved in the accident, I had veered too far right and over-corrected left, into the lane of oncoming traffic. My car was unsalvageable and the other party’s car was damaged as well. I thank the Lord on a regular basis that no one else was in my car and that my blood alcohol content was zero. I am not sure that I would have been able to live with the guilt if either was not the case. With the help of my parents’ car insurance, the cost of damage on both of the cars was covered. The repair of the other party’s car was handled by our insurance. The insurance company also gave my parents enough money for a new car so that I would be able drive when I was away in college, in order to compensate for the car that I had lost in May 2014.
The helicopter ride cost $60,000 to get me to the hospital, where I would be a resident in the intensive care unit for two weeks. If I was not covered by medical insurance, my parents would not have been able to afford the costs of the necessary medical procedures needed to save my life. One of the only reasons why I am alive today is because of the medically induced coma that doctors prescribed in order to let my brain heal itself before it tried to work to help the rest of my body function. Were it not for medical insurance, I would not be here today.
One of the women involved in the accident broke her sternum due to the impact. Because she was an older woman, she stayed the night in the hospital to make sure that she remained stable. My parents’ insurance was able to cover the woman’s healthcare costs caused by the accident. This woman sued our insurance for more money than they had already paid to cover the medical care. I am so grateful that the insurance company was able to contest this accusation and fight for my cause without sincerely worrying my family. My new personality and reckless behavior caused by my traumatic brain injury was enough to keep my mother occupied without having to find a lawyer, or find a way to pay $100,000 more for someone else’s medical care.
Thanks to my traumatic brain injury, I have come to become fascinated with the brain and neurology. I took two courses specific to neurology once I went back to college and was able to retain information again. I spent time in the lab of Dr. David Lent, Fresno State’s neuroanatomy and neurophysiology professor, researching the effect of caffeine on life-span and memory of flies. Learning in my neurology classes that those with prior head injuries are more susceptible to dementia later in life has caused me to become much more aware of my memory and my health. Immediately after my accident, I had a very difficult time recalling simple words. I still have a hard time sorting memories from the year immediately before my accident, immediately after my accident, and the second year after my accident. I am scared to get older, in fear that I will soon start forgetting more of my life than I already have. I have started to come to terms with the thought that I may have dementia when I get older. I know that with the medical insurance I get on my own one day, I will be able to afford the help of doctors, like the ones who helped saved my life, and can rely on them to help me keep my sanity for as long as possible.
Insurance is important to me because it helped save my life. Car insurance helped me maintain a form of transportation while in college. Medical insurance kept my alive and will continue to help keep me healthy for the rest of my life. The world is not a perfect place and accidents happen more than we can help. Fortunately, insurance is available to make accidents, like traumatic injuries, a lot less traumatic than they could be.
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