The following is a guest post from long-time reader and commenter, MikeS. He was literally one of three people who read BFS the first week it started. You can also check out his Reader Profile after this post.
It was supposed to be a typical Wednesday. I had a volleyball game after work. It was about 4 weeks into our outdoor season and my team was playing very well to start the season. I’ve been playing on the same team for over ten years. It’s an employee league that is mainly for fun, but we do like to win.
It was early in the second of four games. We’d been destroyed in the first game. It wasn’t pretty. I had jumped to make a hit and on my way down…things went wrong…
I came down on the outside of my right foot, instead of the bottom. The ankle, as it turns out, is not supposed to bend that way. I heard a snap and fell instantly down to the ground. My second thought (first thought was OUCH!!), was please don’t let that have been the bone I heard. My teammates helped me off the court. I looked down at my ankle and could see the swelling starting already. So, it’s off to the doctor’s I go. I’m actually able to put some weight on it, so I convince my teammates that I can drive.
Now, do I go to the ER or do I go to my doctor’s office? I’m probably the same distance from both. I decide on heading to my doctor for two reasons. One it will be quicker and two, I believe my doctor is going to be cheaper than the ER. My doctor has an x-ray machine, so I know I can have those done in his office.
After the examination and x-rays, they confirmed my second thought. I had in fact broken a bone. I actually broke the fibula just below the ankle, a clean break. After this, I chuckle.
You see, a few weeks earlier I had made the comment to my wife that we should be done with big medical expenses for the rest of the year. For any that remember my reader profile, you’ll recall that my son had some medical complications after birth. We were done with his visits for the year, hence my comment to my wife. Guess I should have knocked on some wood.
Seeing the Positives
Thankfully, I have a job that I can perform from my home since it’s my right leg. Otherwise, I would have gone on short-term disability, which my company does provide. I also have long-term disability through my employer, as well as, a stand-alone policy I purchased on my own. I’ll be honest; I figured I would never need them because I work in an office every day. I came pretty close to needing them, just because I can’t drive.
If you don’t have disability insurance, don’t wait. All I did was play volleyball, and it almost cost me a month’s pay. My estimated recovery time is 6-8 weeks, with 4 weeks spent in a cast. I’m supposed to have the cast removed in a week, assuming the bone has healed sufficiently.
I’ve already seen the bill for my doctor’s visit. My portion was only about $34. The insurance covered the other $100 or so. I have to believe an ER visit would have been more. Glad I was still thinking about money, even while in pain. I have yet to see the bills for visits to the orthopedist, two so far, and probably two more to come. I’m hoping they won’t be too bad.
I guess the silver lining with the bills is I will be able to deduct them on next year’s income taxes. I know what you’re thinking. You have to spend more than 7.5% of your AGI to deduct medical expenses. I will be this year. Yes, it has been one of those years. My latest estimate is I should have around $3,000 to $3,500 worth of medical deductions. My wife has been saving all the bills, in case the IRS wants proof.
Are You Ready for the Unexpected?
Like I said in the beginning, it was supposed to be a typical Wednesday. It has turned into anything but a typical month. I can see how something so simple, landing on your foot wrong, could cause someone major financial headaches. What if I couldn’t work from home? What if I didn’t have good medical insurance? What if I didn’t have disability insurance? What if I didn’t have an emergency fund? One broken bone could have set me back thousands. In the end, it might set me back a few hundred.
What would it set you back?
Crystal’s Comments: Thanks for the reminder that fate has a sense of humor. If we break a bone, it would cost us 20% of the total cost until we’ve paid out $10,000 for the year. So this would have been super expensive. I think about that every time Mr. BFS leaves to ref a varsity football game or sticks his hands into a bowling alley machine that is turned off so he can fix it. I think about it every time I get in the car too. High deductible insurance does lead me to think about these things more than most, but we live our lives as we wish and just have to rely on the fact that we have enough money set aside to cover our giant deductible if necessary.
I’m glad you are healing quickly. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! And again, I hope you know that your early support, a online follower that I was not related to in any way, was definitely a key factor for me to continue blogging. Thank you.