I will never again try to rescue a cat from a lofty place.
While in Shanghai with a large group of mids and other students for last weekend's four-day break in honor of Chinese National Day, I made an error in judgment Thursday night when I decided to try to help a cat stuck in a tree. I was unsuccessful, and as I made my way down, I lost my balance and fell about ten feet. I landed on my hands and feet, but ended up with a hairline fracture in my heal. The next morning two shipmates helped me get to the closest hospital, which was a Chinese hospital (as opposed to the couple of Western hospitals in Shanghai). They took an X-ray of my foot, which confirmed the hairline fracture, and set it in a cast. Unfortunately, insurance, or at least American insurance, is apparently not a thing here. I couldn't use Tricare or the HTH Worldwide insurance provided by our program, as they were either unfamiliar with the insurance claim procedure or the language barrier was too insurmountable to make any headway on that front. So I had to pay for everything out-of-pocket, but it was astonishingly cheap - only about $26 for the X-ray and $19 for the cast. The only expensive thing were the crutches, which cost $43. I am not upset that I spent $88 to pay for a stupid mistake; if anything, it reinforced the notion in my head against trying to rescue any more cats in the future.
The next day I went to a Western hospital to get a second look at the injury, this time somewhere that I knew I'd be able to use insurance. The doctor there told me that the doctors had done the right thing the day before, and prescribed Percocet for the pain. He told me I would probably be on crutches for only about four weeks, with little to no chance of long-term damage. I used the HTH insurance to pay for the visit and the medicine...that way, at least the U.S. government wasn't footing the bill.
I don't even like cats. What made me think it was a good idea to go up there after this one I will never know. For a few days after I fell, I had brief, fleeting flashes of thoughts like, Nah, this didn't really happen; no one's that dumb. But then reality hits me like a punch in the face, and I realize that I am, in fact, temporarily crippled. Oh, well. I guess I now know the true meaning of the phrase "Sorry for partying."