Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How much is a pinkie worth?

On Sunday I went to visit a distant aunt, who until very recently, I didn't know I even had. We bonded very easily and instantaneously for two people who have never met before (but I think that's because she looks and speaks strikingly like her sister - the aunt that I AM familiar with.) When I got to her house, she greeted me with what seemed like 20 different dishes, half Bengali (like torkari) and half were American dishes (like spaghetti). I'm guessing she was uncertain of how Americanized or how desi I was so to be on the safe side she cooked everything ­ very sweet woman. Her daughters and I were discussing the Australian public school system when all of a sudden, my attention span failed and I went "Ooh, you have a balcony!" and I swiftly walked over only to trip on a metal strip underneath the doorway. To break my fall I put up my hand but only my pinky caught the railing. So all in a matter of milliseconds, my whole body weight is on my pinkie and even though the pain was severe I had to look brave in front of my Australian relatives so I go "Oh, its nothing." Luckily, they were able to tell by my facial expression that I was really in pain so they offered me some painkillers and I was fine for the rest of the evening.

The next morning when I woke up, my pinkie turned blue and fat as a thumb, the pain even worse. My cousin-in-law suggested that I go to a clinic, where they did some x-rays and determined that it was broken. The visit to the clinic cost $35, and another $34 for the x-ray. At first I was mad, "my pinkie isn't even WORTH $60!", but then after two days with a metal splint on, I started to think of all the things that I really enjoy doing with my pinkie, like playing the guitar, taking
photographs, or writing in my blog.

At Sydney Royal Alfred Hospital's waiting room, I realized how superior the Australian healthcare system is. If you are an Australian citizen, you don't have to pay anything, and if you are a visitor its still somewhat affordable if you aren't going in for something serious. On Thursday I have to meet with another doctor who is going to determine whether or not I have to have surgery, which if I do, will cost at least $100. But if that helps me hold a camera again or finger-pick an E string, than money is no object.


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