Life without insurance

A couple of weeks ago, to make a long story short, my naughty little boy stole my house key off of the kitchen table, and hid it in his clothes dresser without either me or his nanny seeing him do it. Thus, later that day, after returning from a run outside, I found our nanny, Cheng Ayi and Leo waiting for me to get into the house (because she thought I had taken the key off the table). At this point, we thought the key must just still be on the table, and with JM gone to school, we had a predicament on our hands. Leo was hungry and in need of lunch and a nap, I was sweaty and in need of lunch and a shower, and all of us had no intention of sitting outside of our apartment for any longer than we had to. Ayi’s sensible first thought was simply to call JM and have him come home to let us in.

Of course, being as impatient as I am, I could not think of waiting that long, and quickly brainstormed a way to break into our house. We have an outdoor patio attached to our top-floor apartment and so I ran up to the roof and looked down to see how far I would have to jump. One story down suddenly looked somewhat daunting. But, if I could successfully make the jump, I would save loads of time and I would be able to get into our house via the patio door (the patio door key is kept outside on the patio in case the door slams locked from the outside while we’re out there).

Usually, I am a pretty sensible person, but my willingness to take physical risks is, for the average person – perhaps a bit higher than normal. I grew up in the country, so as a kid I skittered along high rafters, ran across patches of ice, swung on barn ropes, climbed tall trees, rode our horse as fast as he could go, amongst other things… so I figured I could take this one story jump. However, I now had to contemplate the reality that if something were to happen, I would have to go to a Chinese hospital to get treatment. This was a VERY scary prospect, and certainly made me take much more pause than normal before making the jump. Not having insurance or access to a Western clinic here has made me a more careful person in general, as I really don’t want to step foot in a Chinese hospital unless absolutely necessary. It makes me think that having insurance (while admittedly this industry saves many people from financial disaster) may in fact cause people to be more risky as a result. I wonder if anyone’s ever studied the impact of having insurance on risk taking behavior…

The risk of having to go to a Chinese hospital was outweighed by my desire to keep my son on his normal nap schedule and by my own desire for a hot shower after a long run, and so I made the jump. I lowered myself off the roof and onto the overhang (which I was praying the entire time would hold my weight). After that, I sat for a few minutes figuring out my strategy. I figured I needed to get myself as close to the ground as possible, and so with Jason Bourne as my role model, I flipped my legs over the ledge and used my arms to lower myself another few feet close to the patio floor. I made the jump, and got away with just a couple of scratches. I think Cheng Ayi thought I was a bit insane, but everyone stayed on schedule. Later on, we found the key and realized that our little imp Leo was the cause of all the trouble.

So, the moral of the story is, don’t leave your keys on the table anymore, and proceed carefully if you need to jump off your roof. Life without insurance made me pause, but didn’t stop me. I’m not sure if that makes me brave or stupid, but I’m glad it all worked out.

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2 Responses to “Life without insurance”


  1. 1 mjfalk April 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    You may be watching too many James Bond movies—–forget health insurance issues!—-who will raise your adorable child if you fall from—what floor did you say you live on? Doesn’t your landlord have an extra key? Oh, I forgot, you’re in China.

  2. 2 Becca April 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Did you know that I didn’t have insurance while in Steubenville? Why do you think I tried to convince you to climb on the poarch roof to breakin the bathroom window? :o)

    You are still Liz! It’s why I love you!


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