Youth Voices: What a Game of Tag Taught Me About Health

By: Alondra Jimenez

It was hot and humid, and I was playing my favorite game of tag during recess. I remember looking back at my friend who was chasing me when I felt my legs fly off the floor and my head bang against the wet grass.

I blacked out for a moment.

When I came to I tried to lift myself off the ground, but I felt a horrible feeling in my wrist. I became scared and began to cry because I saw that my wrist was out of its normal position. It was the scariest moment of my life. I was lifted up by my friend and a teacher. I was in shock and had to be walked to the nurse. I had never experienced such pain before.

My mother arrived to pick me up some time later and drove me to the nearest hospital, which was 25 excruciating minutes away. When we arrived at the hospital, the waiting room was very crowded. There were no seats available so we had to wait standing up.

I looked around the room and noticed a lot of patients were in pain, many with their heads in their hands. Others looked anxious and nervous. The only noise I heard were the babies who were crying and the front desk receptionists talking loudly. They seemed overwhelmed, probably because the people in the waiting room were becoming impatient. It was a depressing scene.

“The place where we live should not fully determine our health outcomes.”

My wrist was now very red and swollen. The hospital was equipped with 145 beds, so I thought I would been seen quickly. Instead, I stayed in the emergency room for almost four hours.

Time dragged slowly. I became exhausted, fighting back tears and trying not to move my left arm because of the pain it caused.

By the time the nurse examined my wrist, it was in horrible condition. I was in horrible condition. I was given a cast and discharged after only 15 minutes with the nurse, maybe less. I was expecting feedback or advice on how to relieve my pain or how to care for my cast. The only thing I was told was that my wrist was dislocated and to wrap a plastic bag around it when I showered. It was pretty straightforward, however the nurse didn’t speak Spanish and seemed annoyed when we asked her questions about my injury. We left immediately.

While painful, my experience was nothing compared to other people’s medical emergencies. I could not imagine having a serious medical emergency and having to deal with a lack of transportation; not everyone in our community has access to a vehicle. On top of that, not everyone even has access to affordable healthcare. All these factors make it that much more difficult for many people in my community to get medical assistance.

But it shouldn’t be this way.

We should not have to ask for better health care services. My experience as a child influenced me to become an advocate for my community’s health because the place where we live should not fully determine our health outcomes.

About the author:

AJimenez

Alondra Jimenez born and raised in Coachella. She volunteers with three local organizations in her free time. In high school, she was part of yearbook and journalism. She hopes to gain experience and knowledge she can implement in her future. She also strongly believes in civic engagement and helping amplify the voices of minority communities. As an apprentice for Coachella Uninc., Alondra hopes to spread awareness about issues facing her community.

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