The Financial Confessions: “How A Night Of Sex Cost Me $4,000”

Let’s just go ahead and put it out there — sex injuries are embarrassing. Like, soul-crushingly embarrassing. They’re also completely unplanned. (Ideally, I guess? I don’t know your life.) The combination of the two typically creates a chaotic response. I remember my general mindset while I was in the ER being “I don’t want to give you details; I just want to get the fuck out of here.” But that impulse to shut down was working against my best interests. Accidents happen to even the most responsible people, and it’s important to be prepared. Fingers crossed the vast majority of you will never have to start your story to the paramedics off with “Well, we were having sex, and…” but just in case, here’s a little advice from someone who’s been there.

In true TFD fashion, my boyfriend and I have been throwing more dinner parties in lieu of spending an evening at the bar. We’ve got a few more friends on board, and we’ve been rotating houses and hosting responsibilities every weekend. On the night in question, it was our turn to host. So we had the crew over for homemade pizza, enjoyed some wine, and had a relatively tame night at home. (Entertaining in! We were being so responsible!) Normally, at this point, we’d call it a night and go to bed.

We’ve all been there: you’re caught in the post-dinner party haze where you’re very full, slightly tipsy, and kinda horny. So my boyfriend and I headed to the bedroom for a quick roll in the hay before passing out.

For all of our sakes, I’ll spare you the gorey details; but some weight got shifted while I wasn’t paying attention and pop! My knee cap dislocated. Now, before you start thinking that we were in the middle of some gymnast-inspired Kama Sutra shit, this was during good, old-fashioned, just-ate-way-too-much missionary. Don’t judge. 

What happened over the next several hours was the ultimate comedy of errors. I howled (along with the pup we were dog-sitting) while my boyfriend shimmied some clothes on my naked ass as the paramedics struggled to get the gurney in our front door. (They never did. I got carried out wrapped in a tarp/body bag, which I had some feelings about.) I finally made it to the hospital about 3 hours later, where I was thoroughly medicated and put back together. I was referred to an orthopedist and prescribed pain meds and physical therapy.

When the medical bills started coming in, I was shocked. With the ambulance ride, ER visit, orthopedic appointments, and a couple months of physical therapy — our “tame night at home” ended up costing me over $4,000. I was under the naïve assumption that my out-of-pocket costs would be minimal. I had health insurance, after all! But I learned the hard way that there’s no special category for “injured themselves whilst sexing up their boyfriend.”

Thankfully, the only thing hurt in the long-term was my pride. (You try explaining to an all-male paramedic team that you dislocated a body part during missionary sex.) But I was still surprised as to how woefully unprepared I was for an emergency like this.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Get health insurance. I know this is harped on a lot, but this would have been so, so much worse if I wasn’t covered.

2. This is why you need an emergency account. For emergencies. During the course of my recovery, I purchased several knee braces out of pocket totaling a couple hundred dollars, as well as crutches, shoe inserts, medication, and other supplies. And while it hurt to spend that kind of cash, knowing that this is precisely why I had put this money away in the first place lessened the blow a little bit.

3. Ask questions. Even if you’re embarrassed! Your doctors, nurses, and physical therapists are a wealth of information, and they can help you navigate these kinds of situations. This was the first time I had seriously hurt myself while not on my parents’ health insurance, and asking questions saved me a lot of time, money, and confusion — even if I turned beet red every time someone asked me “Wait, what happened again?” My physical therapist told me that I should get ankle weights for my exercises at home, and when I asked about a less expensive alternative, she told me to just put some cans in a grocery bag and loop the handle around my ankle. It would accomplish the same thing. Boom. Money saved.

Even better? When my medical bills started flooding in, I started panicking. I was not prepared to part with $4k all willy nilly, so I called the hospital billing department to ask about a payment plan. Not only did they offer them to all patients, but all of their payment plans are interest free. All I had to do was ask.

4. Follow directions. This seems so stupid, but you’d be surprised how many people just straight-up don’t listen to their doctor. I, however, am a medical rule-follower to the extreme, and was willing to do whatever they told me to, regardless of how annoying it seemed. My orthopedist and physical therapist gave me a short series of exercises to do at home, increasing in difficulty as my knee recovered. I did them religiously, even though I was sore and exhausted from crutching myself around all day long. As a result, my knee recovered a lot more quickly, and I was able to skip my last couple of physical therapy sessions. I saved myself around $500 by just listening to basic instructions. Even if you are tempted to “nope” the fuck out of there, it’s still worth hearing them out and following through with their suggestions.

Now that I’m fully recovered and able to laugh about this, I’m realizing how lucky I am that this wasn’t much, much worse. Take it from me, if you ever suffer from a horrifyingly embarrassing sex injury, just remember to stay calm, ask questions, and follow directions. You’ll soon have a killer Girls Night story.

Image via Unsplash

  • Mary

    Another tip! Obviously if you really really need an ambulance, call one. But if your injury is not life threatening, or like really bloody, I would say in this day and age with the prevalence of Uber and Lyft, you’re going to save yourself a TON of money by cabbing it to the emergency room and you will probably even get there faster! Those ambulance charges are NO JOKE!

    • Tara

      Even if I was legit dying I feel like I’d still croak out JUST PUT ME IN A CAB IN CASE I LIVE

    • jdub

      Dude, yes. I’m Canadian and so a lot of our healthcare related costs are covered– but ambulances aren’t. It’s a bit of a shock to get a $90 bill in the mail a few weeks later, if your insurance doesn’t specifically cover a 15 minute ambulance ride.

    • Anon

      Omg, yes. My partner recently had a serious allergic reaction and had to be taken to the hospital from an airport in an ambulance. Actual ER cost? $75. Cost of 10 minute ambulance ride? $1000. (All of this is with insurance).

    • Katrina

      YES YES YES. I had an emergency a year and a half ago and my friends called an ambulance for me. Which was great in retrospect, I’m glad they helped me out, but I am STILL paying off the cost of a middle of the night on a weekend-ambulance ride. Get yourself to the hospital if you can!!

      • Katrina

        Also, this was after insurance…..ambulances are so expensive!

    • Alexis

      This is a really important tip. Think about what an ambulance is actually for vs what you actually need. Ambulances are stocked with all kinds of initial triage treatment consumables, as well as the obvious resus drugs and kit and the paramedics are highly trained individuals for a certain number of situations. If you simply need transportation to a hospital, a cab/Uber/Lyft is definitely the better choice. Leaves the ambulance with all the equipment, drugs and personnel available for people who need medical care in transit and you get to the ED without a crazy big bill for starters.

    • Winterlight

      Agreed. For things like allergic reactions where breathing is impaired, or serious issues (like collapsing with abdominal pain in a CVS- that was fun) go for the ambulance. Otherwise, no. Also, urgent care is an option.

  • Shelby

    Embarrassingly enough, I dislocated my own kneecap walking across the floor in dance class. WALKING. Months of physical therapy later did I return to dance class. Like your PT said, I learned that you can use like a bag of frozen peas as a weight as well – sometimes I’ll also use my immobilizer brace and do stair reps to build up muscle in one leg (and then switch).

  • Magical Unicorn

    Wait hold on, so even if you have health insurance in the US you can still end up with these types of high costs? : /

    • Holly Trantham

      Sadly, yes — ambulances especially are super expensive

    • Clytamnestra Dunge

      the lines ‘having insurance’ and ‘paid 4k’ really should not be next to each other.
      and this was after obamacare made things better? wow, just wow

  • Finance Patriot

    I don’t know, accidents can happen anywhere. Given your story, it was well worth it in my opinion.

  • Thanks for the chuckle, it’s funniest thing I have read in a while (not the dislocation and the $4K expense part obviously!). This is yet another example why you need a solid emergency fund.

  • Keith Schindler


    Wish my last medical bill was related to having that kind of fun. Nope, mine was a motorcycle crash after doing 100 mph. Stupid, very stupid.

    After crashing, I got the bike back up and rode home. Wife took me to the local ER, where they loaded me in an ambulance and hauled me to a larger town. MRI’s, Cat Scans, X-Rays, stitches, etc.

    I’m looking at about $5K out of pocket. My ambulance ride was about $1300.00. The rest was ER charges.

    Luckily, we have an emergency fund or we’d really be hurting. Yep, I’m gonna have to pump it back up.

  • Clytamnestra Dunge

    thanks for the laugh, not really the story i was expecting from the title but you already know that you naughty girl