14. “I was in a bad car accident that led to lifelong complications. Once, my lower back and butt were hurting so bad that I couldn’t stand up straight, my right leg went numb, and I couldn’t pee. I went to the hospital, where they told me I had cauda equina syndrome. Because I live in a small town, they took me to a university hospital in the next state.”

“They wanted to do surgery, but it was no longer an emergency (herniated disks in my back were pinching nerves, but steroids and other drugs helped them ease off). Because I didn’t have insurance and because I didn’t live in that state, I didn’t qualify for any kind of programs or help to pay. So I went home, still with herniated disks and owing about $65k to the hospital. They demanded a deposit before I could leave, which I had to sell my truck to pay for. When I got home, I discovered I also owed the ambulance $5k for the ride! I’ve never been able to pay the majority of these bills, and it completely ruined my credit (I was only 22). Plus, my right leg is still numb, and it’s been over 10 years!”