There is no such thing as "medical coverage" in the circus world. If something goes wrong, you are responsible to take care of yourself.
Q. What do you get when you put 32 carnies together?
A. A full set off teeth.
There were people I worked with who had bad things happen to them. Our manager went to the hospital with chest pain. Mild stroke I believe that was. He left at the third spot.
The mentalist had diabetes. He had to store insulin, but had no refrigerator. There were times I thought he was going to keel right over. He left at the third spot as well.
The bally girl/Miss Electra...won the crown for Drama Queen. Where to begin? She wore these vinyl shoes on her first day, high heeled disasters from you-know-where. She tripped down the stairs and "sprained" her ankle. At one point ever one passed around a cold; a.k.a. the Carny Flu. She milked the shit out of having it. Left one spot to re-cooperate at home. Wound up leaving the last place early. Her "falling off the stage" [which actually happened more than once] was nothing short of a performance.
One fellow I worked with was getting off stage when he fell off, landing on the pavement below. It was frightening. Why did it happen? A malfunction of great Carny Engineering. The BWB* was implemented in making this set of steel steps 'level' with the stage [which was pretty high off the ground.] They slipped every time someone used them, which obviously was often. Watching something like this happen, and in front of an audience no less, makes you thankful that there was not a serious injury.
When you enter a new environment, it takes some time to adapt to it, such as having to climb up steel steps to get into my 'sleeping quarters'. Once I slipped and hit my knee on edge of said steps. That was only the first spot. At the fourth one, there was this small square of asphalt missing that just happened to be in the area we were setting up. Jerry stepped in it and I laughed. Wound up doing the same thing later, and landed on the knee again. Then, while hanging up the side wall, the weak ladder shifted under me and I fell, hitting the same knee on the metal leg. Thankfully I caught myself, or I would have busted my ass.
This is where it gets good. The Halloween spot we did was in this beautiful park out in Pennsylvania was in close proximity of a creek. It rained four days in a row one week. We had to clear the important items out of the tent in case of flooding. And boy did it flood. Had to wade through ankle deep water in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Yea...just like camping, only under a bigger tent. Well, trenches were dug around the animal tent to keep the critters inside as dry as possible. Being that we were in the woods, with trees shedding leaves, and not much light...I stumbled into the trench on many occasions, usually while high. Of course this aggravated the knee more. When the tent came down, it was harder to remember where the trench was, and I managed to catch myself in it, landing on the knee once again.
It was pretty sore for a while after that, but eventually it settled down.
Perhaps I am just really that clumsy, but all of this damage still leaves me with pain that comes and goes whenever it wants. While my injury certainly is not as severe as some others can be, it is indeed a testament to the fact that life on the road is not without cost.
*BWB - Big Wooden Block; a device with multipurpose use.