It was almost as an afterthought that Chuck bought travel medical insurance for our family as we headed out on our first out-of-country holiday. As Canadians we take universal medicare for granted. Our kids are healthy. Other than Noah’s croup at age 3 months I don’t think any of them have ever been sick enough or injured enough to see a doctor. But luckily Chuck paid the $40 for nine days of travel medical insurance. And luckily we have one of those auto insurance plans that covers you for rental vehicles. Because within five days we would need both of those insurance plans.

Sophie got sick almost as soon as we crossed the border into the US. At first it was mild and non-specific, but was we made our way down the coast of California on the train we started getting worried. By the time we got her to a hospital ER the next day she had perforated her appendix. We racked up medical bills pretty quickly after that. Within an hour or two she’d had blood work, plain xrays, an ultrasound and a CT scan. The surgeon had been consulted and she’d been referred to the pediatric surgery department at a major teaching hospital. What followed was a lights-and-sirens 70 mile ambulance transfer, assessment by two physicians in ER, admission as an in-patient and two days of IV’s, antibiotics, morphine and repeated assessments by the surgical team. It would have cost a fortune.

On the second morning she was in hospital I was driving the 70 miles in to trade off with Chuck at her bedside. I’d got up early and was cruising along the interstate hoping to be there early. Some guy in a paratransit van pulled over into my lane without looking, side-swiping the rental vehicle, creating dents all down the two passenger side doors. He’d been reported to the police for erratic driving 20 minutes earlier, and his octagenarian passengers told the police that his driving was “terrible!” so there was no question where the fault lay. But still, without an insurance company to broker the claim on our behalf we would probably have had to pay out of pocket and I’m sure it would have been tough to pursue a personal claim against him from Canada.

(They do say that bad luck comes in twos, right? That stuff about threes is just a myth. I hope. If not, can I count the fact that it has rained on us here in the desert as our third bit of bad luck, please? I don’t think I can take any more catastrophes.)

Anyway, I am very thankful for the insurance we carried on this trip. We’ve never before had to rely on insurance like this. It has worked flawlessly for us.

Oh, and for those who haven’t followed the saga on Facebook, I’ll just reassure you that no one was injured in the car accident, and Sophie is out of hospital and doing fairly well, choking back her antibiotics and codeine like a trooper, and managing to eat a bit too.

Insurance Gratitude

22 thoughts on “Insurance Gratitude

  • February 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Wow. Best $40 ever spent, or what?
    And yes, I think you can count that rain as number 3. 😉

    We recently moved back to the west coast (California) from the east coast (Vermont) and lost our healthcare along the way. I worry about it constantly and dream of such things as universal medicare happening in this country.

    Anyway, just delurking to say glad you are all well.

  • February 6, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I don't know you really but have been following the blog for years so it feels as though I do! Just wanted to wish Sophie all the best for her recovery. I can just imagine how grateful you are for all that insurance!

  • February 6, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Wow! Definitely glad you had insurance. Healthcare costs in this country are awful.

    I've been reading your blog for probably 4 years, and you have inspired many of my thoughts and choices for home education for my kids, the oldest of whom is now 5.5. Thank you!

    I hope you are all home and safe and recovered soon.

  • February 6, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Oh my goodness!! Thankfully you got insurance! I cant imagine how much that would have cost..and I'm glad everyone is ok! I bet you can't wait to be home! What an adventure! Poor Sophie!

  • February 6, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Sophie. Certainly more adventure than you bargained for?

  • February 6, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Oh my goodness! I'm so glad Sophie is okay and that the accident didn't cause any injuries.

  • February 6, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Glad to hear Sophie is OK! How scary that must have been while traveling on a train.
    Side swiped by a reckless driver *yikes* I hope he is taken off the road for a LONG time.
    Rain in the desert? Possible. When we went to California in 2008 San Diego had their first thunderstorm in like 15 years!
    Are you back home?

  • February 6, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Oh wow. I was hoping you were having such a great time in Joshua Tree you didn't have time to post. So sorry to hear about everything that's happened. And while I'm sure you're just really happy that Sophie's OK, it must be so disappointing when you haven't had a holiday together in such a long time.
    Here's hoping things improve!

  • February 6, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Wow! Best $40 spent ever! I work in ER (in Canada) and have seen some tragic stories from out-of-country visitors who mistakenly thought all health care in Canada was free, and are shocked when we present them with a bill. I just looked after a twenty-something girl doing the backpack/hostel/travel thing, who tripped on the stairs, ended up with bilateral calcaneus fractures, and a coccyx fracture. No insurance. When I went off shift, she was contemplating either a) receiving treatment in Canada and paying the bill, or b) making a long, painful flight back to her home country for treatment. I'm sure your hubby has seen similar cases. When I was in my travel/backpack phase, I used to pay about $50 per year for travel insurance. I just can't begin to comprehend how someone can decide to travel anywhere without any health insurance.

    Oh yeah, I absolutely agree, the rain counts as the 3rd bit of back luck. You're officially done with catastrophes for the foreseeable future. Sorry to hear your 1st family vacation in so long ended up this way.

  • February 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Argh. I was imagining loads of rockclimbing, lots of running and a heap of chilling out.
    Great to hear it is all sorting out.
    We have just returned from our 2nd Suzuki Summer camp.It got me thinking of your family and how finding your blog 3 years ago inspired us onto the whole Suzuki journey which we are loving. Thanks for blogging.

  • February 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Oh no!!! Just the kind of excitement you don't look for in a holiday! Glad to hear Sophie is out of hospital and doing better. Praying the rest of your vacation is UNeventful!

  • February 6, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    What a nightmare for your family, Miranda. I'm glad to hear that Sophie is healing well and that you were able to get her treated so quickly.

  • February 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Oh my God! What a 'holiday'! I am so glad that Sophie is okay! I hope you can relax now that you are at home!

  • February 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I'm so glad everyone is ok in the end! How scary!

  • February 6, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    At the risk of repeating everyone else's comments, I wanted to add my sympathies for your holiday troubles and hope everything goes brilliantly from now on.

  • February 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Wow, Miranda. Sorry to hear all of this has been happening to your family. Glad to hear though, Sophie is doing better. Glad you weren't hurt in the accident.

    Take care and thinking about all of you. (((hugs)))

  • February 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Add me to the list of longtime lurkers who want to wish Sophie a speedy recovery and your entire family a much less eventful vacation next time around. 🙂

    Also should probably get around to saying at last: I love your blog and have enjoyed watching your children grow up for the last several years. My son is Erin's age and your thoughtful writing about homeschooling has helped us immeasurably on the journey.

  • February 8, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Poor Sophie- has she now had her appendix removed? And are you all still in the US, or have you made it home?

  • February 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

    So sorry your vacation was spent in the hospital but glad that Sophie is now ok and you weren't hurt in the car accident. What a trip!

    Hope you get the chance for a real vacation sometime soon!

  • February 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    EEK – that is not such a great start. Hope the rest of the holiday is wonderful and Sophie is feeling better.

  • February 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    A holiday no one will forget! Glad Sophie is feeling better and that the car accident was not more serious! I couldn't imagine crossing the border for even 10 minutes without insuring everyone.


  • February 13, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Wow! I'm so glad your husband spent that extra money! I hope Sophie is recovering well!

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