Getting Sick Abroad

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Well, this is no fun :-(

Greetings from my bed, which I need to devote more time to.  I spent all day Thursday in a foreign hospital. This was pretty much my worst fear moving abroad, getting sick and feeling helpless in a far away place. Lord. I am partly to blame, though.

I am 0-2 in my latest travels. I left Singapore sick as a dog,  with a respiratory infection of some sort that I am just now shaking. And now here I am fresh off of a quick Eurotrip, and even though I felt it coming from all the stress, I didn't slow down or take a seat. So now my body has decided to do it for me. Bed rest and meds for me all weekend, maybe longer. Boo.

I admittedly haven't been giving myself enough time to get a proper night's rest lately, nor do I know how to be still when I'm ailing. Even as I type this I'm trying to resist the urge to get up or move, which is painful. I'm a homebody, but this aint me. I still need to get it through my head that I'm not going shopping tomorrow, I'm not gonna stroll through the alleys of Myeongdong, and I'm not getting that pedicure either. I'm staying in this bed until I'm better. Ugh.

Thankfully, I have decent medical insurance through my employer. I pay a small, annual deductible then 10% of the total cost thereafter. Medical care in Korea is overall much cheaper than it is in the states, where an ER visit can easily cost you $1,000+. So the money wasn't the issue here. But I cried a good cry in that hospital, where I was alone, and keeled over in pain. I was trying to explain my symptoms through a slight language barrier, and convey that I needed something stronger than the 1,000+ mg of ibuprofen I'd been taking to no avail (desperate times, but don't do this folks).

Now I'm ailing, but I'm also slightly able. I may not be able to walk or sit up right now, but I'm able to type this blog post and occupy my time. Many people don't fare as well. I've read some horror stories about people getting sick, injured, or worse, dying abroad. I have insurance through my employer that will cover me anywhere in the world, but not without a preauthorization. I also have medical travel insurance that covers me in the event of a medical emergency while I'm away.

I literally got sick the day I got back to Seoul. Literally. And I wasn't sick sick at that point, so I kept on going. Big mistake, but thankfully I was 'home' to endure through my mistake. If I had got sick during my trip, my travel insurance policy, which I pay for annually, would have covered me either at the primary level or secondary to the insurance that I have through my employer.

A lot of people don't bother with purchasing insurance to cover their trip or to cover themselves, and these are two very different things. Some find out the hard way that their medical insurance won't cover them abroad, and even if you're home and outside of the insurance network, you still might get stuck footing the bill. No bueno on all accounts. So when you book that flight, make sure you're also covered in the event that something happens to you, and it can. Do what you can on the front end to alleviate the burden of your loved ones possibly having to make decisions for you. It may not be something you want to think about, let alone talk about, but it's important. Shop for travel insurance, make sure it offers what you think you will need in case of an emergency, and bon voyage knowing that you're covered.

Whew. I know that was a lot, and fortunately my situation has not progressed to that, but anything can happen. I will try to be more mindful of this when I'm not feeling up to doing something, including traveling. Always listen to your gut, and always put yourself first.

So here's to obeying your body, not doing the most when you do get sick, and not taking health and feeling good for granted.

Please and thanks.

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