Getting Sick on Vacation - Live Like a Mensch
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Getting Sick on Vacation


One of the downsides to vacationing while pregnant is what to do if you start feeling under the weather, which is exactly what happened to me last week.

On Thursday, I woke up with a pain in my ear. (No, it was not LO shouting at me to wake up and join him in welcoming a glad new day.)

I asked J, who recently suffered the indignities of an ear infection, what his symptoms had been. They seemed to jibe with mine.

Normally, if I were on vacation and not pregnant, I would ignore the issue until we arrived home. If I were pregnant and not on vacation, I'd give my midwife's office a quick ring to find out whether I should or could come in. Being both pregnant and on vacation, I felt I should probably nip the problem in the bud, lest somehow an infection in my ear were to spread to other more baby-centric portions of my person.

So, on Saturday, I located a nearby Urgent Care, and timed my arrival to coincide with them opening their doors.

This, I may say, was the nicest Urgent Care facility I have ever seen. The waiting area was spotless and decorated in soothing blues, maroons, and grays, rather than the usual institutional unappetizing/stained beige. There were potted plants about, and a refreshment station offering coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. The ubiquitous waiting area television was actual tuned to something you might enjoy watching (Pirates of the Caribbean) rather than the spittle-flecked talking heads on a 24-hour news station that is often what passes for calming waiting room entertainment in such establishments.

When my name was called, I half expected to be asked if I wanted the optional shoulder massage with my consultation.

Instead, I was informed that this Urgent Care did not accept my insurance. I would have to pay out of pocket.

I inquired about the price.

It would be $150.

I indicated that I did not feel quite that sick.

Since I was located in what amounts to health care heaven (although I suspect that had I poured myself some hot chocolate, they would have asked me to give it back once they realized that I did not have the right kind of insurance--"That's not for you!!"), the receptionist was kind enough to direct me to another Urgent Care within 5 miles of that location that did accept my insurance. She even gave me their phone number, address, and directions to get there.

When I arrived at the second facility, I discovered that I truly wasn't in idyllic Kansas anymore. This Urgent Care didn't bother to turn on all the lights in the waiting room. There was no television (which was fine by me), but also no 17 year-old copies of Golf Digest, either. The waiting room chairs looked as though they might ensure that you got sick, whether you walked in the door that way or not.

But, they accepted my insurance, by gum, and my 15 minutes with the doctor was free to me.

(I will mention that my favorite portion of my visit was when the nurse asked me what medications I was taking. I told her that I was on a pre-natal vitamin. "Oh, are you pregnant?" she asked, sounding surprised. I looked down at my belly, which was quivering with Thing 2's kicks, and just nodded.)

The doctor told me that I was infection free, but that I had fluid in my ear. She prescribed me some ear drops, and I stopped by a Walgreen's just down the street to fill it, thinking naively that our insurance would cover prescriptions from there since our mail-order prescriptions are serviced through Walgreen's.

That turned out to not be the case.

The pharmacist regretfully informed me that I would have to pay out-of-pocket for my ear drops.

I inquired about the price.

It was $17.50.

"Sold!" I said, since I was fairly confident that I was feeling nearly $30 worth of pain. (More than $30, and I might have just grinned and bore it, considering I was neither going to go deaf nor give the baby some sort of zombie ear infection).

Thankfully, I'm all better now, and no longer have ear pain--other than what I experience when LO decides to turn his outside voice up to 11.

I still wonder if I could have gotten the spa treatment at the first Urgent Care, if only I'd had the right insurance.


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