Prepare to get sick

On Valentine's Day, when other people were exchanging chocolates, flowers and maybe even body fluids, I was undergoing the Attack of the Choleliths.

That's “gallstones,” for those lucky enough never to have had them. “Cholelith” makes a swell Scrabble word in the future but it's not much fun in the moment. It really did feel like an attack — a series of body blows from a concrete boxing glove.

During a February 28 surgical consultation, I was given the option for a March 1 laparascopic procedure. I accepted instantly, then whirled and howled for the next day and a half (more on that below). Check-in was at 6 a.m., surgery at 7:30, and at high noon I headed home to recuperate — frugally.

As an independent contractor, I don't get sick days as such. I just don't get paid if I don't write. This time I was lucky: Since I had some warning, I was able to prepare for a temporary decommissioning — and because I have a year-round readiness plan in place, I was able to use most of those 36 hours to get ahead of myself, writing-wise.

How about you? If you got sick tomorrow, would you be able to cope not just physically, but financially?

Doctor holding piggy bank

Basic needs

Suppose the virus that's going around vaults the walls of your cubicle tomorrow. Could you stay reasonably nourished and medicated while the sickness ran its course? Or would you have to stagger to the nearest store for TheraFlu and Campbell's?

Before you get sick is the time to shop for your favorite broths and over-the-counter meds. Best-case scenario: You buy them on sale and use coupons. Even if you don't, you'll still be buying at a reasonable price. (Reality check: Next time you're in a convenience store, note the cost of a bottle of NyQuil.)

People who don't get sick often may not think about what they'd need if they suddenly came down with the epizootic. Imagine yourself at home with a bad strep throat. Now imagine that the only things in your cupboards are instant coffee, peanut butter and a bag of scratchy, salty tortilla chips.

When your eyes stop watering, read my list of basic sick stuff, which can be tailored to suit your dietary or medicinal values:

Basic Sick Stuff


To eat:

  • Soup, in generic cans or organic cartons.
  • If you think you might have to vomit, you might only want broth. Speaking of barf: A few spoons of the syrup from canned fruit will quiet an upset stomach, so keep a can or two on hand.
  • If the other end of the GI tract is the source (ahem) of your illness, remember the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. I always have at least one loaf of bread in the freezer; plain crackers are good, too.

To drink:

  • Gatorade or Powerade will replace electrolytes.
  • Hot tea, especially with honey, is super-soothing.
  • Canned, bottled or frozen juice tastes great if you're feverish; they're also good smoothie-starters if you've had oral surgery and can't chew. (Remember, too, that dental work is God's way of saying, “Oh, go ahead — have a milkshake for lunch.”)

To self-medicate:

  • Whether you do Big Pharma or organic/homeopathic/herbal, lay in a basic supply of meds at the best prices you can find. I'm currently dipping into some Advil that I got free after rebate. A few months ago, coupons and rebates got me some free Ricola lozenges and some nearly free cold meds. Here's hoping I don't need them.

Stocking up

If your ailment is not the fever-and-ague type — say, a back injury or a broken leg — you'll be thankful if you have a nice, deep pantry. You don't need the stress of trying to shop, or of fretting about the cost of delivered groceries and/or takeout.

Note: It's really OK to cook like a peasant vs. a gourmand for a while. Preparing an elaborate spread just isn't as much fun while balancing on crutches or wracked by lumbar spasms.

You won't come down with a nutritional deficiency if you have PBJs three times in a week either. They're inexpensive and easy, and pretty tasty with some of that canned chicken soup. No one has to know you didn't make your own stock.

If you're already a batch-cooking practitioner, take a moment to congratulate yourself on your cleverness: You've got a freezer full of goodies to heat and eat. Even if you're not a batch-cooker, an impending date for elective surgery could spur you to fix a few favorite dishes and parcel them into freezer containers.

In my case, I was told I probably wouldn't feel like eating for a few days. My solution was to put a large batch of oatmeal in the fridge, with flaxseed and milk already mixed in, and to make an extra batch of yogurt. Boy, was I glad I did. I'd heat up two or three spoons of horse-food at a time or add a touch of homemade jam to an eighth of a cup of yogurt. Both were easy to get down, and they also cushioned the Oxycodone/Tylenol pills. (That's probably the weirdest word-pairing I'll use this year.)

I also moved my canned soup from a lower cupboard to one at eye level. If you're having surgery, I would suggest you do the same, so that you can reach for them without saying bad, bad words.

You've gotta have friends

Illness can leave you feeling isolated, vulnerable and even a little bit afraid. In some cases it's actually dangerous for you to be alone, e.g., you're too unsteady to get to and from the bathroom or to fix meals.

Obviously, you'd do well to polish up your inner strength — other people survived head colds, and you will too. But you should accept help graciously when it's warranted. Because I'd had general anesthesia, a relative spent about five hours at my apartment. (I napped most of that time.) After she was sure I could move around on my own and form complete sentences, she left. I went back to bed.

Single people are definitely more challenged, but even if you have a partner he or she probably can't be with you every second. By all means answer in the affirmative when family or friends ask “Is there anything I can do?” You might need someone to stay with you for a night or two if you're wobbly, to pick up a prescription refill, to drop by (not unannounced!) and watch a movie with you. (Hint: Laughter is the best medicine but it plays hob with stitches.)

Practice saying “thank you kindly” if your BFF offers a ride to PT, or if your sister drops by with a casserole and also runs the vacuum and scoops the litter box. Otherwise you'll have to hire part-time help. Family and friends will work for free.

And when I say “free,” I mean “they do it because they love you.” You'll be lots more lovable if:

  • You make it clear you will reciprocate in times of illness or in terms of loaning your pickup next time BFF changes apartments.
  • You write notes about how much you appreciated the help. If your sister or pal went beyond the pale — think: changing dressings, emptying urinals — include a small gift with that note. I suggest a discounted gift card to the person's favorite place. Still way cheaper than a day nurse.

Life without salary

My health insurance deductible is $1,500. While I'm not nuts about the out-of-pocket expenses, I can meet them because I have an emergency fund. How's your EF? If you don't have one, start one. Please. Today. For tips on jump-starting your savings, see “Think you can't afford an emergency fund? Think again!

As noted, I don't get paid if I don't work. Quite a few people — new employees, part-time workers, entrepreneurs — are in the same boat. If you missed a week's salary, would you be able to meet basic expenses? This is another reason that the EF is vital.

Nobody expects to get sick or injured. I sure didn't expect gall bladder surgery, although my sister points out that our grandmother had hers taken out. Mom-Mom lived on home-grown produce and game meat and fish and never weighed more than 110 pounds during her 90-year lifespan, yet gallbladder woes sent her to a surgeon.

In other words, no matter how healthy you think you are, you might be blindsided one of these days. Build your savings.

Another tactic: See if there's any part of your job that you can do from home. Suppose you blew out your knee, necessitating surgery and a period of immobility. Any chance you could telecommute, even half-time (once you're off your own brand of Oxycodone/Tylenol, that is)?

Keeping at least some work coming in might prevent the boss from wondering if he could get along without you permanently. This is an unsavory line of thinking from a supervisor.

This won't work for every job. But think about it now, while you're still healthy.

A few more tips

One of the things I did in that day and a half before surgery was to pick up my pain meds. If you know you're going to need a prescription, look for the best deal you can get. Companies like LowestMed or GoodRx can help with that. If you are an inveterate reader of the drugstore ads, you already know which ones offer gift cards for new prescriptions.

If you'll need a heating pad, shower chair or other specialty item, use a price aggregator such as PriceGrabber or online deal sites like Savings.com or Retail Me Not. You can usually get free shipping, and having this stuff delivered saves you one or more trips.

Keep a water bottle or pitcher within reach. This is especially useful if it hurts to get out of bed or off the couch. Yes, the docs want you up and walking; but if you drink enough water, you'll get up eventually.

Make sure your laundry is done. When you're recovering from surgery is not the time to drag a bag of clothes to the basement.

Lay in a supply of books you always meant to read. They're a terrific distraction from the itch of a knitting bone.

Sleep. Your body needs to heal, and good sleep is one of the best investments you can make. Giving in to naps does not make you a bad person. Just blame it on the Oxycodone/Tylenol.

More about...Health & Fitness

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Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
Kevin @ Thousandaire.com
8 years ago

I never prepare to get sick, primarily because I’m one of those people who never get sick.

However, if I did get sick I do have medical insurance, about $6,000 stocked away in a HSA (with more contributions every month), and short term disability. I should be okay if anything happens.

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
8 years ago

YES! This is something I always tell friends -always, always, always have at least catastrophic medical coverage. No one ever says, “oh I think I’ll get hit by a car today!” or “hmmm it’s time for appendix-bursting!” Those expenses can just wipe you out and keep you wiped out for months, if not years.

Kris
Kris
8 years ago

Can we just all stop with the “blaming the victim” when we talk about sickness and health? This is not really in response to the comments here per se, but the implication in a lot of the comments of GRS is that you are responsible directly for your disease. Some disease, it is true, can be linked to too much smoking, drinking, obesity, and not enough exercise. But most are not. (Admittedly, I am not looking for the data – but I think in terms of expenditures, the number is 30% related to the above lifestyle choices or conditions.) People… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Kris

Amen, brother Ben! My daughter was a superbly healthy college student until she caught a virus from her roommate. She couldn’t seem to shake it. A few days later, she was on life support in the Intensive Care Unit.
Shit happens, folks. Even when you’re doing everything right.

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
8 years ago

OUCH! I am glad to see you are doing better and writing again… that sounds like a very painful ordeal. I like your advice on buying ahead of time – when I find that I have something even mildly uncomfortable, a cold or a heachache, for example, I tend to rush out and buy aspirin or headpads without really looking for the best deal. We tried to keep a stock of aspirin and neosporin on hand, they almost always expire before we use it all up. Soup is good. When I’m sick I always crave soup, and while delivery is… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

Excellent, thought-provoking post. In the last two years I’ve had two friends fall on the ice and end up out of commission for months, so I know it happens. I hadn’t considered preparing for that type of accident, but you raise a good point.

SmartMoneyHelp
SmartMoneyHelp
8 years ago

Good Tips!

One tip that has given me a lot of success has been to wash my hands before every meal.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  SmartMoneyHelp

Good point. The corollary: Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes or mouth. The cooties you picked up on the doorknob or the shared computer have less of a chance of infecting you if you keep your hands away from entry points.

El
El
8 years ago

I like to think of it as making it easy for my future self. We all know it’s coming . . . I was sick last week and thanked my lucky stars that I had just gotten done cleaning house and doing laundry. At least I had clean, pleasant surroundings to recuperate in.

Laura+Vanderkam
Laura+Vanderkam
8 years ago

Yep, self-employed people have to fund their own “benefits” — but sometimes it helps to think of it that way. This is my sick days fund, this is my long-term disability fund. Paying for a “maternity leave” of sorts is also a challenge many self-employed women face, but like anything else, you make hay while the sun shines so you can stop for a bit when it doesn’t.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

I like the idea of separate funds. The fact that you can create and name sub-accounts online makes this even better: $25 to vacation fund, $25 to emergency fund, $25 to the oh-crap fund…

Jen G.
Jen G.
8 years ago

This is one of those articles that came with great timing. I’m single and just got a bad sprain (two weeks later and I still can’t put weight on my foot). I was lucky that my mom was able to stay with me and help out for a couple of weeks, but I was definitely not prepared for any kind of accident/illness. I’m bookmarking this page for when I’m back to normal and able to grocery shop again.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen G.

Ouch. I feel your pain. Or HAVE felt it, anyway:
https://www.getrichslowly.org/want-to-save-money-slow-down/

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

Two explosive words – Socialized medicine

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Our deficit is $16 trillion. We quite simply can’t afford it. Even if we could, it would end up eating so much of our production that it wouldn’t be sustainable. People don’t understand how expensive health care is, especially new drugs/procedures/technology, and to think that everyone deserves it is absurd on so many levels. Health care is a huge incentive to work and produce. I would love to live in a world where people don’t have to worry about getting sick and not being able to afford healthcare/insurance. But, once you take emotion out of your thinking, socialized medicine makes… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I don’t think you understand what “socialized” health care means. In Canada, most of us rely on our employers’ health insurance to cover what our provincial plans don’t — like dental, optical, medications, some tests and procedures, specialized services like counseling and physiotherapy, for instance. Even with provincial and employer coverage, people pay of out pocket for some expenses. It’s not a giant free-for-all up here. The difference is that people without employer coverage — like people starting their own businesses — can go to an emergency room or go to the doctor without wracking up huge bills or going… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I’m all for people getting healthcare/insurance who work and pay for it. But if I get the same health insurance as someone who pays much more into the system than me, then what’s my incentive to work harder to produce as much as that person?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Interesting. I have never heard of anyone in Canada say “Gee, what’s the point of getting ahead or working at all because I have free health care?” As far as I can tell, we work, and work to get ahead, for the same reasons as Americans: employer health coverage, financial security, affording the basics and some luxuries, retiring comfortably, owning a home, paying for their kids education, having emergency savings, etc. However, I have heard people say that doing with out employer health benefits is one reason they’re afraid to start their own business. What Americans often don’t understand is… Read more »

sjw
sjw
8 years ago

For some reason your later post isn’t replyable. “I’m all for people getting healthcare/insurance who work and pay for it. But if I get the same health insurance as someone who pays much more into the system than me, then what’s my incentive to work harder to produce as much as that person?” Well you usually get better benefits if you have better private insurance, which generally comes through your work. e.g. private rooms, better physio coverage.. Also, taxes do increase as you make more, but you also see more money in your pocket as you make more, it isn’t… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

I think your last point is relevant, but that’s an expensive price to pay to avoid the slight chance of an infectious disease. In other words, it certainly doesn’t seem worth it. People often say that wanting better coverage or even a better life is a big incentive to work more, and it is for some people, like me, but it’s not true across the board. There are plenty of people who are completely content living in their subsidized housing, using food stamps, and using emergency rooms as their PCP. Think about drug addicts: do you think they’re thinking about… Read more »

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

For Matt (no reply button) **If I got fired tomorrow, I could get free housing and free food.** Really? Where is it you live exactly? We work in my family because we want to eat and maintain our house, have some clothes, be able to vacation from time to time, and send our kids to college and still be able to retire. We don’t work out of fear. You sound like a fire and brimstone preacher trying to scare people into being good. I prefer to be good and do the right thing because I have morals, not because I’m… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Jen,

I’m glad you work hard and not just out of fear. If you’re taking the time to read a blog like this one, then you’re probably a motivated person. But not everyone shares such drive. There are plenty of people who would not bother working if not for the “fear” of not having healthcare.

My point is that if the government starts providing everything for free, then the incentive to produce is taken away. That’s simple human nature.

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

@ Matt

You keep saying stuff like “But not everyone shares such drive. There are plenty of people who would not bother working if not for the “fear” of not having healthcare.”

Who are these people? Where is any evidence of this other than you say it happens.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

I know plenty of people who are collecting unemployment, still under healthcare coverage, and won’t bother looking for a job because it’s not financially worth it. Do I really have to explain that people won’t work for something if it’s free?

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

@ Matt

“I know plenty of people” is not proof, that’s just you saying something.

I’m looking for actual evidence that backs up your claim that people won’t work for something that’s free.

I would even be willing to accept proof from another country where health care is socialized and no works because they can get “free” health care.

Although I won’t take unemployment rates as proof because of the current economy.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Ali, You need proof that people won’t work for something if it’s free? When Obama extended unemployment benefits, unemployment went up (he was shocked!). That’s pretty good evidence right there. Put a bird feeder in your backyard. See if any birds come for the free food. See if more keep coming. Tell students that they all get A’s for free, without studying. See how they do. Look at athletic performance in contract years in professional sports, and look at the difference. Go offer to pay someone their salary even if they don’t work. See how hard they work. People win… Read more »

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Matt- I am asking for definitive proof about your claims. Like a study or something you can cite. Not just “birds eat from a bird feeder” which doesn’t even make sense in the context of things. Or – I know a bunch of people. You mentioned Obama and unemployment, okay find me a source and a citation. I’m asking for PROOF to back up your claims. And you can’t provide anyway, so I just assume you are making stuff up. See, I can tell you about my cousin who died (I mentioned him in another comment). I can also tell… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Ali, It never ceases to amaze me that human nature has to be explained. Should I have to explain that guys are more into looks than women? Should I need to prove that? Or can you just think about your life’s experiences? Here’s a good article: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-09-09/news/30155083_1_unemployment-benefits-long-term-unemployed-people-jobs-package It’s unbiased, but it gets my point across with some real life examples. Here’s another one that’s very biased. http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/should-congress-extend-federal-unemployment-benefits/no-free-lunch-in-subsidy-programs As for all of your heart-touching stories. I feel bad for all of the people, including some in my own family, in similar situations. But those examples just prove to me that you’re… Read more »

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Matt-

I’ve always heard it asserted that women are more into looks than guys.

Also my life experiences tell that people need safety nets and that there are lots of people who would LOVE to have insurance coverage but either they can’t afford it, even working a full time job, (often while sick) or they can’t get it because they were denied.

You still haven’t shown me any proof that people will stop working if America goes to a single payer health care system.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

Ali, I never said people would stop working. I said that the incentive to work would be reduced, resulting in decreased production. I just sent you proof. Read those articles. More importantly, think about it conceptually. It’s easier that way. Now you prove to me that giving people free healthcare won’t have any negative affects on production. You’ve heard it asserted? What do you think? Is that logical to you? To me, from everyday experiences, men are more into looks. Why? Conceptually, from an evolutionary point of view, men should be more into looks from a reproductive fitness point of… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

The argument that socialized health care “simply doesn’t work” is demonstrably false and a complete fabrication. It works plenty fine for billions of people around the world in lots of other counties and all those people still get up and go to work in the morning. Go wander around Tokyo and tell some of the healthiest, hardest-working people in the world that, “social healthcare simply doesn’t work”. And further, if we can afford to pay for the health insurance we have now, then we could afford to pay for the same amount of healthcare in a different that is less… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Germany is in charge of the Euro: how’s that doing? How’s Japan’s debt situation? You’re thinking about it emotionally, as most do. I know you’re trying to be offensive, which is fine. I get it all the time with these discussions: I’m called an idiot, short-sighted, stupid, etc. I work off of logic, not others’ opinions, and not emotion. As far as profit-driven being less efficient, you need to read about the logic of the free market. The drive for profits is what makes things more efficient. If the government runs something, there’s no real incentive to make something more… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

As far as profit-driven being less efficient, you need to read about the logic of the free market. The drive for profits is what makes things more efficient. If the government runs something, there’s no real incentive to make something more efficient. In the free market, efficiency translates to financial benefit: we all know how great those are at GRS. Very few markets are truly free markets. Pretending every product and service exists in a perfectly free market is not helpful. Maybe if we’re talking about wheat or peas or something like that, but once you leave that realm of… Read more »

Courtney
Courtney
8 years ago

“The drive for profits is what makes things more efficient.”

And in private health insurance, you know what makes the most profits? Denying claims.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

To Anne: “An injured worker with access to healthcare can return to work and be productive.” How much will his healthcare cost, and how much will he produce? Will it cover the difference? Is it worth figuring that out? If I can get injured and still be covered for free, what’s the point of saving? “Without him, they are more likely to be burdens on the state, not less so. ” The burden shouldn’t fall on the state: that’s my whole point! “If she’s well and gets her new hip, she can continue to babysit which allows the parents to… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Courtney:

Yes there will be abuses in any system, including the free market. That’s why we have a legal system.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

Germany is in charge of the Euro: how’s that doing? How’s Japan’s debt situation? The euro would be doing just fine if it was up to Germany, or are you really suggesting that Greece’s financial troubles are the result of the German healthcare system? Japan’s debt situation is a lot like ours (worse, I guess, but not fundamentally different), and you know perfectly well I could have used lots. You are trying to deflect my argument by pointing out completely irrelevant tangents. You’re thinking about it emotionally, as most do. I absolutely am not. I am pointing out verifiable, established… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Tyler, Nothing I’ve brought up is irrelevant. I’m not being emotional. I’m a scientist, and I study diseases for a living. I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to trying to figure out a way for people to live without having to get sick and suffer. That’s my emotional choice, and I love every minute of it. But when it comes to social issues, I check my emotion at the door. It can only cloud my judgment. Germany, and the rest of the Eurozone, are in trouble because of entitlement programs. “Japan’s debt situation is a lot like ours.” Is… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

None of your points refute any of the things I’m saying, you keep changing the subject. First you said “we can’t have social healthcare, if we did, nobody would show up for work.” And I said “look at Japan and Germany — they have social healthcare and are very productive, people still show up for work.” And when you apparently found that irrefutable, you changed the subject and replied with “well, Germany has this other problem, look how bad the Euro is doing!” You didn’t even attempt to show that this was related to hardworking Germans getting “free” healthcare, but… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Tyler, I’m not changing the subject at all. I never said “nobody would show up for work.” I’m arguing that the incentive to be productive would be reduced. “If I get fired, that’s ok, because I still have healthcare.” If you don’t think Germany’s ties to the euro and the entitlement programs in Europe have anything to do with healthcare then I’m afraid a logical discussion with you is impossible. You keep bringing up Greece. I didn’t even mention it. We spend a lot on healthcare because our doctors have to pay absurd tuitions due to the government trying to… Read more »

Tania
Tania
8 years ago

We also have ‘socialised medicine’ or Medicare in Australia, with the option of private insurance. People who earn a high income are charged taxes at a higher rate to support Medicare unless they are paying for private health insurance.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago

Im certainly responding a day late and a dollar short, and for some unknown reason I cannot reply to matt. that said, as someone who has lived in germany for many yeas, and used their medical care as an outsider, AMEN. to be brief, healthcare is primarily paid for by employees, EVERY employee has to pay a flat percentage. Coverage for everyone is equal (no cafeteria plans). Most importantly, costs are much less for care that is as good if not better. My husband had liver cancer. He had the chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, experiemntal proceedures, drugs, home health care and… Read more »

Kat
Kat
8 years ago

Firstly, Germany does not control the euro, the European Central Bank is based in Frankfurt because Germany an economic center in the eurozone, but the ECB is not a German institution, its current president is an Italian (before, that, a Frenchman and a Dutchman), and its board is not run by Germans, and its rules are not German-based. Secondly, Japan’s debt is a complicated thing that has little to do with healthcare, it has more to do with their historical spending on internal projects, trying to stimulate their own economy by borrowing to spend on itself. Blame mostly public works… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Germany has to power to print euros: therefore, they control the Euro. Pick any country in Europe with socialized medicine, doesn’t matter if it’s Germany: how are things going over there? Japan’s debt isn’t complicated at all: they spent too much. They didn’t produce enough to pay back their debt. We can’t afford socialized medicine in the US right now. Even if we could, it would be unsustainable. There’d be very few reasons left to work. Free food, free housing, free healthcare. Who’s left to pay for it all? If everyone gets a B, then what’s the real value of… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

I wish a few other Canadians would pipe up here 🙂 I’m not sure which is worse — when Americans unfairly criticize our health care system or unfairly praise it. It has its issues, it’s expensive and its sustainability is certainly suspect. I agree with Matt on that. However, socialized medicine doesn’t equal socialism. Just because a country has some level of publicly funded health care doesn’t make them a nanny state. Maybe it’s true that Americans would be less inclined to work if they had “free” health care (though I doubt that would be the case) but the rest… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Elizabeth, I agree that the rest of the world doesn’t think like Americans. I feel like here in the US we feel entitled to certain things, and its logically and economically unjustified. Perhaps other cultures, more focused on the group than the individual, would have more luck with socialized medicine, but I still think it’s too expensive. I also agree that a basal level of healthcare may be sustainable, but it would have to be very basic. Perhaps if the tuition bubble, created by the government’s desire to help everyone attain an education (remember housing, everyone?), finally pops, doctors won’t… Read more »

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

**if you could explain to me logically how giving someone healthcare for free is sustainable**

Where are you getting free from? Employer based healthcare isn’t free and neither is healthcare that is now available to be bought by people with pre-existing conditions. They’re paying premiums. In countries like Canada, they pay taxes and then may pay for additional coverage through employers, if desired.

No one is suggesting that all health care should be free — why are you arguing against a point no one is making?

Kat
Kat
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Matt, just because they print euros, doesn’t mean they “control” them – the ECB determines how many they can print. As for how Europe’s doing, better than third world countries that don’t have socialized medicine (it’s not like there are any developed countries without socialized healthcare to compare to, other than the US, which has a large socialized medicine progam already for the retired population anyway). And yes, Japan spends too much, but not on healthcare, they have the lowest healthcare costs of any developed nation. Have you ever been to either Germany or Japan? I have. The people there… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Jen, I agree with everything your said. I never argued otherwise. I don’t understand what you meant, to be honest. If you’re getting healthcare from your employer that means you’re working for it. If you’re paying for it yourself, you’re working for it. About pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies should be allowed to check for them. Insurance works because the companies can calculate roughly the cost of services to its clients. If they’re not allowed to check for pre-existing conditions, then the business is unpredictable, and therefore unsustainable. From a moral perspective, getting health insurance with a pre-existing condition is like… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Kat, Yes I do have evidence: all across the country people take advantage of free healthcare and free food and free housing. The emergency room costs are through the roof. You mention all of these other countries, and how they have socialized medicine, and still work, etc. But, if you could afford healthcare anywhere, where would you get it? The answer is the US. If, hypothetically, you don’t know whether you’ll be poor or wealthy, you would not pick the US, because access may be an issue and that would be a big risk. (That example was used in a… Read more »

ali
ali
8 years ago

@ Matt – no one is proposing free health care. What’s being proposed in the US is single payer health care.

Also I asked for you to show me a country where there was “free healthcare” and people didn’t work (or didn’t work as m uch).

But honestly I’m done arguing with someone who thinks birds flocking to a bird feeder is in any way equal to single payer health care and worker productivity

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  ali

Ali, I showed you countries where that happens: The US! Emergency room visits. Would people go to emergency rooms so often if they weren’t free? Also, I asked you to show me a country where they implemented some form of free healthcare and production wasn’t affected. You can’t! I enjoy these arguments. You can deny that people will work for something that is otherwise free, but it’s simply not the case. I would say that it takes some powerful denial for that to happen, but it’s so prevalent that I can’t. There’s no one who wants to see pain and… Read more »

Janette
Janette
8 years ago

We do have a socialized system of care in the US. It exists in the military. No matter your rank or experience- the soldier and family are cared for.

OTOH – your reference to emergency rooms? My daughter went to an emergency room. She was not coherent. They did not think she had insurance. They sedated her, removed her appendix and a Fallopian tube, and sent her back to the dorm in a cab in six hours. I wouldn’t call that great care, would you?

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Janette

The people in the military have to work, and risk death, in order to get that healthcare, for the good of the country. So, they don’t get it for free, so I don’t see what your point is. If I work at company X and get the same care as the CEO, then that’s a great company to work for, and they can hire better employees than company Y, who gives inadequate health insurance to their lowly employees. I’m sorry about your daughter, but it sounds like “not thinking she had health insurance” is the least of the problems with… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Okay, Matt, Anne and others… I’m curious — what do you think universal health care covers?

Pop quiz: I’m in Ontario — if I get injured, do you know what expenses the government pays versus what my employer pays versus what I pay? (I do — I’ve been through it). If I get sick, who is responsible for what costs?

There’s a lot of interesting debate here, but I can’t tell how much people actually know about the health care system in Canada. (I have to be honest — it doesn’t sound like a lot!)

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I didn’t mention Canada once. I’m not from Ontario, I haven’t been through it, so I couldn’t possibly know all of the coverage for every part of the world unless I studied it intensely. However, I do know that some provinces have different plans. Employer coverage varies. I understand that the better your job, the better your coverage. So there is some incentive to produce more. My point is that whether it’s even conscious or not, the prospect of huge medical bills is a huge incentive to work and to buy insurance. If you wanna do pop quizzes, what did… Read more »

Mariana
Mariana
8 years ago

As a nurse in the US I don’t understand the resistance to government sponsored healthcare. Regardless of someone’s insurance status, they’ll get whatever medical care they need once they end up sick enough in an ER somewhere. (Unless they die first from fear of acquiring further bills, like was mentioned by another commenter.) Hospitals write those costs off and the state then reimburses the hospital. (That is simplified, but essentially what happens.) And there are already plenty of programs in place for people who just want the government to take care of them. (Medicaid and the various state-sponsored insurance plans.)… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

Uh uh. You made the claim that universal health care is a detriment to productivity — the burden of proof is on you, not me. You haven’t presented any evidence that people in the U.S. are any more productive or motivated than people in countries with universal health care. The arguments aren’t logical. I can’t say whether your arguments apply to the U.S. or not, but I can say they don’t apply to all the countries with universal health care. I’m not sure many Canadians actually understand what coverage they have 😉 The reason I asked the questions is that… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

Marianna, My argument would be that we shouldn’t cover these emergency room visits. It should be up to the hospitals whether or not they want to treat individuals who come in with no insurance. Elizabeth, You can see my other post. If I need to explain why getting healthcare is an incentive to get and keep a job then I suggest you just take 10 seconds to think about it. It’s human nature. I don’t know how to explain something so simple. Can I give you numbers reflecting productivity? No, most economic numbers are fudged by the government to make… Read more »

L
L
8 years ago

Matt, at one point you claimed that “There are no countries out there with socialized medicine who have a strong economy.” I have not seen you acknowledge that Australia is a country with both a strong economy and a universal health care system.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

L, Touchee. I think Australia’s economy is very strong (just read ConocoPhillips annual report). Maybe Australia can afford healthcare for now. My argument is that the more healthcare you give away, the less incentive there is to produce, and it’s a spiraling effect (Road to Serfdom has a great section on this in terms of entitlements [not specifically healthcare]). But yes, point taken. Maybe Australia will prove me wrong. I’m willing to accept that a basal level of healthcare may be affordable and sustainable. But, to provide healthcare beyond basic needs is too expensive to give away for free without… Read more »

L
L
8 years ago

Matt, I’ve just moved back from Australia, and I think that they do a lot of things right, regarding healthcare. I was not covered under their universal health system (as an American, I paid the full cost, in full, then submitted my claim to my American health insurance for reimbursement). I don’t know how they do it, but they keep costs down. I was given an estimate for the cost of a vaginal birth and the cost of a c-section, before I went to the hospital to have our baby (as a private patient, ie: not covered under their universal… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

L, That’s all so interesting. I need to learn more about Australia, and not just their healthcare. It seems like they know what they’re doing. Peter Schiff, an economist who predicted the recession, likes Australia a lot. Maybe one problem in America is that we don’t know how much healthcare costs. I’ve had a few MRIs. I couldn’t tell you how much they cost ($4-5,000 maybe?) Part of the problem may be tuitions. Doctors, nurses, and everyone else in healthcare are in so much student debt that they have to make a lot just to pay it back. I’ve also… Read more »

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago

This is a great example of why an emergency fund is needed. What’s also important is understanding your insurance. You mentioned your deductible, but how many people actually know what their deductible is? How many people know their employer’s policy on sick leave? Lastly, though some people are going to get sick no matter what, treating your body and mind better when you’re not sick can help you avoid getting sick. Eat well, sleep well, and avoid stress: your immune system will be ready to protect your emergency fund.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago

Im curious. Are you aware that many employers do not even offer medical coverage in this country? even large employers with full time employees? What incentives do you suppose those people have to go to work?

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Hi Barb, Never too late! Welcome to the Let’s Attack Matt and Free Marketers party! I’m glad your husband got the care he needed. The Euro is going bankrupt, so it’s hard to say that anyone’s healthcare there is sustainable. The reason why some of our big corporations don’t offer healthcare is because, with all of our regulations, the cost of doing business is too high for them to offer it. If a corporation could profitably offer healthcare to its employees, it would! That would make it a better place to work, and they’d be able to hire the better… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
8 years ago

Whatever you do, go to the doctor if you need to. My 40-year old cousin died last week of a heart attack. He knew he was very sick but didn’t have health insurance, was deeply in debt and couldn’t bear the thought of adding to it. No one should die for that reason.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Agreed! Cost isn’t a problem here in Canada (availability is another story), but I’ve seen too many people delay seeing a doctor for a serious issue because they don’t want to take the time off work.

Sorry to hear about your cousin 🙁

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

So sorry for your loss Suzanne

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Suzanne, I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family.

Jennifer Gwennifer
Jennifer Gwennifer
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Agreed. My uncle was sick for six months without insurance before his doctor got so concerned that he personally helped my uncle get on state assisted health care so they could do additional tests. It turned out to be stage 3 colon cancer, with a mass about five pounds in size. After surgery and two rounds of chemo he’s doing well, but if that doctor hadn’t pushed him to sign up, it might have ended differently.

Also, many hospitals have good payment plans set up for people without insurance. Always worth checking out.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

My sympathies to you and your family.
The folks on my mom’s side of the family tended not to have insurance (mostly underemployed people). When something hurt, they just ignored it. At the point of agony they’d go in for a checkup and be told “This abscess is so bad we can’t save your tooth” or “You have Stage 493 colon cancer, why did you wait so long to do something about it?”
No insurance, doc.

ali
ali
8 years ago
Reply to  Suzanne

One of my cousin’s died in his early 30s of a heart attack. He didn’t have insurance because, well he wasn’t self employed but he was considered a “contract worker” and the business he worked for didn’t provide insurance (this is standard in the field he worked in). He had pre existing conditions and was either denied insurance or the premiums were too expensive. So he went without and did the best he could. Maybe if he had insurance he still might have died, I don’t know. But I do know he fell through the cracks of the current system… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
8 years ago
Reply to  ali

Thank you all for the kind wishes. It’s still a shock.

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago

I was sick all of last week and my husband is off sick today. blech. Medicine is my favourite thing to use coupons for. It is easy to find coupons for $4 or $5 off Tylenol/ Advil/ Cold medicines etc. so I wait for it to go on sale and then stock up. Thankfully, I stocked up on a whole bunch of Advil cold and sinus that was on sale for $4.99 but with my $4 off coupons I got each box for 99 cents. It is much better to stock up that way than run out to the store… Read more »

Zoinks
Zoinks
8 years ago

What a timely post! My husband (usually a very healthy 30 year-old) has been on sick leave since late October due to some serious intestinal problems (peritonitis, perforated colon, etc.) that required emergency surgery and which will require another follow-up procedure scheduled for the end of the month. Needless to say, this is not what we were expecting! We are very fortunate to live in Europe and EVERYTHING has been covered (much to my American surprise). We’re talking about 30+ days in the hospital, scans, physical therapy sessions, all sorts of medication, nutritional supplements, nurses that come to the house,… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Zoinks

And if that happened here in the U.S., your family would very likely be paying medical bills for the next 20 years or end up bankrupt, having who-knows-what effect on the lives and education of any possible children.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Zoinks

Good grief! So sorry for the pain and fear the two of you have felt. Glad he was able to get decent care.

kriserts
kriserts
8 years ago

People have to prepare to get REALLY sick. I’m a very healthy, vegetarian cyclist who got cancer at 46. Oops! Three words: private disability insurance. Buy it when you’re young, so the premiums are low. That $128 a month I thought I’d been wasting turned into $3500. a month (tax free) when I needed it the most. I bought it because I’m a freelancer, but I’d keep it even it I was employed. I did the math and found out, dollar-wise, what I got out erased what I’d paid in. No one knows when the sh*t will hit the fan,… Read more »

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  kriserts

In an either-or situation, I’d say disability is almost more important than healthcare. You can make payments to a hospital; landlords and grocery stores aren’t so accommodating.

My partner was downtown on 9/11 and did recovery work. A year later he started coming down with debilitating panic attacks, among issues. Our medical insurance only covered 5 weeks of mental health care. Even though our base lifestyle was covered by my salary, a supplemental disability policy he had through work–and had totally forgot about–enabled us to pay out of pocket for the rest of his care.

amber
amber
8 years ago

Sorry, but I really disagree with the advice of buying your helpers little gifts of thanks.
If I am helping you it is because you need it and I want to give it – nothing could be more satisfying. Let’s not materialize love. Sheesh.

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  amber

“i appreciate you doing something nice for me in my time of need; because you and your act meant so much to me, I’d like to do something nice for you in return”

nothing materialistic about that. would you feel the same about about offering a non-monetary token in the form of a homemade card offering a free night babysitting or jar of your special, homemade sugar scrub?

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  amber

Obviously, you’re entitled to your opinion. Do what works for you. My relative got up at 5 a.m. ON HER DAY OFF and drove me to the hospital, then came back and got me at noon, then spent the next five hours in my apartment making sure I was all right. Thus what worked for me was to send her a gift of Cougar Gold cheese from the Washington State University dairy — her favorite, and a treat she usually gets only a couple of times a year. I’d have given her some of my homemade jam but she’s a… Read more »

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I watched a friend’s 4-year old at 4:30 in the morning when her 6-year old had to unexpectedly go into surgery at 6 AM. I was happy to do it and also happy to receive some homemade cookies a few days later. It was a nice gesture, though certainly not expected or necessary.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

Respectfully I disagree. When I first moved out on my own, I followed similar advice to yours on medicine. NyQuil on sale. I should buy one for later! Except that later never came. While I was pregnant we cleaned out the house, everything was expired. Easily $50 in UNOPENED EXPIRED OTC meds. I know in most cases it’s still safe but just loses effectiveness, but the whole point of taking medication is that it be effective. I have found with a child that it is better to have certain things ‘on hand’ like children’s aceteminephin. So in a cost and… Read more »

amy
amy
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

I completely agree. It seems senseless and wasteful to stockpile OTCs for an illness that may never come, and then have to throw them out when they expire. I’d rather go to the drugstore on an as-needed basis when I have a cold or the flu and buy one or two items to help mask their miserable symptoms.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

I’ve had the same problem. When DS was young and catching cold after cold from daycare (and giving his loving parents cold after cold as a thank-you for our tender loving care), I did stock up on OTC remedies and “sick food” with coupons & sales, and it was worth it then. However, DS inherited my hardy immune system and now (knock on wood) it’s very rare for anyone in our family to need OTC remedies. When I realized how much stock I had to toss, I stopped stocking up. I think in this, Mileage Varies; assess how often people… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

As noted, I get this stuff for free or nearly free. Thus far I haven’t had to toss any of it due to expiration dates (which I personally consider a suggestion, not a mandate — “best by August 2012” will probably work in September, too).
Again, do what works for you. This is what works for me.

K.C.
K.C.
8 years ago

The self-employed need to prepare for jury duty, as well. I ran a one man business for 16 years prior to my retirement. During that time I served on 5 juries. Each trial plus deliberations took 4 to 5 days. I did what I could in the evenings, but not being available during the work day cost me business. The last jury I served on was sequestered for two days during deliberations. No phone, no computer (didn’t have smart phones then), no contact with the outside world for two days. The interesting thing is that for the 12 years prior… Read more »

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  K.C.

okay so depends on how you feel ethically about jury duty. having had the opportunity to seeing how the backroom works…well, anyway.

this won’t necessarily get you OUT of jury duty (not advocating anything hedgey about getting out) but if in the questioning period: “are you prepared to follow judges instructions on points of law to the reasonable conclusion of guilty or acquittal?” you mention to both lawyers that you know and understand about Jury Nullification (make sure you do) and will bring it up if and as necessary…

…you’ll get on the short list to be excused.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

You can also, during jury selection, just tell the judge you think the defendant is guilty as hell and he should hang the bastard. Not kosher to do, of course, but very occasionally necessary.

(In Massachusetts, if you showed up for jury duty regardless of whether or not you served on a trial, and they pick you again within 3 years, you can elect to skip it. You do have to tell them, but it’s effectively a get-out-of-jail-free card, so to speak.)

Trina
Trina
8 years ago
Reply to  K.C.

Here (in Pittsburgh) you can tell them that it would be a financial hardship and you can be excused. Even an employer can call and say you’re an essential worker and you will be excused. I would only do this if it’s true.

Megan E.
Megan E.
8 years ago

Goods tips for the most part but stocking too many meds can be dangerous since they do expire. Bring sick sucks but being prepared can really help with healing and having no mental stress about money goes along with that!

Attention admin: Emergency fund link is broken.

sjw
sjw
8 years ago

For those who are working in an office in a ‘knowledge industry job’: If you don’t have it documented, nobody can cover for you. If you don’t save what you and your clients agreed to, it’s tough for someone to cover for you. Please, document. It means that you can say “I’m sick, these things are due in two days, the x is in y folder”. Then you can rest instead of being on the phone for three hours as people struggle to pick up the pieces. When other people know how to do what it is you do, it’s… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  sjw

What a good idea. Thank you for suggesting it.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

I don’t have time to discuss health insurance in America this morning, so I’ll post 2 minor rants I keep in the back of my head at all times. I dish them out to unsuspecting friends at random times, along with beer and peanuts. 1) Cold medicines are bunk. Unless you’re in a mission-critical situation, I don’t see the rationale for them and I think people take them as a matter of habit without thinking of what they do. Let’s look at this habit for a second. Cold medicines make you feel better so you continue to operate sub-optimally instead… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Yes! My daughter had very minor gum surgery done and my husband blindly went and filled the dentist’s prescription for 20 Vicodin. Fortunately I intercepted them and discarded them – she is adopted and the bio daughter of a drug addict and alcoholic. This could easily have been the beginning of a downward slide for her, and taking Tylenol just twice was enough for her to get through recovery 95% pain-free. However, I’d reserve judgment on the effects of, say, intractable back pain until one has suffered through it. The side-effects of the narcotics may be less than the pain… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Two years ago I had an abscess that was incredibly painful, but after it was treated, I was only in pain for a few more days. My doctor wrote a prescription for 50 Vicodin for 3-4 days worth of pain. On the other hand, I’ve known people who were in very physically traumatic situations (hit by a car and broke his back – multiple fractions) and really needed strong opiate for a short period of time. My mother’s two dislocated discs and a pinched nerve in her back from being a nurse would sometimes (once a year) convince her to… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Anne–fair enough, but I failed to mention that my friend is not suffering from a spinal cord injury from a roadside bomb. He’s young and runs marathons! He thinks he got the pain from stress (too much work and parties and running). He probably just needs rest and a little physical therapy, maybe he needs to change the way he runs, maybe he needs a new bed, but all he got from his doctor was dumb pills and zero advice. I call BS on his doctor– my friend needs to find somebody who actually cares and has time to ask… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Opiates in the long run do interfere with your ability to cope with pain, especially people with chronic pain which unfortunately is common with MS. I almost always take the excess back to the pharmacy to disposal. I don’t even have aspirin in my home…

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

There is also research showing – which I can’t find right now of course – that enduring pain can lead to chronic pain and a dysfunctional pain response.
However this actually supports what you said, that it’s important to use opiates and other pain drugs strategically and not willy-nilly. Both my in-laws have had huge increases in their quality of life thanks to opiates. Not just any opiate, but the right drug in the right dose helped them manage their pain AND be functional, happy human beings.

Janette
Janette
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Myhusband had mop locations from his hip replacement. Major infection causing three more replacement surgeries…
He felt the withdrawal from the oxy that he had been prescribed was the worst part of it. He still had over 80 pills left. We buried them in the back yard ( no flushing down the toilet and getting into our precious water supply!)

Jane
Jane
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

You make some valid arguments regarding narcotics, but I still like to have them on hand for certain occasions. #1 childbirth. I was dependent on my oxycodone for a good two weeks after my first child was born. I won’t go into the gory details, but right after birth I decided to skip one dose of the medicine (because I thought – I’m tough!). I was shaking from the pain and had to wait through a painful 30 minutes before it took effect. #2 migraines during pregnancy. You can’t take regular migraine medicine, and for whatever reason they allow you… Read more »

DR
DR
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I am surprised about the prescription for opiates too. I had strep few weeks back and complained of pain and doc at urgent care (could not see my PCP) prescribed 20 Vicodins. I was so fuzzy that day, i did not see what it was till i got home and was completely surprised. I mean really, do the doctors get more money from pharma for these kinds of pills! I just had one to test what it does and took it, and felt more miserable with it than without, discarded the whole package!

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Just a minor correction for you. It’s ok to take ibuprophen with alcohol (I double checked with my doctor before doing it, and was a pharmacy tech for several years), but acetaminophen is a definate no. Acetaminophen is associated with causing liver problems, and ibuprophen and naproxen sodium are associated with causing stomach ulcers.

You also should avoid taking antibotics with alcohol (serious no, no).

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

thanks!

Steph
Steph
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Agree 100%. I do not use any OTC meds at all and rarely do I take prescription meds. I see little or no use for them. And they are expensive. Too many side effects. Unnecessary in many cases. How on earth did the human race make it this far without these things? I prefer natural remedies and also staying as healthy as possible. It isn’t 100% foolproof; I’m coming down with a bit of a cold right now, which I hope will be mild. I know I’m lucky to be this healthy, but I wasn’t always. You have to work… Read more »

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Steph

Yes, this ^^. FWIW, I did a gallstone flush after my youngest kid was born after suffering nightly gallstone attacks for a couple of weeks. No surgery, no doctor visit – gone the next day. Thank god for the interwebs and alternative medicine (even if some of it is wacko) sometimes.

Also FWIW, in working in both Canada and the US, IME Americans go to the doctor more quickly than Canadians do. That couple of days that you have to wait to get in is sometimes enough to stop people from running in with every little cough or runny nose.

gpjones
gpjones
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I’m with you, El Nerdo. Extreme circumstances such as a couple of commenters mentioned make sense to me, but the regular handing out of narcotics prescriptions does not.

My son was born via c-section 7 years ago. The hospital was giving me Oxycodone and double doses of Advil. The Oxycodone was making me hallucinate at night. When we got home, my husband was going to pick up my prescription for Oxycodone and I told him to forget it. Just get the Advil and that worked perfectly well.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I wound up taking two Oxycodone/Tylenol the first day, two the next day and one on the third day. After that, plain old Advil did it for me. Since I had never had surgery before, I had no idea what to expect pain-wise. If I ever need surgery again I will ask for half a dozen tablets, with an option to get the rest of the meds later. I’m with you on the ease with which these things are obtained, though. When I fell down the stairs last year and bunged up my ankle, the doc prescribed hydrocodone. Doesn’t anybody… Read more »

Jane
Jane
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Tylenol 3 is considered child’s play these days, i.e. almost akin to normal analgesics. But I don’t get why doctors wouldn’t first prescribe that and see if it works. If a patient complains that it doesn’t work, THEN they should prescribe something stronger. My sister (who used to be addicted to Oxycontin) laughed when I described Codeine as strong. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder. It’s always worked for me. Personally the stronger narcotics often make me sick to my stomach – and one morning I woke up with a migraine and unthinkingly took a vicodin… Read more »

Diane
Diane
8 years ago

Bella, I see Donna’s point completely. If you go out and buy “fresh” OTC meds, when you’re sick, you are also likely not to need all of it and it ends expiring too. Your total OOP is probably going to be less if you keep reasonable quantities of the basics on hand. If stored properly, most things will still be effective long past the expiration date. The example of NyQuil from the convenience store really hits home. When you’re sick, you just don’t care about the cost and can end up spending way more than necessary. In a similar vein,… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

I agree with the comments that stress preparing for the worst. When I got my MS diagnoses three years ago at age 30 (general age of onset is 20-40), I’m glad/thankful I was as prepared as I was, including my life/accident/disability insurance from my former employer. Could I have had a more hefty emergency savings account? Sure, but circumstances in my life during the years during the years prior to that didn’t allow me enough time to rebuild after being out of work. The reality is many people in their 20s rarely financially prepare for a lifelong chronic illness that… Read more »

Tina
Tina
8 years ago

Another thing to consider is putting money away in your employer’s flex plan. The money is deducted from your paycheck pre taxed so you save on income taxes at the end of the year in addition to having the funds available on day one of the plan regardless of how many contributions you have had. At least putting in your deductible costs for a year is smart but if you don’t reach it, keep in mind that you can also flex glasses, lasik, contacts and lense solutions, dental proceedures(not including teeth whittening), orthodontia and medical equipment and some medical supplies… Read more »

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  Tina

Just be sure that you will spend all that you put away. If you end up not spending it, it goes to waste. At the end of the year, my friend had about $50 left over, so he wanted to stock up on over the counter meds. But (at least at his company) they require all meds to have a prescription. He went to his doctor, but his doctor refused to write the scripts without him coming in for an appointment. And having worked in a pharmacy, most pharmacies find it rather problematic dealing with scripts for over the counter… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

Yes! I decided to up the amount I put in a FSA from 700 to 2K (which expires every year). After I signed up they then released what was covered. Any otc med that previously was covered would need a prescription, other meds, items or procedures no longer covered. I will probably have 100’s of dollars in non-used funds (unless I can think of something in next 2 days) which wipes out any tax savings.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Audrey

+1. We have a health care flexible spending account (from my employer), and I hate it. Not a year goes by without Crosby challenging even routine expenses like doctors’ visits, in hopes of being able to keep my money. Trying to use up any leftover funds is an exercise in misery. There is no way I would continue to keep it except that DH needs diabetes and blood pressure medications but won’t buy them without the convenience of the flex account. I would rather pay tax on the extra income than continue adding Crosby’s constant requests for justification onto my… Read more »

ImJuniperNow
ImJuniperNow
8 years ago

I’ve said it before, stock up on pet food. You don’t want the little buggers gnawing on your leg while you’re unconscious.

And if you’re single (and maybe even if you’re not) tell someone you’re sick. That way, if the newspapers and mail continue to pile up outside your door maybe someone’ll break in to see what that terrible smell is….

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  ImJuniperNow

“They got hungry and forgot their manners.”

spiralingsnails
spiralingsnails
8 years ago

When I was in college, one (& only one) of my dorm friends had a bottle of cough syrup – and boy was she popular during cold/flu season! Especially when your transportation options are limited, having cough syrup on hand can make the difference between sleep or no sleep.

average guy
average guy
8 years ago

Hey Donna, All good ideas. Thanks for the reminders. Now I can tell you all what I did many years ago. When I was in my twenties, I went to a dental school for dental work (the cheaper option). One time I needed some wisdom tooth/teeth removed, an ordeal of course. They gave medication, but I knew that later it would hurt like hell anyway. So on the way home, I stopped by a record store. I bought a record of wolves howling. I went home, (this was in the days before cassettes) put the record on the record player,… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

A few notes from a primary care MD 🙂 – buy generic! Tylenol = acetaminophen, Advil = ibuprofen, Benadryl = diphenhydramine, etc. Read the labels and you can save a lit of money! Also – watch out for combo pills, don’t take too much Tylenol, or don’t take an Advil PM when all you want is a little Benadryl to make you sleepy. All these drugs have side effects! – taking cold medicine does not make your cold last longer. Some people (such as medical residents like myself…) can’t take time off work for a cold. If I can prevent… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

so was this study ever refuted? Maryland Researchers Find Anti-Fever Drugs May Prolong Flu i know it’s a 12-year-old paper but I can’t find a more recent followup ps- here i think is the long version: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/409651_4 acetaminophen and ibuprofen are antipiretics. reduced fever = reduced immune response. here a medical practice that says The Doctors at Miami Urgent Care Center believe that fever is not necessarily a bad thing and that it is not always appropriate to treat a fever. Read below to learn more about fever. Fever is an important part of the body’s defense against infection. Most… Read more »

gpjones
gpjones
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I don’t take anything for fever as long as it stays within the “safe” range. I like to know how the illness is “progressing”. I don’t give my son anything either, for the same reason, which works out well as he cannot stand to take medicine.

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

perhaps if hospitals treated their doctors less like barefooted cobblers’ children, secondary hospital infections wouldn’t be the fourth largest killer in the U.S.

GayleRN
GayleRN
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I would add something for diarrhea such as imodium or kaopectate as nobody wants to be wandering around the store with that problem. Also add one box of nice soft tissue which is kept hidden away until needed. Make friends with your pharmacist they can be very helpful.

j
j
8 years ago

Hi, Donna. I hope you are feeling much better now. I can testify that you need to be prepared for the unexpected. I was laid low twice by accidents that could not have been foreseen. In one case, a driver approaching from the opposite direction applied his brakes just before getting to me. His brakes grabbed and he spun into my lane at the last instant–the cop who saw the accident said I never had a chance. That one cost me over $4,000 out of pocket before it was reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance. If I had not had… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago

I had my four impacted wisdom teeth out on one day in my late teens. 36 hours on Percodan and I was fine. Of course, I was consequently stoned out of my mind and happy to be living at home with Mom & Dad because I was not functional by any measure. My policy is to replace “predictable needs” items as soon as they’re used up, or nearly so. Including cold medicines. I don’t need them often, but working in a high-rise with a closed ventilation system … yeah, I catch a cold a couple of times a year. I’m… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

sorry about my obsessiveness with the subject (lol, i’m waiting for the computer to finish something while i type this) but i did reply to #45 about cold medicine and prolonging infections. please check links there (i don’t wanna look like a spammer). “do what works for you” is exactly right, but at a deeper level than the obvious one– if your body uses fever to fight infection, and this has worked for human bodies for a bazillion years, then why interfere with what works unless the fever is life-threatening? that’s the issue i’m trying to raise. and you’re right… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

All great tips! Glad to hear you’re feeling better, Donna.

One thing I would add is to keep a small stash of cash on hand. The one time I was too sick to get my medication from the pharmacy, I found out they had free delivery — but only accepted cash! (Good thing I had lots of laundry money.) I’ve been glad to have some money on hand on the rare occasion a friend or family member has had to pick something up for me.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Good point.

Jess
Jess
8 years ago

This is great timing (almost, I guess)! Just last week I developed a pinched nerve in my neck that resulted in a total of almost 2 full days out of the office along with a visit to the doctor ($15 copay), pharmacy ($20 in the good stuff), AND chiropractor ($135) – oh, and screaming pain if I moved the wrong way. I couldn’t drive, so I relied on my wonderful fiance and mom to get me to and from work and to various appointments. Luckily, I received a bonus last week that covered all of those expenses (and way more),… Read more »

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago

I’m not a fan of orange juice, but my go to for when I’m sick is apple cider. Probably won’t go over well with the all natrual folks, but I always keep a stock of a store brand that has powder in packets that I can throw in some hot water. Each cup has 100% of you daily vitamin C, and honestly after doing it so long, it just seems to make me feel home-y at a time when you hate everything. Also, the steam can help with some sinus issues. This last time I was sick I didn’t want… Read more »

Rebbecca
Rebbecca
8 years ago

Long time reader, but felt compelled to post now. I used to get sick every four months with a bad cold, and would have bronchitis that came back every six months. I had insurance, had the medicines/anitbiotics, did everything I was supposed to do, but I was still getting sick all the time. I was told by everyone it’s normal to catch the bugs going around. For someone who has no other alternatives, the tips above are the best you can do, really. However, my get rich slowly success has come from one change, and that is my food. I… Read more »

Money Sparrow
Money Sparrow
8 years ago

Sorry to hear that you are sick Donna, and I hope you feel better soon. This is all such great advice, and the comment about accepting help from friends is something that some people who fight against perfectionism (like me) really need to hear. It something JD talks about a lot, but when you’re ill it is really not the time to try and do everything alone! I am off work following my second knee surgery (same op, other leg), and the first time around I was terrible at accepting offers of help. I thought I was being capable and… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Money Sparrow

I hear you. In fact, after a few days I assumed I was all better and pushed it too hard. A few days after that I felt just awful: exhausted, sore, emotionally and mentally drained. After going through the usual questions (fever? redness around the wounds? swelling?), the consulting nurse gently reminded me that I had just had SURGERY. Laparascopic surgery is still SURGERY. The thing to do was give my body a chance to heal, not try to convince myself how capable and strong I am. So I’m back to short walks (not one and a half miles), a… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

My mother once pointed out to me that surgery is cutting into the body, which creates trauma to it. Even if you don’t “feel” that it was traumatic, your body registers it as such. I’ve been fortunate to only need minor surgery (removing moles, meaning through all layers of skin, with stitches to hold the resulting holes shut). My modus operandi has been to schedule the surgery for a Friday and take the day off from work. I’d get the mole(s) removed, then, while still under the influence of a local anesthetic, get breakfast at a local cafe (since I… Read more »

Jamie in CA
Jamie in CA
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Thanks for this, Donna. I’m having a lymph node taken out in ~12 hours and your post was a reminder to take the weekend to chill. The actual incision shouldn’t be a big deal, but the associated physiological response might be more than I was figuring before. My husband can feed the horse – I don’t need to be hauling hay!

Ace
Ace
8 years ago

A quick word on expiring meds: Studies commissioned by the U.S. military have confirmed that nearly all medications (with exceptions being certain live-culture biologic meds) remain safe and effective long after their expiration date, provided they are properly stored. For common OTC medications like Tylenol, NyQuil, etc., proper storage is room temperature–avoid extremes in temperature, especially heat. With liquid suspensions (i.e. NyQuil, childrens’ syrups), you may need to shake well to remix an older medication, but the potency and safety is still there. See: http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update1103a.shtml In other words, buy in bulk at Costco and don’t worry about throwing out expired… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Ace

Yes, that.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Ace

Yea, but just like anything else – if you find you don’t use something for 10 YEARS! It probably doesn’t deserve the rent you’re paying to keep it in the house. I’m not saying people who get sick regularly shouldn’t follow Donna’s advice – just figure out which camp you’re in before you go run out and spend a bunch of money will-nilly.
I guess I also subscribe to ElNerdo’s way of thinking – medicine is for life threatening oaccasions.

Ofelia Ontiveros
Ofelia Ontiveros
8 years ago

Excellent advice, I too have had that surgery, good recovery but still need to plan ahead if you have the opportunity.

Enjoyed ready your article.

Kirk
Kirk
8 years ago

Is it really necessary to mention swapping body fluids in the first sentence? That instantly made me not read the rest of the article.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Kirk

Yes.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

lol, <3 that answer

KM
KM
8 years ago

Rather than stockpiling medicines, food, cash at home in case I unexpectedly become sick/incapacitated, I just have a couple really good friends on speed dial who are willing to make a grocery/drugstore run if I’m in dire need. Single people can actually stick together and help each other, you know.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  KM

“Single people can actually stick together and help each other, you know.” Really? That never occurred to me. [[switches off sarcasm tool]] As I mentioned in the piece, you’ve gotta have friends. But I would feel a little bit silly asking my friend to run to the store to buy me some Advil. That’s something I could buy in advance. “Dire” need, sure: pick up a prescription, drive me to the ER, etc. A woman I know in Anchorage had major surgery and her friends dropped by in relays to bring food, collect her mail, tidy up, etc. Minor needs?… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  KM

Actually I thing everybody needs to have some sort of emergency stash of money, food and meds. In a sudden emergency like earthquake, big power outage etc. you are going to be pleased to have them. Add a flash light and radio to the list and you are a mini prepper.

Teinegurl
Teinegurl
8 years ago

I could not NOT heed your advice any more in this article. This past weekend i woke up and was not feeling well. It wasn’t anything serious but i DID not want to do anything or go anywhere at all. Luckily i had my mom go get me medicine, soup and OJ but i realized the need to stock up on medicine BEFORE it happens especially with having two young kids. I don’t want to do a 2am run to the store for overpriced meds when one is running a high fever. Love your articles donna!

Lea
Lea
8 years ago

How timely! I just had an emergency appendectomy this weekend and am currently sitting at home itching to get back to work because I have so many deadlines to meet! I was very much hoping to have no medical issues at all this year so I could build up my HSA to the point where it would have more than my yearly maximum in there. Alas, I will likely have to completely drain the HSA when the hospital bill comes my way (and probably have to shell out a bit more from my savings account). I must admit though that… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Lea

Ouch. I hope you feel better soon. But my advice is not to push yourself too hard. I did, and I’m regretting it.

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago

Actually I would like to add on that when traveling you need to have a little mini kit with you too. I work one day a week at a tourist attraction and there are many people that end up buying a whole packet of expensive band-aids at the gift shop because they do not have a few band aids in their handbag.

When I travel I always have a few bandaids,a small tube of anibiotic ointment, a small bottle of ibuprofen and a packet of pepto bismol tabs (tested best for travelers diarrhea.

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

It’s posts like these that make me realize how much more efficient it is to have public insurance. Not socialized medicine; socialized insurance. Lower risk and lower cost.

Financial Advice for Young Professionals
Financial Advice for Young Professionals
8 years ago

As an independent contractor, it is a no brainer for you to get an HSA! I have $8,000 quietly tucked away invested in some TIPS right now! It is the only investment you can put money in tax free, take money out tax free, and all earnings can be tax free!

imelda
imelda
8 years ago

Great article. But I have a comment about high-deductibles and making up the difference with your “emergency fund.” If you have a high-deductible plan, your initial medical expenses should not be coming from your emergency fund. You WILL have to spend money on your health. It’s better to have a separate account for medical costs that you will apply to that deductible. I didn’t think to account for this when I lost my job a few years ago. I got a high-deductible plan, and when I got sick and went to the clinic, I was unpleasantly surprised by the $300… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  imelda

For me, it’s all of a piece — any unexpected major expense is an emergency. My EF is just one big pool of cash. Others like to have sub-accounts, as noted previously, but this works for me.
Before this year, the only money I spent on my health was the monthly insurance premium and the $30 co-pay to see the doctor for an occasional minor illness. (My annual exam is covered.)

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I guess my point is (as you said in this article) that health expenses shouldn’t be unexpected. You WILL get sick or hurt, and if you have a high-deductible plan, then you WILL have to pay for services yourself. I didn’t account for the deductible in my emergency fund, and that was my mistake. I made sure I had enough for monthly living expenses, including the fee for the insurance plan. I didn’t include the money I would have to spend to reach that deductible! In an ideal world, we would save up at least 6 months’ worth of living… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  imelda

True enough, that people should include OOP expenses in their budgets. But again, for me the “emergency fund” is just “that savings account into which I put money and avoid tapping.”
YDMV (your definition may vary).
In fact, I may be able to pay the medical bills out of checking as they come in because I’ve gotten some additional freelance monies heading my way. It depends on how fast they arrive.
If not, then I’ll extract some savings, pay the bills and replace the money as quickly as possible. Taking money out of savings makes me itch.

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

@Joe20 – socialized insurance, a really great point! I’ve been in healthcare for 32 years. I spent 5 years inside the preauthorization dept. of a health insurance company. I spent 3 years in an Emergency Room. I now work in a Level 1 Trauma Center. I can tell you certifiably that our current health care system is BROKEN. And a report just came out that estimates annual health insurance will cost more than the annual earnings of the typical American family by the year 2033. @[email protected]yNwealthy, your argument against socialized medicine doesn’t wash with me either. We ARE paying for… Read more »

Pattie, RN
Pattie, RN
8 years ago
Reply to  Deb

The Swiss also live in a tiny country with a homogenous population and shared values.

The Swiss do NOT have a huge population of unskilled immigrants; generation upon fatherless generation living on the public dole in the inner cities; or large groups of people making and selling (and using) illegal drugs for a “living” due to their seventh grade education.

If America looked like Switzerland, I’d be HAPPY to give up more in taxes!

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Pattie, RN

Maybe if you gave up more in taxes, we would look more like Switzerland.

Or maybe when you say “looked like”, you meant all white – you seem to love the idea of a homogenous population with no unwanted “problem” immigrants.

Actually, I don’t even know why I’m replying to such a foolish comment…. Except that I’m learning from “yoisthisracist.com” to speak up more when I see something offensive.

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  imelda

Imelda: You’ve got to be left-leaning, to try to turn something that’s dealing with comparing the entire make-up of two countries (economy, demographics, size, etc..) and boil it down to JUST race. Because yes, everything’s about JUST race to you people. Someone could say “I don’t like the policies of the current President” and you hear it as “Black people –insert whatever comment here–“. How can you even say that what Pattie said was “racist” (unless YOU are racist yourself) when her comparison was between the tiny country of Switzerland vs. a huge country like the US that has many… Read more »

Kathy
Kathy
8 years ago

Great article. I had to have my gallbladder removed right after coming back from maternity leave. I was grateful to have a back up to the maternity leave plan. I went to work two days later so I wouldn’t miss more work. I lot of your tips I follow as well but it is a great check off list for future reference for all of us. Get better soon and no heavy lifting for a while. Plus stay away from ice cream and heavy vegetables for the next couple of months. Eat sparingly because your plumbing has been messed with.… Read more »

Ross McCabe
Ross McCabe
8 years ago

Donna makes a good point about preparing to be sick. I’d also add that you should ask your doctor detailed questions in advance of the procedure. You’ll want to learn exactly what is involved during the medical procedure and the follow-up care. Not only can the financial cost be a surprise, you may also be shocked by the time and discomfort of recovery. Personally, I learned this lesson the hard way. I had a 1 hour outpatient appointment with a surgeon to remove an infection in my back. After the procedure, I realized there were 5 companies who were legitimately… Read more »

RubySongbird
RubySongbird
8 years ago

This is such great advice! No one ever plans to be sick, and this is the first I’ve heard anyone saving specifically for being sick. Last week I came down with a cold, and because I try to throw out meds that are expired, I had to buy all new ones at the store. Could have followed your ideas and saved some cash instead!

Practical+Parsimony
Practical+Parsimony
8 years ago

Donna, I keep all the things you mentioned. But, when I was vomitting and having diarrhea for 50 hours straight, uncontrollably, nothing stayed down. I drank because I knew I would get dehydrated. I drove 50 miles one way to get to an ER besides the one in this small town. The one friend I did have help me swore she was ill 6 hours later. Ummm, had infected lymph gland near intestines, causing all the misery. She said the doctor said she had a virus. I needed an antibiotic. She said she almost threw up. Boy, I threw up… Read more »

Insurancegal
Insurancegal
8 years ago

Utilizing coupons, I stocked up on Musinex, Robitussin and soup in January. So, when I got the crud a few weeks ago, I was relieved I didn’t have to do the miserable “walk of ick” through the parking lot to the grocery store HBA section. As a life long asthmatic, the walk can seem miles long.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Insurancegal

As a fellow asthmatic, I feel your wheezy pain. And as someone who doesn’t own a car, I dread those bus rides/walks when I’m sick.

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