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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trip Learning 8 - Medical Needs When Traveling



I once flew 75,000 miles a year when working for Digital Equipment Corporation.  

Travel, especially overseas, can be a cause for consern for travelers, but with medical benefits being cut over the years by employers and employees who have had to choose medical plans with limited benefits seeking medical help while traveling in the U.S. Can be troubling.

I am lucky to have good medical coverage but I choose to use caution when accessing the medical system as this drives costs for everyone.

Just a few years ago while visiting the in-laws in Mesa, AZ, I was injured while hiking with Denise on a backcountry hike.

We were climbing a mountain and we let a woman and a man pass us as we approached the peak. With them out of sight I was leading and I was faced be a rock about a foot in diameter bouncing down the V shaped trail at me.

Since it was going back and forth I didn't know what way it would go and I jumped to the right as it passed to the left.  It hit a rock next to me and shatters a pice of rock off and as my leg was in the air the large shad hit my right leg calf taking a hunk of meat off my leg.  

We were two hours out on this hike and I examed my wound and tied it up with my handkerchief and turned to Denise and said we have to go now.

We hiked out of the mountain as I blead through my temporary bandage, down my leg with my sock absorbing the blood.

I knew I needed stitches so I looked up a local urgent care and had Denise drive me there.

A doctor sewed me up and in the end it cost $800.00.

My insurance didn't want to pay as I didn't go to an emergency room.  I appealed their decision with the logic that they waned me to take an ambulance at $1K, ER with X-ray $3K, and Dr fee of $1.5K and they would have paid when my cost to them was $800.  I told them that they were driving up the cost of insurance and I should be the example on how to control health costs.

They paid!

So, I have this and more experiences on the road that I have needed medical attention.  My 3.5 month travels was not that bad but I did need medical support.

It was early on my trip while in FL that I had a sore throat that didn't go away after 5 days and I feared that I had strep throat soi called my Dr. and he sent a prescription to a local CVS and I took the meds and cleared up the problem,  

I don't take medicines and avoid the Dr. but I needed to understand that I need a medical support system.  Later on the trip I had a common cold and related problems and I picked up over the counter medicine.  I had minor cuts and blisters from hiking and again I picked up what I needed.

I use the logic that if I can get buy without a Dr I will, but if I need one I will call mine or go to urgent care places like I had an ear infection on another trip.  I will use an emergency room when this is the appropriate level of care.

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