Thank you Canada for free health care! On top of that, thank you to all the employers who provide benefits as part of the employment package. Growing up I always took having a solid benefit plan for granted but I recently just learned how awesome benefits are.
When I decided to take a leave from my job I was given the option of keeping my benefits ($48/month), benefits & dental ($110/month), family benefits (about $100/month), family benefits & dental ( over $200/month); Or I could forgo my benefits altogether. My hobo instinct immediately wanted to cancel everything and save as much money as I could. But upon further research it became apparent that these benefits might save me some costs later on. For instance, I always buy travel insurance. I get travel insurance for free for 90 days as a part of my benefits.
After seeing the travel doctor I became really thankful for my decision. I had to get a meningitis booster shot ($145), and a set of 3 rabies shots (3x$210=$630). I already had my twinrix (3x$70=$210) and my yellow fever ($155). On top of all the vaccinations I was prescribed the following pills.
91 Malarone Pills ($421.72) – I’d like to bring home some souvenirs but Malaria is not one of them. If you are covered, get malarone; it’s more expensive but you don’t get crazy night terrors or yeast infections. Visit the map on the following website to see the malaria areas of the world. http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk Type in the country you are visiting. If the maps shows red you miiiiggghhhhttt want some malaria meds …. or a suit made out of mosquito netting.
Altitude sickness pills ($13.40) – My Doctor told me that altitude sickness felt like a really bad hangover. I’m pretty sure they don’t sell Gatorade on Everest so getting these pills was a no brainer.
General Antibiotic ($20.54) – These puppies saved HubbyHobo in Thailand. He basically got so sick he couldn’t eat or drink for 36 hours and had a delirious fight with a giant millepede in our bathroom.
Dukoral ($75) – We’ve all seen the commercial and most of us have felt that ominous gurgle that makes us question if we’re going to find our porcelain throne in time, or even just a relatively private bush. Dukoral doesn’t give you a free pass to eat all the semi-raw street chicken and unpeeled market fruit that you want, but it will help.
Ativan ($13.95) – Thank you Air Malaysia for making, what used to be a solid nap and a few good movies, an experience I am now nervous for. I’ll be placing one of these anti-anxiety pills under my tongue and for once be paying attention to the emergency procedures.
Altogether the medication and immunization would have cost $1,684.61! That would cover the price of a return plane ticket! So for $48 x 5 months = $240 I ended up saving $1,444.61.
Now I’m not going to lie, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. 5 years ago when I was attending University for Teacher’s college I decided to save $50 and opt out of the student benefit program because I could go on my Dad’s benefits for free if I was going to school. $50 was a lot of Kraft dinner back then so I gleefully filled out the paperwork and collected my gainings. I chose to do my teaching placement in Cameroon, Africa which required that I have the previously mentioned Yellow fever vaccination as well as Malarone pills. $650 later I was really regretting my decision to opt out of the student benefit plan which would have covered those expenses. My inner hobo soul died a little bit that day.
Aside from all of these vaccinations and medications I will be bringing the following pills:
- Ex lax (for when you can’t poop)
- Imodium (for when you can’t stop pooping)
- Gravol (not the rocks on your driveway… pills for those bumpy bus rides)
- Day and Night time cold pills
- Allergy pills
- My crazy blue period pills (tiny miracles in pill form)
- Canesten (gross I know, but it would be even grosser to get an infection and not be able to do anything about it)
- Robaxacet (for the back pains that develop after sitting on dilapidated chicken-bus seats)
I suggest taking all the pills out of the box to save room in your backpack. I would also highly suggest labeling everything if you don’t buy name brand or if you can’t remember what the pills do.
Storytime: In Honduras, Hubby Hobo and I were feeling a little gurgly in the gut factory. We took what we thought was our house brand Imodium pill. Our toilet trips got more and more frequent instead of easing up. A few days later I realized I had been feeding us the house brand laxative pills the whole time. Hubby Hobo was not impressed. Oops! Moral of the story = label your meds!
So the take away message for this blog? Always do your research on immunizations and coverage, always label your pills, and Go Canada Go for having free health care!