Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sick and sooo far from home

…It happened to HA. Deathly ill with some unaesthetic crap in a hotel room in Madrid and no one on the desk spoke English apparently. “Doc-TOR, no, no.” Click.

…Finally the housekeeper decided HA was sick and summoned help in the form of a nice-looking, English-speaking physician, who gave her an injection and graciously accepted an American C-note. The prescription, delivered by the bellman, cost $2.50 American.

…Now HA carries travel health insurance from American Express. Ten bucks a month. Some regular policies will cover you abroad (Medicare, forget it, except maybe for some of the HMO plans). Check first.

…Some tips for preventing this problem? First, see what shots you need before you go.

….Check the state department website ( for lists of insurance providers and services that can fly you out if you have a problem. A U.S. consular officer can also help, according to State.

…If you have a pre-existing problem or take medications, try to locate a doctor in the area you will be staying before you leave..

…You can even store your medical records online.

…Keep your drugs in their prescription bottles. You don’t want to invite the sort of confusion that could land you in a Thai jail for 15 years.

…If you take over-the-counter meds, don’t count on their looking like the boxes you see at home. Mystifying! Perfume, headache remedy, laxative? Roll the dice.

…Of course, don’t drink tap water in places where this might confer a few more antibodies than a body could stand.

…Eat smart. This doesn’t mean whole grains. It means don’t grab dinner off an outdoor booth overhung with dead protein sources. Leave that stuff to hotdogs like Anthony Bourdain.

…Bring snacks. Those little peanut-butter crackers are lifesavers sometimes.

...Any other tips, readers?


Star said...

Carol from NY didn't feel like registering with Blogger and asked me to post this:

We bought Travel Ins. for our trip to Holland this summer. Mainly for protection because my ailing parents are in their late 80s. But it includes all kinds of helpful-sounding medical services in foreign countries. Not sure if this is worth $120 for this particular policy but the peace of mind is a help

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