Why do you need spare cash to cover emergencies? Won’t the government take care of you? Aren’t there others watching out for you?
Well, not always. Today, just like at every point in history, the person most motivated to care about you is yourself, and sometimes, a bit of spare cash can make a world of difference!
SOMETIMES, THINGS HAPPEN
A few days ago (weeks ago as you read this), my girlfriend was going through an unpleasant illness. She felt very dizzy, with extreme vertigo at times, and sometimes felt nauseous, too. She didn’t have her normal appetite and she had lost a few pounds. This had been going on for a few days, so I was starting to get really worried. When you come home day after day and see your girlfriend in bed, feeling listless, or losing her balance, it is very scary!
We had already been to our family doctor and we had done a MRI, waiting for the results, but her symptoms were getting worse. We then called the nurse hotline and after some questions, she mentioned that it sounded like it was a sugar problem, and if it got worse, to visit the emergency. We ended up visiting the emergency that night, but after the initial checkup the nurse there said that her vitals were OK, so we decided to go home instead of staying at the emergency overnight. We had a blood test appointment scheduled for the next morning, so we did that and then we were waiting for those results as well.
Unfortunately, the symptoms started to get worse, and just a few days later my girlfriend was pale as a ghost, listless, with no appetite at all and stuck in bed. We were still waiting for the MRI and blood test results, but I was scared and there was no way that I could wait any longer.
We ended up going back to the emergency, and this time, we stayed there the entire night, until 6:30 in the morning. The Canadian medical system is notorious for extremely long waiting times, unless you’re bleeding to death, so after nearly 12 hours in the emergency room, we were still waiting. By this point, she had decided for herself that enough was enough. According to her vitals, my girlfriend was not dying, but all that waiting was making her worse instead of improving her condition.
We ended up going to a private clinic, where we were able to see a private doctor after a very short wait. The doctor took good care of my girlfriend, giving her a full checkup, asking her many different questions, and doing different diagnostics. After a couple of hours and a few hundred bucks later, the diagnosis was that she had labyrinthitis.
We then visited our family doctor for the MRI and blood test results, and I was amazed that there was nobody else in the office! We are lucky to even have a family doctor, because for many people in Canada, the emergency room and overstuffed clinics are all you get, but usually even with our family doctor there is a long wait, and he is pushy since he wants to see as many patients as possible. This time, we were lucky to be the only ones there, so he could give us his full attention. His response the last time was “Girl, I just don’t know what you have!”, but as the blood test and MRI came out clean, he agreed that it was probably labyrinthitis.
What is labyrinthitis? It is an inflammation of the inner ears that can be caused by a virus, or even by stress, and one of the main side effects is extreme vertigo, and in the more severe cases it can cause permanent damage. Usually, however, it goes away in two weeks, and the symptoms disappear after that time.
He recommended that she take the rest of the week off to rest from work, and her health started to improve since then. I think a big part of the improvement was simply ruling out the worst scenarios and knowing with a reasonable guess just what was causing the symptoms, so that we could both relax a bit instead of stressing out over the worst.
MONEY IS FREEDOM
I don’t want to open a debate between public and private healthcare in this post, but we are very fortunate that we even have the option to choose. It wasn’t so long ago in the past that private care was considered to be illegal here. What if the emergency room was our only alternative? Our family doctor didn’t have the motivation or time to really look into my girlfriend’s illness, so he just told us “girl, I don’t know what you have!” and from our previous experiences with emergency doctors, we would not have fared any better there. When the emergency room is overstuffed with people, and some of them are actually dying, the emergency doctors look down on you and resent you for having “wasted their time”.
Thankfully, we have money set aside in the bank for circumstances like this, and we were lucky enough that we could afford spending the few hundred dollars to get care at the private clinic. We already spend thousands of dollars a year on public health care, but when it comes to taking care of yourself, you cannot depend on a monopoly to do it for you, whether public or private. Had we not saved up money in the past, we would have been at the mercy of the public system, with no alternatives.
I can’t think of a better reason for having spare cash for emergencies than this: Taking care of your loved ones, and keeping them healthy and safe.
Dear reader, when did having some spare cash on the side make a big difference in your life? I would love to hear your stories.