Vacation Recap...or why you need to buy travel health insurance

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hubby and I spent the past week in Punta Cana, and this could be the theme song for our week:

Except by "shots" I mean, "injections". Like the kind that are administered by a nurse practitioner into a quivering bumcheek.

Allow me to summarize my week in point form...

Friday: Land in Punta Cana. It's hot, low-mid 30's, sunny and not a cloud to be seen. We start swilling Presidente like it's our job and begin working on our tans (i.e. melanoma and lobster impersenation)

Saturday: Drinking, swimming, laying out, rinse, repeat.

Sunday: Ditto, but with the added excitement of cigars and fist-pumping with Jersey Shore look-alikes FROM NEW JERSEY at the disco.

Monday: I start to feel like there's water in my ear and I can't shake it out--a weird sensation of being underwater all day. Ignore it and drink some more Presidente. Take a Jacuzzi bath with the towel swans. Overnight, crap drips out of my ear. "Yay!" I think. "The water is leaking out!" Drink more Presidente.

Tuesday: Still feel like I'm underwater and my ear is constantly plugged. It starts hurting. Tuesday night I can't sleep--the side of my face is throbbing more and more as I sober up.

Wednesday: I finally suck up the nerve to go to the clinic on the resort to "get water flushed out of my ear". Find out it's infected. I pretty much pass out on the clinic examination table upon hearing I have to get a needle in my backside. I also leave the clinic with three types of medication, directions for taking these medications IN SPANISH--WHICH I DON'T SPEAK OR UNDERSTAND, orders to avoid swimming and drinking (!!!!) and a little round band-aid on my bum. Wednesday is spent scheduling my druggings and hating every single person splashing in the pool and the ocean. I want to take every Presidente and Coco Loco I see and throw them in the face of the people drinking them. Peter says I'm being "owly".

Thursday: Back to the clinic for a check-in. My ear is still looking pretty gnarly, despite my best attempts to convince the nurse I'm feeling perky and great. I get another shot in the butt--the nurse kindly goes for the other cheek this time. She calls in another doctor for a second opinion. They look in my ears and talk to each other in freaking Spanish which I still don't understand. What are they saying?? Am I going to die? They decide I need to go to the hospital off the resort (in the jungle? surrounded by cannibals? WHAT DOES OFF THE RESORT MEAN?) to see an ear specialist who will determine whether I can fly home on Friday without my ear exploding on the plane.

Upon learning that there is a possibility I'll be stuck in the Dominican indefinitely, I experience the weirdest simultaneous mix of good and bad emotions ever. Good: Getting stuck on a 5* resort in a tropical locale. Bad: Could be stuck in the hospital. Good: Don't need to work. Bad: Will lose job if I don't return to work.

I took a local ambulance to the hospital--first time in an ambulance! *fist pump* The hospital was impressively clean and sterile and looked just like our hospitals in Canada. I had been unfairly expecting a mud hut with smoke everywhere and a Pygmy doctor mixing up a poultice of goat testicles and pelican spit. The specialist looked at my ear and told me I was cleared to fly out the next day. She also gave me a brand-new set of medications, bringing my med count up to five, and gave strict orders not to swim or drink.

Friday: Laid out on the beach all day to soak up as much carcinogenic sunlight as possible. Popped pills like my grandmother. Flew home with both ears intact.

The moral of this story is, $18 for health insurance is a lot nicer to pay than $1,000+ in prescriptions, clinic fees, ambulance costs and more. And ear infection aside, it was a really nice trip. We swam, drank, smoked a cigar, got my first ever massage, kayaked, played beach volleyball, ate, did NOT get traveler's diarrhea...all lovely.

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  1. How hilariously sad! I'm glad to hear that your trip ended with an all-around positive note.

  2. Thanks! It started great, ended nicely, with a brief hiccup in fun in the middle.

  3. OH MY GOSH!!! And I thought getting constipated was the worst thing to happen in the Dominican!! (TMI? Sorry!!) I'm SOOOO sorry it got in the way of your vacation - that's absolutely the WORST - but I'm glad you're okay and home in one piece!

  4. Aww, that sucks about your ear but I'm glad most of the vacation was fun. That kind of thing is what makes me nervous to travel! :-/


  5. Wow! That's crazy! We had a small encounter with the resort doctor while we were in Mexico for our wedding (long story), but the doctor and all associated services were perks that went along with our resort. Thank god we didn't agree to go to the hospital!

  6. Emily Jane--Your problem would have been horrible too! Glad we are both back in Canada safe :)

    Lauren--I never expected to have to use health insurance but I will NEVER skip it again, even just to go across the border for a day!

    Katie--The resort clinic was enough to freak me out! I'm such a baby about doctor's offices.

  7. Oh man, getting sick/injured on vacation is bad enough but being away from home makes it worse! Glad everything worked out and you're home safe.

    Also. Despite how much I hate that song and the alcohol poisoning it encourages, all I can think after watching that video is how much I need neon zebra shorts in my life. You know, in case I'm ever poolside at a resort. with T-Pain.

  8. Ellie--you DON'T have neon zebra shorts?!