International Health Insurance for Travel
Another story on why you need International Health Insurance for Travel
Terry and I have been able to Travel the World House Sitting for over a year now! Yes, we have house been house sitting our way through Thailand, Italy, the United Kingdom (five months) and now we are in Spain. We are living our dream and having the time of our lives seeing the World! But, let me tell you another story on why you need International Health Insurance for Travel!
Our First House Sit was near Alicante, Spain
We were close to a the small village of La Romana, a quaint sleepy village that is famous for it’s weekend Mercado. The home we were house sitting was probably two kilometers down a maze of dirt roads. Yes, we were staying in “El Campo”, w
hich in Spanish means the country. We were surrounded by the desert amongst the Olive Trees and Grape Orchards that were prolifically growing with their irrigation systems. The only noise we heard was the barking of the dogs in other small homes hidden away.
We flew into Alicante on May 9th
We flew into Alicante and drove our rented car to the home in the late afternoon. Had a little trouble with the rent car and they had to switch it out for another. The second car was our first “automatic” since we started house sitting. It seems like this part of the world believes in standard transmissions and the people here don’t like automatics. I was happy with the change as it was much easier to drive. We headed out to El Campo, the country side.
The homeowners were lovely people
We spent the first few days with them still in the house and we got to know them well and we were delighted to meet their three dogs and a cat. It was a nice house sit and after we walked the dogs, we were able to explore the area including Alicante and Benidorm as well as many small villages in the area.
We were scheduled to stay there taking care of the animals until June the 11th. Things were going great. Just a few minor problems around the home that I had to take care of. The pool pump froze up and I had to take it apart to free is so it would pump water.
Things changed drastically on June 8th
I was working on the computer in the dining room while Terry was getting ready for the day. We were planning on exploring some more of the area as we only had a few more days left until we bid our new furry friends a goodbye and headed to our next house sit. As I was working on the computer, I had the strangest feeling come over me. I had no idea what it was. I called out to Terry and she came running into the room. She found me slumped over on the chair next to me and pretty much incoherent. After a few moments, I opened my eyes and of course told her what all husbands tell their wives when something like this happens. “I’m OK, don’t worry”.
She asked me “What the hell just happened to you?” I had absolutely no idea and was still pretty much out of it. I remember her telling me, “That’s it, we are going to the hospital!” She left to throw on some clothes and I (feeling much better) walked into the living room from the dining room. I sat down on the couch and it happened again! The rest was a blur as she got me some clothes and helped me dress.
She quickly went online and found the nearest hospital
You have to realize, that Terry had not driven since we left Panama and certainly not a standard transmission vehicle. Thank God for the miracle of the “switch out” at the rental car company. I helped her set up Google Maps and away we went. I was awake on the ride to the hospital and was able to help her navigate. Google Maps brought us to the doors of a very nice private hospital. We parked and went inside of the Emergency Entrance.
We explained to the clerk what was going on
We were lucky enough to have an English speaking clerk as this is Spain you know. She advised that I could be seen by a doctor with no problem and after leaving a small deposit to pay for the visit, I was immediately whisked away to the doctor’s office right inside the ER hallway. The doctor was very professional and she spoke English too.
The Doctor gave me a thorough assessment and then told me, “You need to be admitted”
Wow! Things were moving fast! She found that my pulse was at forty beats per minute. I told here that this pulse rate was normal for me and I have had that rate for years. She told me that she thought my heart rate was slowing down causing the syncope episodes. I was then told that I would be admitted and placed on a “EKG Holter”. This device was a portable device that would send my EKG into a recording device so that the doctors could tell what was going on.
I was escorted from the Doctor’s office directly to a bed in the emergency room
The nurses took my base line vital signs and then got me into a gown. They were preparing to send me to a private room where I could be watched and my EKG monitored. For some reason, they all left me alone and I was just laying there. Terry had gone out to sit in the waiting room while they were getting me ready.
And then it happened again!
I felt that weird feeling come over me and I was all alone. So, I did the stupid thing and jumped out the bed and stumbled over the doorway. The nurses were there at the end of the hallway talking. I yelled out “Ayudame me!” (help me!) And stumbled back to my bed. I then had another syncope episode and things were a blur. I awakened to find the ER doctor and the ICU doctor at the foot of my bed. They look rather concerned and then gave me more bad news.
We are admitting you to the ICU
I still didn’t know what was going on! What is wrong with me? Was I going to make it? Yes, I was scared! Terry was scared too! Not only was she worried about me, but what was she going to do? Where was she going to stay? The ER doctor left for a minute and came back and handed her a piece of paper with a room number on it. They had found her a room to stay in while I was in the ICU.
Once I arrived in the ICU, an IV was established and I was back on an EKG monitor. Then, the cardiologist came in to talk to me. He said, “We need to run a few more tests and then we are going to put a Pace Maker into you.” Just like that, my life had changed. Were our house sitting days over? The big question I was asking myself, “Am I dying”?
On the second day, more tests were done
I remember having a brain scan, chest x-rays and of course blood drawn for testing. I was finally back in my room trying to relax and the nurse came in to administer some drugs into the IV. I asked here what the drug was and what it was for. She told me that it was Dopamine and they were trying to raise my resting heart beat from forty to sixty. She then turned to me and said, “Whenever you had your episode, you heart rate plummeted to fifteen”. We are trying not to let his happen again while you wait for your pacemaker.
The 10th of June, I was wheeled into the operating room and got my “marcopasos”
Yes, “marcopasos” is Spanish for pacemaker. I had my new little “souvenir from Spain” stitched inside of my chest. The surgery went fine and I was awake for the procedure. I was told that I had a Sinus Node Bradycardia and that the pace maker would now keep my heart rate at a constant rate of sixty.
I was not only scared but I was worried about what was going to happen
I felt like I was too healthy and too young for something like this to happen to me. All kinds of thought were entering into my head for weeks as I convalesced. Would we be able to continue house sitting? Was I going to have to go back to the states? What was I going to do? I was told I could not drive and surely could not pick up anything heavy until further notice. Hell, I could not even lift my left arm over my head. They did not want me to pull the leads from the pacemaker out of my ventricles. Yep, I was a pretty good patient after hearing that.
I do want to say right here that my experience in Imed Hospital in Spain was wonderful. I received excellent medical care from a very compassionate staff. I am very thankful that I was in Spain when this happened!
But I was NOT worried about one thing, Health Insurance
When we started traveling, I did my research on Health Insurance. You see, most of the time your health insurance in the United States will NOT cover you when you are traveling! You must do your “due diligence” and research things to make sure you are covered. In most cases, you will need to have International Health Insurance for Travel away from you home country.
You can purchase Travel Insurance Online
I have put together a Review of a reputable Company, Atlas Travel Medical Insurance. I want to tell you right now, NEVER leave your home country without insurance coverage! Things can happen, things do happen, and I am the proof of that! You need to have International Health Insurance for Travel.
Read My Review Now!
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