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Well pfff...Illness derails my budget.

March 7th, 2013 at 07:02 pm



Wouldn't you know it. I thought I was doing a good job working on my budget. But events of this past week showed me a hole that I need to fix.

DD3 woke up Friday morning with a fever. By Saturday, she had a headache, a sore throat and an upset stomach to go with it. The last 3 together have always heralded strep throat. Being a weekend, of course, her pediatrician's office was closed, so off to the urgent care center we went. I have insurance, but the copay for urgent care is about 1/3 higher than a regular office visit.

After a rapid strep test came back negative, the doctor told me that there was a virus going around that was mimicing strep symptoms. They had seen approximately 100 cases in the last few days. So instead of going home with antibiotics, we went home with a prescription for an anti-nausea medication so she could keep down fluids.

Fast foward to Wednesday. DD3 was doing better, so DH sent her to school. I had worked Monday and Tuesday night, so I came home and was taking a nap. Low and behold, 2 hours later the school nurse called. DD3 was in the office with her fever back full force and now she was wheezing on top of it. I picked her up and called her pediatrician. Again.

This time, the lovely receptionist informed me that they were booked solid for the next 2 days. They would happy to fit her in on Friday. Hello?! Friday? Did they miss the part where she was wheezing with every breath? My only 2 options were back to the urgent care of the emergency room.

I'm lucky. There is a fantastic pediatric urgent care clinic not far from my house. We check back in for the second time and waited our turn. As soon as we walked back in to triage, the nurse took one look at my daughter and got an order for a respiratory treatment. After the doctor saw her, she ordered a chest xray (which will run about $300 when the bill finally comes in). Thankfully, there was no pneumonia present, but she was showing signs of inflammation from reactive airway disease.

When DD3 was little she would get this every time she had an upper respiratory infection. It had been about 4 years since her last bout, so we (the pediatrician and myself) had assumed she had finally outgrown this tendency. We no longer had a prescription for an inhaler on hand. So we left urgent care with a new order for the inhaler plus steroids.

I know I'm lucky to have insurance, but an inhaler is still not cheap. Thankfully the steroids were only $4 at the pharmacy we go to.

So back to the budget. Because the we are lucky to be a relatively healthy family (the kids rarely go to the doctor for anything other than their annual checkups), I had only budgeted for a single (regular) office visit plus one generic medication. This past week blew past all that.

I need to redo the budget to find room for the more expensive visits. Anything left over will then be rolled over in to a long term healthcare emergency fund to cover the unexpected.

The best laid plans...

4 Responses to “Well pfff...Illness derails my budget.”

  1. starfishy Says:

    bummer, but cool that you are using this unexpected experience to make adjustments so that you are better prepared next time. thanks for sharing this, it's good food for thought.

  2. JulieA Says:

    I hope she feels better.

    We finally had a leave a Pediatrician that we liked because of those types of issues. A great Pediatrician isn't so great when you find that your last 4 appointments had to happen at the CVS Immediate Care Clinic because you couldn't get an appointment with the Pediatrician. Hopefully it doesn't get that bad for you.

  3. PNW Mom Says:

    Hope your dd feel's better soon. It is too bad they didn't have any ER spots available Frown

  4. Jerry Says:

    I hear you... thank goodness for health insurance, because it does lead to savings over paying out of pocket, but it is still tough to manage the unexpected fees and copayments. Not to mention the stress of a sick child! I hope she`s feeling better soon, and thank goodness for that urgent care nearby!
    Jerry

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