All About Trey

Life, Travel, Adventure

Healthcare Abroad

So just an heads up that I'll be sharing some personal information, so if you are squeamish, you might want to skip this post.  Think of this as a spoiler alert.   


When I was in Sydney, I noticed this weird red bump under my arm.  I've had heat rashes before and didn't think of it.  The bump got bigger and started to hurt, but I just assumed that it would go away after time.  Well when I left Sydney, I hoisted my rather full backpack onto my shoulder and my first thought was "Holy Mother of God that hurts."  The backpack strap sits right on top of what is now a really big red bump.  And not just a bump.  It's Iike a big sphere of pain under my arm.  

So once I got to Queenstown I went to the medical clinic here.  To see the Dr it was $160 NZD (or $112 USD) since I wasn't a member of their local healthcare plan.  I saw a Dr within 30 minutes and she diagnosed it as an ingrain hair that had become a staph infection.  Lovely.  Unfortunately it wasn't in a position for them to lance it, so she put me on some antibiotics ($38 NZD or $27 USD) and told me to come back to the clinic today.  

So SB and I got up this AM and after a lovely and quite leisurely breakfast, we descended into town and caught a local bus to Arrowtown.  A cute little town about 20 miles from Queenstown.  It was the site of a local gold rush back in the mid 1800s.  Again, cute town.  But small.  Like the main drag was just a block long.  But we did some window shopping.  Had lunch.  Walked down around the river a bit.  We left Arrowtown and hit a winery on the way back to Queenstown.  So we did a tasting and I bought a case (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling, and Rose).  Then it was a back to the clinic.  Unfortunately it was lot busier.  Lots of people on crutches, not sure what they were doing, but glad that's not me.  Another $160 NZD.  First the nurse sees me.  Yes it's ready to be drained.  Then I wait a bit for the Dr.  Finally he comes in.  Yep, they will drain it.  I get a shot to numb the area.  Which definitely hurt.  After ten minutes he comes back and proceeds to lance the boil.  It hurt like a MF and this was after the numbing shot.  But apparently they were successful in draining the puss from the infection and put a little wick into the hole to help it drain over the next day or so.  They slapped a bandage on me and I was done.  I had to pay for 2 additional bandages ($21 NZD).  I'll need to change the dressing tomorrow and remove the wick.  And I'm on more antibiotics (another $38 NZD).  But I should be fine.  And it already feels better so that's good.  Our big 5 day hike is tomorrow so I really need to be healthy while we are gone.    

I find all of this a little bit interesting considering the changes in the US healthcare that are about to happen.  I'm fairly certain that if I had gone to my Dr (twice) and had a minor procedure like this done, it would have cost a lot more than $224.  They didn't charge me for any of the tools or equipments they used and I only had to pay for the extra bandages.  So all in all this wasn't a bad experience at all.  I've got all of my receipts and will try to get my insurance to reimburse.  But if it doesn't, the bills isn't going to bankrupt me.   


Switching subjects.  So far Sarah Beth and I are getting along really well.  I have to keep reminding her that our hike isn't a race.  I'm convinced she's going to sprint ahead of me.  And that's fine.  Dad used to do that to me also.  So I'm used to it.  And yes when she reads this blog post she's going to be mad at me.  :-) 

Like I said, our big hike starts tomorrow.  So no FB or blogging until Monday.