Money cannot buy happiness, they say.
And I say yes, it can! Especially when your income is average and medical emergencies are the order of the day. Money is multi-lingual!
I know this is not one of my routine posts, but I just had to get this off my shapely chest.
The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy for me. I developed a skin rash that freaked me out and no matter what I did, it got worse. I consulted a doc, but the topical cream he prescribed made it even worse. So, after procrastinating for a couple of days more, I consulted a dermatologist who put me on steroids and a thrice a day cream application for 20 days. He warned me I’d feel hungrier than usual. I didn’t. I did feel hyper-energetic though.
It’s a good thing I do my own housework (cheapo fitness routine) – so I thought i warded off the hassle of adding extra weight. Silly me. 20 days is too short a time on steroids. Anyway – the rash got better. And I developed some big time digestion issues. And suffered severe pain. Cramps. Eeks. I continued to pretend to be normal. Then remembered some home remedies – still on them – and feel a lot better today. Amen!
On top of this, last week, my friend phoned me in tears. She had to rush to go visit her mom (who lives in another town) and had to carry cash for hospital expenses. Cash she did not have. And, regrettably, cash I did not have. She contemplated pledging some jewellery – but I discouraged her from doing that for obvious reasons. I hate that sort of thing. Then we called another friend and she suggested getting a quick cash advance (also called a payday loan) from a company she used frequently for emergencies. This is a quick and convenient short term “loan” to access cash when you need it. Approvals are fast, eligibility rules and procedures are usually simple. No risk, she said. We trusted her. And followed her advice.
Turned out to be a good experience and my friend is all smiles. Her mom was admitted in hospital for a couple of days. She phoned me as soon as she got back, with her mom back home and out of danger. She made the resolve to keep some cash in the bank for emergencies. Good girl.
A payday loan can be right for you, depending on how you plan to use it, how urgently you need it after you explore all your available options. Obviously you pay a price for the convenience but this can be well worth it if you have absolutely no other option and are confident of sticking to the repayment schedule. These loans are good for unexpected emergencies.
Interestingly, I also came to know through this experience that quite a few friends who I thought were cash-rich use these cash advances routinely.
Now you know why money is on my mind
I am usually well-planned as far as my finances go. My lifestyle is simple. I don’t eat out often. I cook from scratch by habit. I don’t have any other major indulgences. I cannot afford to. I use my credit card only to replace cash, knowing I have the cash to pay for what I am buying.
But fate has a way of testing finances. By sending an emergency your way.
This sort of thing is a pain when there’s no medical insurance. Most people do not do this – and life more or less goes on nicely, until an emergency strikes. When my Mom was diagnosed with lung fibrosis, we had a tough time going through all those expensive tests and hospitalizations. Luckily we had just sold our apartment and we had cash available. We did explore medical insurance options, but nobody covers existing illnesses and there are so many conditions to meet. Moreover, we didn’t fancy paying thousands every year on the off-chance we may fall sick. Fortunately we somehow managed – from our savings, earnings, without getting into debt. Obviously we cut down on many expenses – and funnily enough, did not feel the lack of them. Both Sury and I have grown up frugally and we are fine with being minimalist. Sury believes less is best. But as I said, we cannot become frugal when it comes to medical emergencies and other life events we cannot avoid.
Oh, I’ll never forget the day when I went to the doc with a sore throat infection and severe cold. I paid his hefty consultation and proceeded to the medical store to get my prescription. And was shocked with the cost!. I even called the doctor back to confirm if he really meant the medication he wrote (silly me). And he said yes. I made the discovery that doctors have no idea of what their prescriptions cost. Grr.
I am totally into home remedies, thanks to growing up with a clever grandmother and mother. For common ailments – I always go in for natural methods before it looks like a trip to the doc. Sigh. If only love could heal!
In the meantime, yet another friend called to tell me her sister in law, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery, has worrisome follow-up test results. She has been prescribed a medication which costs Rs.1, 75,000 per tablet. That is 2,647.61 Euros/ 2,205.72 British Pounds / 3,490.94 US Dollars.
One tablet per month. With a 50/50 chance of it working.
What will she do? Can’t afford it. Now, besides working as a freelance writer and blogger I have a second job as member of an ethics committee (I am part of a team that evaluates protocols for human clinical trials). So – I got this brilliant idea about finding out whether there were on-going clinical trials for this particular medication. And became Dr.Google. Successfully. Made phone calls and now I have two doctors following up with me about the patient. She’s scheduled to go for a consultation tomorrow and then we’ll know what’s next. I am praying that she’s able to enrol in the trial for an opportunity to get the medication and heal. She’s only 42.
Puts the fear of God into me, because I have a family history of breast cancer and am at risk for it. So far so good, but I can tell you that the benchpress on the boobs during the mammography is not fun. Ugh. I am due for my routine tests in a couple of months.
But before that, once Vidur gets his Grade 9 results and goes to Grade 10 in April, there are expenses in the form of school books, school uniforms, school fees…..the list is endless. Am grateful we’re prepared.
Life’s lessons are amazing.
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