How much did we spend out of pocket for all the medical?...Haircut problems for Tom...Figuring it all out, one way or another...



Its amazing how quickly it grows.
Yesterday morning, we both had final appointments with Dr. Konny at Apple Tree Medical in the town of Smithfield near the shopping center.  Tom had his physical and according to what Dr. Konny could determine, he's in excellent health.

He had his blood tests which will arrive by email in a few days.  Once those have arrived, we're done with the doctor.  After Tom's appointment he headed to the lab located in the medical clinic while she and I reviewed my newly arrive test results.

Much to our delight, all is well.  I have a clean bill of health.  I must admit now that its over that the pain I had in Kauai was not a bladder infection after all. After we arrived here in Australia it started up again.  It just wasn't symptomatic as a bladder infection. 

The justcuts store is located only a few doors from the pharmacy, making it easy to find.
Over a week ago I had a CAT scan in Cairns as the pain had continued for days. We never mentioned the CAT scan here when we felt we should wait until we had results.  I was upset about having to have the scan not wanting to pay thousands of dollars for the expensive diagnostic test.

We almost fell over when we paid the bill after the test was completed.  It was AUD $365, US $269. As a matter of fact Dr. Natasha had called four different diagnostic centers while I was with her to find us the best price. I don't ever recall our doctor making phone calls for "deals" for us! The difference in pricing at various clinics was as much as AUD $1000, USD $738.  We couldn't express enough gratitude!

Keeping in mind we have no insurance to cover this when our insurance only covers hospitalization (hospital stays, surgery and inpatient services) this was the full price, not a co-pay.  I can only imagine the out of pocket cost we'd have incurred for such a service in many other countries.

Tom was reading a book on his phone while awaiting his turn.
Waiting for the results was angst ridden.  I was more worried about how we'd manage if I needed surgery or had a dreaded disease while on the move.  One can do a number on oneself imagining the difficulty in these circumstances.  But, we both held firm to a relatively positive attitude and the days passed quickly until we knew the results.

As a result of surgery over 20 years ago, I had adhesions in the left groin area (guys, figure that out on your own.  Girls get it!) and a possible bit of diverticulitis. The pain from this can come and go and for now, its at bay once again.  Reducing fiber intake seems to reduce all the pain. So for now, I'm on a low fiber, low carb, grain free, starch free, sugar free, chemical free diet.  Good grief. 

Knowing its nothing more serious and not impeding upon any internal organs, its not worrisome.  Occasional discomfort, I can manage.  Worrying is eliminated. What a relief!  As for the additional food restrictions its no problem for me.  Currently I'm having low fiber veggies such as mushrooms, onions, leaf lettuce (no more cabbage) and a few others.

Tom's former haircut gone wild.
As for all the other tests including tests for colon cancer, everything is negative.  Now we wait for Tom's results and we're home free (literally and figuratively).  Later in the week, when we grocery shop we'll make our dentist appointments with a dentist located in by the mall with a beautiful office and modern technology for teeth cleaning.

In the interim, Dr. Konny wrote my prescriptions for six months (all the law in Australia allows) for the few prescriptions I've taken for years, having recently eliminated  one more due to good health.  After the doctor appointments, we dropped off the prescriptions which will be ready by Thursday.  With these, I'll have enough on hand to last for the next 16 months. 

After three doctor appointments for me, one for Tom, multiple blood tests and the CAT scan we spent a total of USD $$1075, AUD $1458.  All that remains is is the cost for the three, six month prescriptions which surely won't be over US $200, AUD $271.26.  Unreal.  In the US, we'd have spent thousands for all of these out of pocket services.  Once Tom's results come in, we'll report here, anticipating all will be good.

In no time at all, he was done.  I particularly watched how Byron cut along the ears and back with which I'd had trouble.  I can't wait to try again.
We were very happy with the level of medical care and service at Apple Tree Medical.  If traveling to this area, one can rest assured they'd be in good hands with this clinic and with these fine doctors, including Drs. Natasha and Dr. Konny.

After the doctor's office, the stop at the pharmacy and Tom purchasing a battery for his watch which was a bit pricey at AUD $19.95, USD $14.71, we headed to JustCuts for Tom's much needed haircut.  Why wasn't I cutting his hair with our recently purchased hair clippers with the zillion attachments?

Simple answer.  When we plugged it into our electrical adapter the noise was earsplitting and it quickly became overheated, approaching a burn out.  Apparently, these clipper won't work in some countries but certainly not in Australia. My US purchase flat iron which uses more powers works without a problem.  I offered to give him a scissors cut but he refused.

The bottom edge at the back had been tricky for me.  Now, I know how to do it.
The male pharmacist suggested we try his favorite haircutters, JustCuts, located a few doors from the pharmacy in the mall.  Walking into the clean, modern, well equipped hair cutting establishment made us feel we were in good hands.  The stylist, Byron, a local guy did a fabulous job giving me tips for when I am able to cut Tom's hair again. 

After a perfect cut along with an affordable price of US $14.71, AUD $23 we were thrilled.  Hopefully, in Fiji, the hair clippers will work.  If not, we'll have to find a new haircutter before we head back to Sydney in January to board the cruise to New Zealand.

After all of our stops after the doctor visit including a trip into the grocery store for a few items, we were on our way, out to breakfast.  Unfortunately, breakfast was over at the few restaurants we visited and it was too early for lunch.  With rain pelting down and preferring to avoid walking on the beach in the rain, we decided to head back home and go out to eat another day.

When we returned home, I collected all of our medical information and scanned every medical report saving it on our hard drive and the cloud we use, OneDrive, for which we pay a small monthly fee.  We have almost one terabyte of data to save in a cloud and thus it requires a small fee for this amount of storage.  We use the portable hard drive and the cloud for safe keeping in case our hard drive is ever stolen although I keep it in my possession at all times when we travel. 


Byron was a friendly and competent stylist suggesting a number of areas we plan to visit in the near future.
Tom's test results will arrive by email by Friday,   If all is well, he'll have no further need to return to the doctor.  Once we receive them, they too will be stored on the hard drive and cloud. 

We'd received a DVD of my CAT scan which we plan to store at our box at the mailing service, along with accumulated receipts and our expired second passports which we no longer need but that I'd like to save as keepsakes.  We'll put together a small package of these items and send them to Nevada before we leave in September.  More later on why we no longer need second passports but did when we originally began to travel in 2012.

That's all the news for today, folks.  Thanks for traveling along with us.  We hope you enjoy reading the costs we bear along the way.  We post them with the intent of informing travelers as to possible costs they may incur in their travels.  If any of our readers have specific questions about any travel related expenses we may not have included, please comment or send email and we'll happily respond.

Have a wonderful day!
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Photo from one year ago today, July 21, 2014:

A natural rock formation we discovered on a drive in Madeira.  For more photos of that day's road trip, please click here.

2 comments:

Staci Finch Thompson said...

Glad to see the medical results were all positive! Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained all at the same time.

Jessica said...

Staci, thanks for your sweet comments. Its a bit awkward sharing personal medical stuff online but full disclosure it part of what brings more and more readers to our site from all over the world. We all have embarrassing issues from time to time and knowing we are not alone in them is comforting at times. That is part of the magic of the web.

We so appreciate hearing from you and can't wait to meet you both in person in time to come aboard the ship in November, 2016!

Hugs,
Jess & Tom

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