A Jamaican wife tells of her trip to the US where her husband gets sick. Something that most Jamaicans fear traveling to the US because of healthcare costs.
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Trouble On Vacation Isle

When my husband and I set out for a well-needed three-week vacation to Boston and Florida, the last thing on our minds was a trip to the emergency room. Like many other Jamaicans traveling to the US our list looked something like this:

1. Do some shopping
2. See the sights
3. Do some more shopping
4. ….. and some more shopping
5. Rest for a day
6. Do some more shopping (I think you get the picture)

We had a blast in Boston and were eagerly anticipating an enjoyable five days in Florida, which we hoped would be chock full of going out and having crazy fun. We were however in for a rude awakening as life dealt us a bitter taste of reality almost immediately upon our arrival to the city. My poor husband came down with a nasty ear infection that translated into extreme dizziness and vomiting along with disorientation. He had to be rushed to the doctor’s office only two days after our arrival.

Luckily we had carried extra cash (we got the quintessential “we only cover life threatening diseases abroad” line from our health insurance provider) and did not have to go with arms outstretched to our family members. The doctor’s visit cost $110 (a whopping $7500 JA) and a mere injection a further $60 (app $4100 JA). Of course, both my husband and I were balking at the cost but were later grateful that the condition occurred in Florida and not Boston where the fee would have been five times as much).

The comparative cost was however cushioned by the friendly and efficient service we received at the doctor (Florida Urgent Care and Walk-In Center) and the advice provided to us about how I should care for my husband over the next few days. We were even more surprised when we were told that we could get one of the antibiotics free of cost at the nearby Publix Pharmacy. Of course, we were apprehensive about this (even our aunt who resides in the Miramar area was skeptical about this bit of info). The medication did turn out to be free and the other was purchased at a minimal cost. The experience got our aunt saying that she would definitely be filling her prescription at that pharmacy next time.

In light of all this, we must applaud the health system in this area and say that the service rendered to us made an otherwise scary experience into one that was bearable. True, my poor husband was holed up in bed and couldn’t move his head without feeling as if the world was spinning out of control, but he was making progress. The meds were working and he seemed to be on the mend. Once again, kudos to the staff at Florida Urgent Care and Walk-In Center and to the powers-that-be for implementing that free medication system.

About the author

Natalie Reid