Me, J. and the kids spent the whole week (5 days to be exact) last week at the hospital. Danielle and Josh were admitted because of bronco pneumonia with parenteral infection. It all started on Sunday night at around 11 PM when Danielle complained that she wanted to vomit. And the next thing we knew, she was vomiting almost every 15 minutes. The two kids developed a cough 2 days prior to Sunday. Josh also awakened and began coughing and vomiting. For the next 5 hours, J. and I were shuffling and attending between the two kids who vomit at an interval of 15 to 20 minutes each. On the 5th hour, we decided that we should rush both kids to the E.R. It was a terrible ordeal and painful to see both kids suffering all at the same time! Since we could not leave the baby behind, we also had to take him with us to the hospital along with our baby sitter. By the time we reached the E.R., both kids began to have diarrhea. I insisted on having both kids admitted immediately and not wait for the two hours ‘observation’ time.
So there- we finally had the kids admitted in one room. Looking back, I didn’t know how J. and I manage with virtually no sleep on Sunday night, only 3 or 4 hours sleep on Monday to Wednesday nights. We were only able to rest by Thursday and Friday when the kids showed signs of improvement. Until now, we could never determine what caused the kids’ sudden fit of vomiting and then diarrhea. We suspected that the last meal they ate were contaminated (fast food meal). Their respiratory infection only showed up on the second day of confinement.
Now that everything is almost back to normal, I can’t help but appreciate other parents who also have very young kids (those like us with kids spaced shortly). When kids get sick, how prepared are we? Or how prepared am I? There are many reasons why kids get sick. But one common thing is, at one way or another, there will always come a time when a child gets sick. How can parents prepare for times like this? While pondering the question, I came up with these strategies that worked in my case and helped lessen the burden of taking care of sick children.
1. Always have a Philhealth Insurance.
I can never add up all the amount that Philhealth has paid for mine (when I gave birth) or Josh’s (he had atypical pneumonia) earlier confinement and just very recently, the two kids’ confinement. More than 40% of our hospital bill was shouldered by Philhealth. Just imagine going to a hospital without insurance? In the Philippines, we are very lucky that we pay very little premium (around Php100.00 per month) just to be assured that if the children get sick, at least almost half of the bills will be taken cared of.
Taking care of sick children is already a huge challenge. Just imagine what we had to go through. Very little sleep, pain in seeing the children suffer. These feelings would further be aggravated if we also have to think about where to get money to pay the bill.
2. Get a medical insurance from a reliable pre-need firm
I remember my first department chairperson in a university where I used to teach, she remarked that she would rather pay Php 300.00 or more per month than to get sick. The urgency of getting a medical insurance (by the way, I will not be advertising any pre-need firm here) only seem to be realized by many of us at the moment when we need it. Aside from taxes as one of the constants in this part of the universe, one way or another one of our family members will get sick. I would not wish it on my family nor on any one too. But it would help if we are prepared. We have nothing to lose but so many to gain if we get a medical insurance.
3. Have an emergency fund
I started saving for an emergency fund when J. and I took some baby steps to reign in our finances. While we were not able to dip from our emergency fund because nos. 1 and 2 took care of our hospital bills and doctor’s fee, I had some form of assurance that if we ran out of money, we have some liquid savings to keep us afloat. My worry while we were in the hospital was focused on taking care of the two kids and not anymore on finances.
4. Take care of your own health
The importance of being healthy was put in perspective when we spent four nights straight with very little sleep. As a parent, I very well understood now why I should go back to exercising (something that has taken the backseat for quite a long time) and eating healthy food. I couldn’t afford to be sick too from the rigors of taking care of sick children. Luckily, I survived the almost sleepless nights but I am certain that if it had extended to more than five days, I would also get sick.
Danielle and Josh now are almost back to their old selves. They are recuperating well and I hope they will be in the pink of health as soon as possible. I would never wish for my children to be sick again, but if it does come sometime in the future, I am already prepared.