Category Archives: Medical Emergency

Do You Do D?

Ah yes, the getting older thing — a few more vitamins here and there, supplements like fish oil and garlic tablets, and all the while you hope that the aches and pains don’t increase.

But what if they do increase? And what if you are suddenly in a whirlwind of medical tests for all sorts of scary things whilst you never have a full night of sleep for months on end and you struggle to even rise from the bed some days due to pain? THAT, my dear readers, is exactly why I have been ‘missing in action’ for the last several months.

It was a huge relief to find out that the Big C was not a scary addition to my life and there were a few other things to deal with that I don’t think are worth mentioning. But then my lovely woman doctor told me that in all of her years in medical practice, she had never seen anyone with a Vitamin D level as low as mine. If 50 and above is normal, mine was a 1 — seriously — a ONE! That charming woman and another one that I met at the hospital the following week said that I must have been walking around under sheer force of will. And of COURSE, they assured me, you were in bone-shattering pain and had brain fog! A vitamin D deficiency will do all of that and more.

I’ve had to have a major rethink about several issues including where we are living, the fact that being on the 3rd floor of a building with no elevator might NOT be a fabbo cardio workout if I am getting sciatic leg lock-up again and again, and there’s also the sheer volume of noise in a major city like Melbourne all day and all night. Add to that the fact that if I have a project in the works, I simply don’t remember to eat in the middle of the day or get enough sleep at night. I’m like a little engine in one of two modes — fully on and ZOOM or almost completely shut down. That doesn’t strike me as a balanced approach and I need to sort that out.

Long story short and so I don’t bore you into a state of glazed eyes, I am now on massive liquid D supplements each day along with D capsules and something called Krill Oil and I’ve been urged to occasionally expose my lily-white skin to the sun. And all of that is in addition to the regular handful of daily vitamins that should have me sounding like a baby’s rattle when I walk. Nothing has shifted dramatically in the last 10 days but, fingers crossed, the charming lady doc assures me that I’ll be on the comeback trail by the end of 6-7 weeks. I certainly hope so.

It was quite astonishing to hear how many of my girlfriends or family members had been through similar issues with vitamin D at a much less intense level than my latest episode of ‘medical surprises’ — so I would urge any of you who are tired, aching, a bit blue, and brain foggy to get your own vitamin D levels tested with a simple blood test from your family doctor. Who knows what long term damage to your body you might be preventing.

On a happy note, I’ll be making a rather splendid announcement tomorrow about something that has kept me quite focused over the last few weeks — some new work to share with the world that I am quite proud of.

Tune in tomorrow for the really GOOD news!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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SAVINGS on Travel Insurance for Overseas Trips

Whether you are an expat, a round-the-world traveller, or simply someone who is headed off on their annual holiday, a comprehensive travel insurance policy is a VERY necessary item when you leave home. And anyone who fails to purchase such an essential thing may be taking their lives and their financial future in their hands. Rather a lot of people think that they are the ‘lucky ones’ and that no accident or theft or illness will befall them because they are alert and aware and prepared. But, as I can share from personal experience, life’s a little messier than that!

Before you even make a travel insurance purchase, there are ways to save on your overall costs. They usually mean you have to be patient enough to look at quite a few online options, compare the coverage, decide what you don’t need to trim things down a bit, and then consider paying a higher excess or deductible.

Why pay for action sports coverage if that isn’t your thing? And if you aren’t carrying a lot of tech gear with you the way we do, you can probably use a more budget-oriented company that’s a bit ‘no frills’ except on the essentials like medical coverage and missing luggage.

In the past, we have repeatedly used World Nomads as our travel insurance provider. I have nothing but the highest praise for this company and would recommend them to anyone. They were quite reasonably priced, were very pleasant to deal with, and we were quite satisfied with the service we received when we unexpectedly had to make a claim against travel insurance for the first time ever in 2012. They paid a week-long hospital bill for me when I was incredibly ill in France last summer and I would have been stuck with that hefty bill if we had not had an active policy at the time. An episode like that is one of the reasons that I continue to remind fellow travellers to ALWAYS have insurance because the unexpected really does happen more often than you can imagine.

That hospital visit left me in a tricky position though. I now have what’s known as a ‘pre-existing condition’ since it is an issue that could potentially reappear in the future. World Nomads was quite clear on their website when I checked a few days ago and it stated that yes, I could purchase travel insurance that would cover all of the other things like lost luggage or cancelled flights and so forth. But they would NOT COVER any medical issue that had been paid out in the past. On my!

That set me on an almost 3-day search of site after site to try and find good quality travel insurance that I could purchase by simply being honest, stating that I had been hospitalised for a previous issue, and paying a slightly higher premium. Easy, right? But when the companies that I was researching were moving from my budget-target of £500 for the two of us for a 6 week trip and zooming right up to over £1,200 for that short a period, I was a bit stunned. We paid that much for a full year of comprehensive travel insurance a mere 2-1/2 years ago!

I looked at quite a few companies in the UK and discovered that, one after another, they rejected our applications because Mark was British (so he was eligible to buy a policy), but I was Australian and therefore was not. Telling fibs and pretending to be a UK citizen or resident wouldn’t have been a good idea since it would have negated the insurance coverage completely.

When you are preparing to purchase your own travel insurance, you will need to make sure that you answer truthfully what country you are a legal resident of. Since we’ve given up on living in the UK and I didn’t bother doing the paperwork to become a legal resident, I am still a citizen of Australia so I did a web search on insurance for pre-existing medical conditions from the Australian Google site. Simply search from your own country so that if there is ever a problem, they can air-ambulance you back to your home country.

Some of the bigger companies that I included in my search were BUPA, Travel Insure Direct, Medi-Bank,, and 1-Cover as well as the policies offered by banks in Australia. They were all over £1,000 for 6 weeks and CoverMore was the most expensive at £1,249.

Finally (whew!) on Day 3, I found what I was looking for — insurance that covered everything, had a medical certificate stating that I had declared my condition, and we were both covered for all the rest of the baggage, delays, and such. AND, triumph of triumphs, it came in at under £500 for the two of us.

The company we are using this time is InsureAndGo and they have branches in several countries. Securing that insurance for our upcoming trip was the final puzzle piece for the adventure ahead.

Come back soon for more pictures from Newcastle Upon Tyne!

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.