Cold (Snap!)


Possibly the most memorable thing about our departure isn’t the weather we’re leaving — predictably cold winter temps, here in the depths of Midwestern winter.

No, the detail we’ll remember is that we’re all sick with head colds and hoping not to develop anything worse — which makes it perhaps timely to spell out what we’re anticipating for medical care on this trip.

To begin, we read advisories for vaccinations and skimmed other travelers’ recommendations:

Eliza, who was born in 2008 extremely prematurely (1lb 13oz — more on that at was thrilled not to need any additional shots. Ryan, who traveled to Africa in college, didn’t need much either. I got a Hep A/B series to supplement my childhood vaccines, and we all took an oral typhoid series.

We have a beefy first aid kit that’s heavy on over-the-counter pain meds, digestive aids, ways to clean wounds (iodine, rubbing alcohol) and Band-Aids (have kids? you get me). We’re also fairly confident we can find urgent care if we need it — most of Central America has first-class private health care at prices that reflect the services you’re actually buying. (Friends in Panama tell us they go to different hospitals, insurance or no, depending on the services they need.)

Yes, we have coverage in the States, though with a shockingly high deductible. Example: Eliza broke her leg in January 2015, for which we paid out of pocket, and even with a baseline mammogram and every other routine maintenance we could think of, we didn’t meet deductible by year’s end.

In fact, having carried evacuation insurance for scuba diving in the past, I’m now convinced that covering the cost of transport back to the States might be offset by the cost of care once we got there.

In conclusion, we expect to buy care if we need it and are budgeting accordingly.

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