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TRAVEL INSURANCE: Optional or A MUST

By Nonita Mole

Bringing our parents to Canada was a dream come true for my sisters and I. It was a happy reunion after 5 years of not seeing each other. It was their first time to see Winnipeg, our houses, the cabin and first time to meet my fiancée in person (my husband now). My parents have attended my citizenship oath. My father was able to see her sister from Seattle, Washington, whom he has not seen for more than 10 years. He was also able to see his best friend who was my sponsor in coming to Canada. They walked me down the aisle in a beautiful wedding. Everything was supposed to be a perfect get together, until one morning of Thanksgiving, everything had changed us forever.

 

My father who was healthy in the Philippines suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the left part of his brain. I came from my midnight shift when I answered a phone call from my mother, asking me to bring their passports as my father was brought by 911 to Health Sciences Centre. I felt like I was still dreaming but that dream has turned into a nightmare. It took me some time before I was able to understand what was happening. I was in tears. I went to the hospital . My sisters were there too who were at the same time in tears. My dad was not able to recognize me. He was conscious but oblivious and immobile.

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I didn’t work that night and stayed besides my father and mother. It was the longest 24 hours of my life. No matter how hard I tried to stay positive, horrible thoughts kept on lingering. The truth was I was scared to lose him, not at this moment, not in this way. Nurses and doctors kept delivering us the bad news , so I have to tell them in private to please keep the news away from my mother, as I didn’t know how she would handle it. The doctor showed me the CT scan results, the blood was the size of a golf ball at the left part of the brain. Hearing the words from the doctor was tearing my heart into pieces. He told me there was no way that it could be prevented or detected right away. There was no trigger. It was like a ticking timebomb with its own timeframe. Fortunately for my father, the response time was quick allowing him to be treated immediately. And my quick-thinking sister was able to call 911 ASAP because it is crucial to bring him to the hospital as quickly as possible. His first 24-48 hours was critical. We were advised by the doctor to be prepared at all times as he was prone to another stroke. My father was put in the intensive monitoring. He was awake , yet unable to move the right part of the body, his speech was stuttering , his eyes were open yet he could hardly recognize us or where he was. The doctor said it was normal after the stroke but it felt so strange, seeing him like that. His blood pressure was rising. It scared me every hour. I kept my faith in God , but I asked Him to understand my fear, my weakness, my grief.

 

After 5 days in the hospital, we were notified by the billing department that our bill already exceeded the medical insurance that we have. We only have $25,000 and the bill for the room in the hospital was $4,947. As tourist , please take note that in any hospital in Winnipeg, average will be about $5,000 per day. And it will be twice the cost of that if admitted in the ICU. Doctor’s fee and other laboratory works are additional.

 

All we wanted was our father to be fine. Money can be earned but our father's life was more precious. He wasn’t well yet in 5 days so he stayed in the hospital. He was confined for 20 days. Our bill reached $106,000. We planned a fundraising event to cover some expenses but it was really too big. We were stressed out, we were tired, we argued, we cried, but we held our hands together, we are a family and we are stronger when we are united. When the doctor said he was medically ready for the flight, we scheduled him to fly at the earliest possible time so he could be treated further in the Philippines. On November 6, he landed safely in our hometown and went straight to a hospital in the Philippines.

 

From this, we learned about the importance of having a comprehensive travel insurance. If you can maximize it, please do so. No one will ever know when an emergency will occur. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises. Bringing loved ones in Canada requires great responsibility. Imagine taking them out of their comfort zone and moving them into a different environment with the coldest weather, eating more processed food, and changing their routine activities. These changes would probably be affecting them physically and mentally. We really cannot tell. Unexpected, healthy individuals back home can become severely sick or suffered cardiovascular and stroke when they stay for longer period of days without their usual activities. While we are excited to bring them here, we also need to think about their well being first and foremost.

 

After all that we have been through, we are still fortunate and thankful that our father is getting better. We have learned our lesson. Now, we are sharing our stories and thoughts with others who have plans of bringing their loved ones in Canada. Travel insurance should never be an optional, it should be mandatory. Yes, it is expensive, yes, these things can happen or not, or you might think this will not happen to you or your family, but for your peace of mind and for the protection of your loved ones, I say yes to travel insurance.

 

Disclaimer: We are not in any way associated with any insurance companies. And this is not a paid ad.