Falling ill or getting injured abroad is certainly not fun. We have had several brushes with foreign medical services during our travels. The first time, it was in Czech Republic, when my wife got bitten in a leg by an insect while taking a long-exposure night photo on Charles Bridge in Prague. The bite got infected, and, following doctor’s orders, my wife had to spend the next few days in our hotel room with her leg elevated. “But we have vacation plans. How would I get around?” my wife asked the doctor (they were communicating using equal parts of English, Czech and Russian). “You’ve got a strong-looking husband,” she replied, “he should be carrying you in his arms.” I took it as a compliment. This happened on the second day of our trip, so fortunately, she had time to recover while I was attending a conference, and our subsequent vacation travels were not interrupted.
The other couple of incidents happened when our daughter became sick abroad, most recently a year ago in Milan. Just a few days ago, it was my father’s turn to get injured, while visiting us here in Victoria.
Dealing with all the stress and logistics, I thought that it was amazing how time heals the wounds, metaphorically speaking. The worry, the pain, the frustration eventually became blurred in our memories. My wife and I mostly remember the funny details of dealing with the language barrier, the universal kindness of doctors and nurses, the interactions among ourselves during the difficult times.
To be philosophical about it, health issues are a part of life, and they are bound to happen on the road as much as they will occur at home. And a far as travelling with family is concerned, I think that such trips are not so much about the destination itself or sightseeing, but more about spending time with family while travelling. Being on the road only adds a common element of novelty and excitement (and a bit of stress) to experience together. And the sickness or injury, as the time passes and the wounds heal (in the literal sense), eventually becomes just another experience – something that adds to the overall impression of the trip. Just buy insurance before leaving home.