Worry So You Don’t Have to Worry


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Sally ER

At the end of the week, we found ourselves unexpectedly at the hospital. I say unexpectedly because it wasn’t for our now past-due baby girl. Instead, we made a trip to the ER with little miss Sally. She’d woken up in the middle of the night with some labored breathing, and our pediatrician recommended that we take her in. After six hours in the ER with Sally receiving breathing treatments, an X-ray, and a couple of tests, we were told that she needed to be admitted to the children’s hospital. Thankfully, they quickly figured out what the problem was (an infection in her lungs), and we were only in the hospital another day and a half before we were sent on our way with Sally on the mend.

In the moment that everything was happening, the farthest thing from our minds was money. Our only focus and concern was getting Sally better.

But there were a few financial items we’d squared away well before this incident, and we were grateful we didn’t have to think about them in the moment. Because even if we’d needed to think about them, we were too distracted to do so. The only financial item we thought about briefly was checking to make sure the hospital was in-network for our insurance. At the time, we thought we’d be gone about an hour and we weren’t expecting a huge expense. But checking that small detail became a much bigger detail when we ended up being admitted to the hospital.

Otherwise, we were grateful that we had a fully-funded emergency fund, that we spent a few days poring over insurance plans to choose one that’s right for us, and that we’ve been contributing to our HSA for the past few months. These were all decisions made months, or in the case of our emergency fund, years in advance.

While we were in the hospital, we were also reminded that while Sally’s condition was serious enough to be admitted, we knew we were fortunate to not be dealing with something much more serious. It was hard to see our little girl in a hospital bed, and our heart goes out to parents who have found themselves making regular visits to see a sick child. Especially in those situations, money is the last thing on a person’s mind. Unfortunately, at some point it becomes an unwelcome reality.

Life is full of surprises, some great, some not-so-great, some really awful. We’re grateful this weekend was just a not-so-great surprise. This has been a good reminder that we work for and worry about all this budgeting and money stuff so that when real worries arise, we don’t have to worry about money. This week we look forward to a healthier Sally and a brand-spanking-new addition to the family. Wish us luck!

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33 Comments

  • Reply Elle April 13, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Glad to hear Sally is well and out of the hospital!

    Preparing ahead of time may take effort, but it’s well worth it. Emergencies and unexpected events happen and in those moments you naturally are focused on coping with it. The added pressure of finances can be a huge wait.

    If you are caring for someone, such as a parent, having that buffer or emergency fund in place can relieve some of the stress so you can give attention on matters.

    Wish you guys a better week ahead and your baby’s safe arrival!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks! We’ve just been taking it easy this week with Sally, and she’s getting better each day!

  • Reply Halsy April 13, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I’m so glad to read that Sally is ok! It is so scary when those kind of things happen with your kiddos. I couldn’t agree more about preparing for emergencies! We’ve had quite a few in the past year and I’m so glad money didn’t take center stage. When I had my youngest (now almost 1!), she had to be in the NICU for a few days (expensive!). She ended up being fine but that added a hefty chunk of $ to our bill. Then this year within a week, I fell down stairs and broke my tailbone and had kidney stones that required 2 surgeries. Thankfully, financially we were prepared and when the bills came one after another I was able to write a check without worry.

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      It’s so unexpected and unpredictable when things aren’t going to go according to plan. So happy to hear you guys were financially ready when your emergencies arose. I’m sure dealing with all of that was stressful enough as it was. Hope you are feeling better now!

  • Reply Amber April 13, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Eeeek, not exactly something you want to deal with ever, let alone when you’re ready for baby #2 to come at any moment. Glad she’s feeling better and glad you were prepared! Looking forward to hearing your really exciting news soon!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks! We’re excited to share it as soon as it happens!

  • Reply Katie Ball April 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Glad to hear she is doing well… and hoping for the safe arrival of your new baby!

    At my current job, we can enroll in an FSA that has really been a great help. Before we enrolled, we had fluctuating medical expenses and weren’t good about rolling over unused monthly medical funds. It’s nice to now have that money at our fingertips when we need it and not have to worry about figuring up the monthly expense!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      That’s great! You may never need that money for an emergency, but being prepared for the worst is always the right choice. At some point, we all have emergencies arise, so you guys are smart to be figuring all of that out now!

  • Reply Suzanne April 13, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Sorry to hear Sally was unwell and you needed a trip to Hospital (if that scare won’t put you into labor, nothing will!)… All jokes aside, if you ever needed convincing about your budgeting and insurance measures, this was the one… Thankfully, Sally is on the mend…her little face, awh…she looks like she wanted out of there stat! Your new little lady is taking her sweet time about making an appearance isn’t she! Having said that, the body works in mysterious ways so I think she hung on in there til Sally was better, I’m convinced! Any minute now……..!!!!!!!! :-)

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      I kind of feel that way, too… this little baby is just waiting for Sally to get a bit better before she arrives! Sally was a trooper, but she did ask to go outside and go home nonstop, poor girl! When the nurses would come in, she’d plead with them to “Go outside!” When we were finally discharged, that girl put her boots on faster than she ever has!

  • Reply Anne April 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Glad little miss Sally is doing better and that it wasn’t more serious! Hoping for an easy, healthy delivery for your second bundle :)

    And I fully agree, the last thing you want to be thinking about when you need healthcare is how you’re going to pay for it. That would make an already stressful situation worse.

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks! We never could have predicted that we’d be spending my due date in the ER with Sal, and we feel really lucky that it was only a couple of days. Now we’ll see when this next little girl decides she’s ready for her own hospital debut!

  • Reply Diki April 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I’m glad to hear Sally is doing okay.

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks, Diki!

  • Reply kelsey April 13, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Glad to hear Sally is on the mend!

    The ER is a scary place to be, physically and financially… our son was admitted at 8 months to Children’s in Seattle, WA with necrotizing fasciitis, it was a gut wrenching, terrifying experience, and we were glad to be able to take him home, it could have ended much worse for us all. Thank god for experience surgeons and wonderful healthcare teams! If Children’s hadn’t been in our network i shudder to think of the state we would have been in financially after getting Spencer healthy… its not your first thought, but it can keep you up at night when things do happen… savings and insurance matter!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      Oh gosh. That must have been awful. So sorry you guys had to go through that with such a young little one. We really did feel so grateful for modern medicine and hospitals during or short stint with Sally. Adding a financial stress to an already stressful experience is terrible. More than ever, we feel motivated to always be prepared for anything that could arise.

  • Reply Rachel April 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    So glad that Sally is ok! What a stressful thing to happen for you all.

    I am so relieved that in the UK we have the NHS. When my partner was hospitalised last year the only worry was finding out what was wrong with him and getting better. We find it hard to contemplate that extra layer of worry there must be in counties where health and money are entangled.

    Anyway, hope all goes well with the new arrival when she comes!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      Yes, our current healthcare system is so convoluted that it’s really frustrating at times. We have no idea how much Sally’s hospital stay will cost or why it’s going to cost whatever it’s going to cost. We just get to wait for the bill to arrive. It’s a real problem in our country, and I wish things were more straightforward where that’s concerned!

  • Reply Rob April 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Yes Joanna, I too am happy to see that Sally is again doing well. I bet that trip to the hospital was no fun for her, eh? Now when your (ahem …) tardy new little one finally decides to “grace you with her presence” (lol), Johnny should have a real fun time bringing Sally again back to the scene of the crime (ie., the hospital) but this time to see her brand new widdle baby sister – right? Ah, the pleasures of parenthood! :-)

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Sally had a few meltdowns for sure, and she didn’t understand why certain things were happening. But she was such a trooper, too. It’s crazy how adaptable little ones are. We are thinking about foregoing the hospital visit with Sally when the new baby arrives for a few reasons, so they might not meet until we get home. Either way, she’s in for a big surprise when baby sister comes!

  • Reply Kelsey Yoki April 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Sending my best well wishes for little Sally – I can’t even imagine what that would feel like to have a child in the hospital! I hope you all relax a little this week and soak each other up as much as possible. And soon enough – the next little baby girl should be here!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks! That’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do. It’s actually been really nice to have these last few days as a family of three… the experience with Sally has really made us appreciate being with each other more!

  • Reply Amanda Rowan April 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Yikes, no fun. I guess there’s a silver lining to going overdue, though–at least this happened before the new little one arrived. Either way, though, it’s never fun, but I’m glad she’s home and you’re financially prepared to deal with such situations. :)

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Totally… I kept saying to Johnny, “Can you imagine if the new baby had already come?” It was hard enough without another child to worry about. At this point, being overdue is much less of our focus than it would have been. We’ll see how much longer this girl waits, though!

  • Reply Zoë April 13, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I am so glad Sally is okay, and am looking forward to hearing all about her little sister.

    I too am still struggling with some health issues, and have been recently diagnosed with a chronic condition that is notoriously hard to treat, but because I caught it early (most people take years to get diagnosed), I have a good chance of recovery, but it’s still going to be a long, hard struggle. There is only one FDA approved medication for my condition, and it doesn’t have the best success rate, primarily because the typical patient doesn’t get treated early enough, so they don’t respond well to any treatment. It is also very expensive. Even with insurance, it cost me $800 for one month. That’s more than the maximum allowed amount you can put in a HSA, and double what we contribute. Luckily, my deductible will kick in soon, and the cost will go down significantly, but we will have to start all over next year. I could be on this for years, if not forever.

    I tried everything I could to get the price lowered, but we earn too much to qualify for assistance, yet make barely enough to afford to spend that kind of money every month. My husband and I took two weeks to make the decision to fill the prescription. We had earmarked that money for other things – paying down student loans and our auto loan, followed by saving up for a house. But then again, what good is a paid-off van if I’m too ill to ride anywhere fun in it? Also, we wouldn’t hesitate to spend that money on our children if they got sick, so why are we reluctant to do that for ourselves? We decided that a healthy mommy is worth it, so I’m giving it a shot. I just need to have faith that it will work, and this illness is just a temporary blip, not a lifelong sentence.

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Zoe, I’m so sorry you are dealing with such a difficult situation right now. You guys are doing the right thing in moving forward with the prescription and making your health a priority. You are doing all you can right now, and it’s hard when you’re in the trenches and don’t know what the future brings. I’m really hoping for the best outcome with the medication and your condition. Best of luck moving forward with this!

  • Reply Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life April 14, 2015 at 7:24 am

    So happy to hear Sally is alright! Having health insurance next year is what’s on my mind. Turing 25 is really a pivotal moment not only in life but also knowing that that little lifeline your parents can give you is going out the door!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Yes, it’s a big decision! Good luck in making it! Just do some research beforehand, and you’ll make a great choice!

  • Reply jenlarson79 April 14, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Glad Sally’s feeling better – that’s no fun seeing your little one in the hospital :(
    Here’s hoping for a smooth delivery – soon!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Thanks, Jen! We’ll see when this little girl decides she’s ready to meet us!

  • Reply Melanie April 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Glad little Ms. Sally is okay-poor girl!
    I once heard the saying regarding a rainy day fund–it’s not “if” an emergency/situation is going to happen someday that needs your rainy day fund, it’s “when.”
    Just like we tend to have an umbrella on hand at home…because we know it’s going to rain at some point.
    I always liked that analogy and feel more secure knowing Im well prepared when a need arises. Im glad you guys do too!

    • Reply Joanna April 14, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Such a good perspective to have! It’s so true. It could be months or even a year in between emergencies, but at some point, unexpected expenses arise!

  • Reply Michelle April 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Sally! I am so glad that she feels better. Can’t wait to hear about the new baby.

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