Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So I can be not dead

We drove up to Sarasota this morning so I could go to the Passport Health travel clinic there for my consultation regarding vaccines. Mom and dad dropped me off, and I went in armed with my notebook filled with questions and points I wanted to make sure we'd discuss during the appointment.

For starters - the RN was very impressed with my preparedness. She said she rarely has someone come in who has done as much research as I've already done. She was also very impressed with the thoroughness of my questions and the planning I have done so far. :)

Ok... on to the vaccines. I am going to do as many as I can down here, since it's going to be cheaper than getting them done up in Boston (Mt Auburn wouldn't tell me the cost of the vaccines, but they charge just to give the shots on top of the cost of the vaccine itself. This place doesn't do that.) What health insurance I have isn't going to cover them, so I have worked out the best way to get the shots I need at the lowest prices.

Hep B - I've already begun my Hep B series. Got my first shot at a free clinic in Boston on February 1. Even though she recommends I follow the guidelines for when I should get the rest of my shots, she is okay if I go ahead and wait til I come back to Boston in June and get the second shot at the free clinic again, as long as I *do* make sure I get the third shot while I am in India and then the fourth shot next year. In other words, as long as I complete the series. So I am set there.

Hep A - We're going to do an accelerated schedule with these, since I don't have a full 6 months between now and June. So I will get the first shot soon (likely next week or the week after) and then she's going to do an IG shot w/ a Hep A booster right before I leave here for Boston. This one in particular is going to cost me a pretty penny. Frustrating.

Tetanus/Diptheria/Acellular Pertussis (aka Tdap) - This one is one of the cheaper vaccines, and it's a simple one where I will only need a booster every five years after the initial vaccine.

Meningitis - Expensive! I had to get this vaccine back before my freshman year of college, but I need it again now. Argh. But it looks like with the Menactra I will only need a booster every five years from now on. I just need to stay up to date with it.

Polio - I got the polio vaccine as a kid ... I think everybody did. But a single booster is recommended if the primary series was completed ten or more years ago. Particularly since polio is still around where I will be traveling. This is the cheapest of all the vaccines I will be getting.

Typhoid - I have two options here. The shot, which is a single dose and lasts for 2 years. Or the oral vaccine (four doses, taken every other day) that lasts for 5 years. When I asked about the cost I think she said they were the same, but that makes no sense to me as the first is 1 dose but the second would be four doses. If so, I can't afford the oral vaccine right now and will go with the shot and then just remember to get a new one every couple of years. But if they ARE the same, then dude, I have no problem keeping live Typhoid in the fridge for a few days!

Yellow Fever - Yep, this one is also rather spendy. But it lasts 10 years and I am going to be doing a ton of traveling. Might as well get it done now.

Malaria - We didn't have time to cover the pills, so I don't know how much this one will cost me.

Rabies - This one we had a long talk about. It's insanely expensive here in the States, and I came up with a plan to get it done in Delhi. I ran my plan by the RN, and she is totally on board. So what I will do is make all three appointments at the travel clinic in Delhi before I even leave Florida. Get my first appointment my first day or two in India, then just arrange my trip so I can keep returning to Delhi for my second and third shots.

Japanese Encephalitis - This is another of the OMFG expensive vaccines, and another that I will be getting done in India. I'll arrange to get the first shot done with my first Rabies shot, and the second done along with my third Rabies shot.

Flu - Will get another flu shot right before I leave.

Allergies - RN is going to write me prescription for epi-pens. I'm out and hadn't had a chance to get more, so this will make everyone I know feel better. :)

All in all I will be spending at least $850 on vaccines before I even get to India. The two there will probably run me another $100 or so (vs the well over $1000 they'd cost me if I got them here). This makes me die a little inside, because I am on such a tight budget and I wish to god I could relax more about spending this much on the vaccines. But my parents reminded me that prevention costs less than treatment. They make an excellent point. Still doesn't help the piece of me dying at the cost of all of this, though. :(

I've also got to sign up for the travel insurance I have been looking at. My friend Leon recommended something that I have looked into and it seems to be exactly what I am looking for, and at better prices than some of the other companies. That covers emergencies plus evacuation if necessary.

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