len's masthead




londoner editor pic





My friends keep asking me if I am going to take a winter vacation. My answer is no thanks. I have very strong bad memories of my last trip to Florida in 2008. My wife, Ella, had complained about the cold blustery winter and yearned for a trip South to take in a little sun and relaxation.

As fate would have it a friend, Joe, who is a member of the Ontario Provincial Legislature was taking a month long vacation in Florida. He brags that he has the best job that he has never had. Joe has absolutely no worry of putting in a full work week at the constituency office in his riding. Sure, he has to attend caucus meetings and be in the legislature when there is an occasional crucial vote.

Ella and I decided to avoid the drive to Toronto to take an Air Canada flight from London to Pearson Airport. We had to wait four hours for a connecting flight to Cape Coral. We wedged ourselves into our seats for the three hour journey with nary a glass of water to quench our thirst. Never mind the discomfort: we thought the two weeks in the sun would make up for all of our troubles.

Joe met us at the Arrivals and took us to the car rental pavilion. We patiently waited in line for two hours in the plus 30 degrees of heat to rent a subcompact car. Ella and I followed him to our destination; a very small two bedroom bungalow in the middle of a subdivision. Strange sight to contemplate: abandoned homes with foreclosure sales signs with the residents contents strewn across the driveway.

No matter, we had arrived in a balmy warm evening for a little rest and relaxation, I fell asleep around midnight and the next thing I remember I was on the bathroom floor with three firemen tending to me. I had passed out.

The EMS people assured me that I had not had a heart attack, All of my vital signs were ok. I was dehydrated. They started and I.V and transported Ella and I to the hospital to be checked over.

We were met by the hospital triage female nurse and the business accountant. He took Ella into his office and called Mondial Assistance to guarantee payment of my hospital expenses. The attending physician, checked me out; ordered a CAT Scan to rule out a concussion. He recommended that I stay for the day to see a Cardiologist. I told him that I concurred with the diagnosis of the ambulance crew that I had been dehydrated and signed myself out.

So you want to know the cost of a trip to the hospital in Florida? The ambulance tab rang in at $527. Dr H. charged up $941.00. The hospital bill came to $2,860 for a two hour stay. Tally up some blood tests and other lab work and the total cost came to $4,965.00 all in U. S. currency.

We flew home two days later to London to a beautiful cold wintery day.

I want to thank the good work of the Mondial Associates who were there for me when I was in need. They took care of the worry of the paper work and hospital expenses while we were away in Florida.

This winter we will stay close to home to enjoy our and family and friends. No more ‘fun in the sun’ for me . I promise never ever to complain about our universal health care system or the occasional winter snow storm.

If you are planning on a trip to the United States please make sure that you have ample health insurance to protect against sudden medical emergencies.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com