Two weeks ago I was in a hostel called Sky Lounge in Mostar, Bosnia. I picked the hostel because I had friends working there, and even though they sent me a couple weird messages that sounded like warnings I chose to go anyway.
When I arrived I found out why.
Not only was the hostel really dirty, but one of the walls of my dorm was covered in mould. And not just a little bit, but a big, black patch.
Figuring it wouldn’t be a big issue, since I would only be in the room for a few hours during the night sleeping, I stayed. After all the hostel was in a good location with cool people, and at 7 euro a night I couldn’t complain about the price either. What was a few hours over the course of three nights?
Turns out, it’s enough to do some serious damage.
I developed a cough after the first night of sleeping in the mouldy room. To be honest I thought I had a cold; I had travelled with a sick girl a few days before and figured she passed her cold onto me. However despite taking cold medications for a week, I wasn’t better. I was worse.
Step two was to take my asthma inhalers. I felt like I had a huge weight on my chest and was struggling to get air, especially at night. The wet cough didn’t make sense to me but it was worth a shot. Two days of a steady routine on my inhalers and I still wasn’t better. There was no doubt that something was wrong.
Thankfully, this realization coincided with my weeklong stay with my friends in Ireland. My friend picked me up in Dublin and upon hearing my cough insisted I visit the doctor the next day. I agreed and called my health insurance the night before to see what to do, only to get worse news.
Turns out my visa avion card only covered me for 15 days, not the 30 days my bank representative told me before I left. And although I had purchased additional coverage, it wasn’t set to start until the first 30 days were up which was still four days away.
So here I was; clearly very sick with zero medical coverage.
Not a good situation to be in.
Upon discussing with my friends I found out that a visit to the doctor in Ireland is 50 euro. Not horrendous but since health care in Canada is free, not exactly a fee I wanted to pay either. But it came down to 50 euro or getting worse, so I decided to go in.
It’s a good thing I did.
After a check up and a few breathing tests the doctor concluded that I have a lung infection. A lung infection severe enough that I needs to take 9 pills a day (another 22 euro) and was told if I was still having issues in a day or two, I need to get a chest x-ray at the hospital.
With my friend’s wedding on Friday and a plane ticket booked to Romania for Monday, that’s not the news I wanted to hear.
So here I am, three days into my handful of pills routine, waiting for my new insurance to kick in tomorrow. Although I do feel better, I’m still not great so I will likely go to the hospital and see about that x-ray. I just hope I’m well enough to dance my way late into the night on Friday, and be on the road again on Monday.
Cross your fingers for me and learn from my story: Get travel insurance and stick with a single, trust provider (I’m now a big advocate for World Nomads),an don’t stay in a mouldy hostel!
**update: I never received the x-ray bill from the Irish hospital.