I have had a mild acne problem for over a two years now – a couple of cystic acne always showed up on my cheeks every now and then. Thinking of it as a sign of stress and my lack of skin care, I started spending time, money and energy on skincare. It won’t be an exaggeration when I say that I spent a small fortune on skincare in last one year. However, it wasn’t until last month when I had my cheeks, chin and forehead all covered in sudden outburst of acne that I thought something to be seriously wrong with me. I panicked. I went to dermatologist who recommended me to go to OB/GYN. The OB/GYN asked me to do a battery of tests. After two months of recurring acne, two weeks of doctors visits, bunch of tests, panic, stress and another small fortune spent on consultation, tests and medication, I realised few things…….
Emergency Fund is non-negotiable: Between dermatologists, OB/GYN, consultation fees, tests, and all the medication, I spent a five-figure amount in last two weeks. This is not counting the money I spend on my routine skin care. When the acne problem aggravated, I was mentally prepared to have to spend on some medication and consultation fees. I even earmarked some money aside for it in my monthly expenses. But I was not ready for all the tests I had to go through. I had to take a couple of half-day leaves at work to be able to complete all the tests. Mentally I was swinging between panic and stress in anticipation of my test results. But that was all the stress.
This was the first time since I started my building my Emergency Fund that the Fund actually came to my rescue in an emotionally tangible way. I had zero stress about having to face an unexpected cost. Yes, it did hurt to shell out the money, but it did not really bother me. I did all the tests as soon as the doctor recommended them, and went for the second consultation as soon as the test results came. Not once did the unexpected cost or the bills worry me. Nor did I had to look at anyone to help me out of this situation. I could keep the whole thing as personal as I wanted and cope the way I wanted, since I had no obligation to share it with anyone. It was a very liberating feeling knowing I have some grip on my life, and I am prepared for any unexpected situation. I always believed having Emergency Fund is the one of the best thing one can do for oneself, but now I know for sure.
Healthcare should be your biggest investment: Looking back at the whole situation, I wish I had made preventive healthcare a lifestyle choice and visited doctor earlier. I really wish I had taken my health more seriously. We all know health is paramount, yet we do not practice it that well in our day-to-day lives. We are too busy making plans, paying bills, and being grouchy about everything that we forget that it all boils down to having good health to be able to do anything. We love being busy. We love being stressed. But we don’t love it when we are forced to take a downtime and pay doctor’s bills. Good health, both physical and mental must be preventive – to make such choices in everyday life that you stay as healthy as possible. That involves exercise, proper diet, regular visits to doctors and living a life of minimal stress. And as far as finances go, and if one has to pay a price, it’s better to pay to stay healthy.
Money is not everything. But good health is everything: Like I said, the biggest stress and panic I felt was not knowing what is wrong with me, and then waiting to hear that something is wrong is with me. Up until all my test results came normal, I had only one thought – there is nothing in the world that can replace my health. Nothing. No amount of money or emergency fund would have helped had there been some serious setback in my health. A small acne problem triggered something deeper in me and has shifted my mentality completely. I am now making healthcare of my loved ones and me a priority, and will be slowly and steadily making choices towards a holistic, healthy lifestyle.
I count myself lucky that I had no serious condition, and I came out of the whole experience slightly wiser and healthier. Besides some medication for a few months, and making changes in my diet and routine, I have nothing to worry about. I thank my stars to be able to afford good healthcare, make my own choices about my health and not have to expose my family to any stress. I am fully aware of all my privileges and do not wish to take any of it for granted.