Being Sick is Expensive

Out of all the seasons, autumn is my favourite season. With its cool crisp air and leaves of red, orange and gold it’s a beautiful season. Unfortunately it is also the start of flu season. I managed to get the flu, strep throat AND hives within the last three weeks. Thankfully, they weren’t all at the same time. However, it was one after the other. When I thought I should have been getting better, I only seemed to be getting worse.

I think the hives were most likely an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was given for the strep throat. All I can say is, thank goodness for Benadryl.  I’m not even sure which the worst one of them all was. Each health problem was bad in its own way. It has been a rough three weeks. I like to call it the trifecta of illness (Even though the hives were only a rash, the itching was absolutely unbearable the first few days).

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


While I’m almost back to being fully recovered (at least I hope I am. I don’t think I could deal with another sickness right now), I can’t help but reflect on how the last few weeks affected my finances. What can I say; I’m a personal finance geek. Even when I’m bed-ridden I’m thinking about finances.

I am lucky enough to have a job where I have accumulated a large amount of paid sick days. With the exception of this year, I don’t sick too often during the year. I still got paid my base salary, however being sick made me lose a week and a half’s worth of overtime pay. I also was in no condition to work at my second job, which is also quite physical. So I lost money (a couple hundred dollars) from that job as well.

Some of the things purchased to help me combat the flu, strep throat and hives:

  • Lozenges
  • Tissues
  • Popsicles
  • Tea
  • Orange juice
  • Antihistamines For day and night
  • Antibiotics
  • Buckley’s cough syrup (I’ve forgotten how awful tasting that stuff is)

While I haven’t actually calculated the total cost for my sick supplies, a rough estimate would probably be anywhere from $40-$50.

Being sick has cost me several hundred dollars’ worth of pay overall. I’m still fuming over it.

There were many factors contributing to me getting sick. Aside from the weather change and a bug that seemed to be going around, there was also: Not getting enough rest during the week, not being able to catch up on rest during the weekends (Due to several commitments/gatherings), being in contact with a lot of people,  working the long hours and pushing myself too much. It’s a vicious cycle I go through. I go, go, go until I’m burnt out or almost burnt out. By that point, I’m usually able to get some much needed rest and recuperate. However, last month just felt like there was absolutely no time to rest.

We all try to work as much as we can for as long we can. We want to earn and save as much money as possible. However, we also need to take the time to rest as much as we can, when the opportunity arises. I know I should practice what I preach. Being really sick finally opened my eyes and made me realize how much I take on and how much more I need to rest. You may think differently, but I think it’s ok to say no to friends. Even to family. Even to your significant other. Even if it’s quite often.

Say yes more to yourself.

I knew by working a lot more hours I was making more money. Then I ended up getting sick which ended up costing me quite a bit of money. So in the end, I didn’t really end up getting too far ahead financially.

I don’t get it when people almost always constantly sacrifice sleep/rest in order to get everything done. It’s not healthy. There’s a reason why you should try (I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Believe me, as a light sleeper, I know) to get 6-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs to recuperate. Even machines eventually breakdown over time and need scheduled maintenance.

When was the last time you were sick and how much did it cost you?

16 thoughts on “Being Sick is Expensive

    • Oh my goodness! That must have been super painful! I thought that if you had appendicitis, you had to have surgery right away to remove the appendix?? Best of luck to you with the surgery and hope you have a speedy recovery.

  1. Usually I’d say it only costs us less than $10 for some over the counter drugs when I’m sick, if I take any. The real cost when I’m sick is being a crappy mommy and not giving my little girl the attention that she deserves.

  2. My wife brokeout in hives while we were on vacation. The doctor’s visit away from home ended up being in-netork (with some investigation we found an innetwork provider before we went) so that cost nothing. When we got home, we had to go to the doctor again because the first doctor actually misdiagnosed it. That was an office call which was covered….but by then the hives had spread across her forehead close to her eye, so they wanted her to go see a specialist to ensure her eyes didn’t need special protection. THAT cost us over $200. Thud.

    • Oh wow. My hives were pretty much all over my body except neck and face. It’s crazy how quickly they can spread and how itchy they are. It’s just as bad as chicken pox. Did you end up finding out what the cause was?

  3. Yikes that’s the worst. And when I get sick I don’t even get sick time…I have to power through as a freelancer. I think it’s true though that we do take our health for granted until we don’ have it. I still need to get a flu shot, and I do try to take as best care of myself as I can, but hey, sometimes it happens. Feel better!

  4. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten seriously sick ever. I did have a cold a couple weeks ago that turned into a bad cough and it brought me down for about two weeks. I think I spent close to $40 on medicine, tissues, lozenges, etc. It adds up!

  5. Ick, being sick is the worst. I usually catch a cold/the flu about once a year but the last time I was “sick” and it really hurt my wallet was when I sprained my ankle rock climbing. I easily paid $500-$1k on doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.

    • Physiotherapy can get expensive. Although my employer does cover a certain amount, the amount of treatment I needed for my shoulder injury ending up costing a good chunk of money out of pocket.

  6. The last time I was sick was last December. My then 1.5 year old grand daughter had a little cold and gave me a kiss Christmas day. I ended up with a cold that had a deep cough that lasted 4 months. You know the kind where you start coughing and can’t catch your breath so get light headed. Oh ya, good times. I can’t add up the cost of all the Halls cough drops I consumed.

  7. I tend to get sick around the holidays too. You tend to come into close contact with a lot of people who are already sick or getting over being sick.

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