All I wanted was get to our daughter’s Christmas concert.
Having come down with what I coined, “The Grinch Virus,” (since Christmas was still going to come, even “without packages, boxes and bows” because I certainly wasn’t getting them) I was struggling to do much of anything. So I went to the medicine cabinet and took what I thought was an appropriate dose of 12 hour cough syrup.
I measured wrong.
I started to feel really, really strange. So naturally I contacted Dr. Google. (Isn’t it comforting when Google finishes your query? Because then you know you’re not the first person to wonder “What if I took too much cough syrup?”)
Poison control told me to call 911 and then go to the emergency room by ambulance. So I called. First the firemen came (who were so very nice, one even suggested that I should, “Try to not feel so embarrassed” I brought them cookies the following week) and then the paramedics came who, curiously, asked me what I wanted to do.
Uh, what? “What do you mean?”
“Do you want to go to the ER?”
“Uh, I guess so.”
They checked my vitals and, while my blood pressure was high (ya think?) and that I told them that it felt like someone put dry ice on my brain, they weren’t overly concerned about me (I guess you don’t want to be the one they’re really concerned about).
But I wish I knew that before I took the $1102.94 ambulance ride and before I sat in the ER for four hours staring out of the window until they once again checked my vitals, performed neurology tests (which thankfully were fine) and basically treated me like a bored housewife tripping on cough syrup.
So why, you may ask, am I writing this in a financial blog?
Because I took that ambulance ride out of ignorance and pride; the two things that ruin financial lives.
I didn’t want to call my in-laws and endure the Q&A session.
I know several people who would’ve brought me to the ER but I didn’t want to interrupt their already too-busy lives…and admit to my mistake.
I had no idea how much an ambulance ride cost (or how much may be covered by insurance).
I’m very obedient. They told me to go by ambulance.
No one told me anything about my options or choices.
And I wasn’t exactly clear-headed because of the cough syrup.
So all I had to go on was emotion.
I was embarrassed. I was scared because of that dry-ice-on-my-brain sensation. I was worried about the cost and what insurance may cover (because with medical care, you may not know how much you’re going to have to pay for a visit or treatment unless it’s a co-pay situation). I didn’t know what I should do. I was confused. Did I mention that I was embarrassed?
You don’t want to be the weirdo who comparison shops ambulance rides.
That’s the problem with most of our financial troubles: We may not know enough about money to make a sound, prudent, “good” decision (whatever that may look like) and so we use whatever tool we have, and that’s usually our feelings – which are great resources for deciding on friendships but are ill-equipped to make financial decisions because feelings are all about how I feel RIGHT NOW and not so much about the consequences any time after right now.
If I feel like celebrating I may splurge and spend outside of my budget.
If I feel depressed or discouraged I may spend outside of my budget.
If I feel angry I may go shopping to escape having to deal with my anger and the relationship.
If I feel lonely I may go shopping to be around other people.
If I feel ugly I may go shopping to buy something that makes me feel pretty.
Feelings drive way too many of our financial choices. And they are terribly fleeting. That’s why I focus on helping people feel a sense of peace and abundance, of hope and faith. This palette of feelings produce resourcefulness and can stabilize a person…and their financial situation.
But if embarrassment enters the financial feelings picture, it’s even more difficult to seek help. If you can learn to love and forgive with yourself when you make mistakes with money, you can permit yourself to get the help you need. But first you have to be honest with yourself and strive to understand why you made the decision(s) you did, so the next time those circumstances present themselves, you will be equipped with different choices. You will have some hindsight in your tool-belt.
I never made the concert.
My Mother used to say, “Education costs money.” As always, she was right.
Photos courtesy of ClipArt