The Most Expensive Day I’ve Ever Had

Over the Christmas break, I had a bit of an epic day. I have never incurred so many expenses in one day in all my life. Let’s start at 7:00AM.

7:00 A.M.

At 7 A.M. the morning after we flew in from Grenada, the hubs went to the dentist to get 3 cavities filled. I knew this expense was coming, and so I had already pre-saved the money. Still, swiping the card for $565.00 stung a bit; however, I was happily tweeting in the waiting room and didn’t really feel concerned by it.

As I was sitting there, my dentist on the other side of town had a cancellation. So, we drove over there, and I got my own teeth cleaned.

10:30 A.M.

My teeth cleaning fee was $250.00. My parents generously offer to have the bill sent to them to help us out, and I’m feeling pretty grateful.

11:15 A.M.

I leave the dentist and get into my car, except there’s one problem. The car won’t start.

We try, try, and try again, and the stupid thing just won’t go. We call my brother-in-law to bring over jumper cables to no avail. It just simply won’t start.

Still calm as a cucumber and determined to have nothing ruin my first day of being back in the States, I ask my brother-in-law to drop us off at a car rental place so that we can continue to do errands and call a tow truck.

We sign up for a rental car for $40/day (which ended up being $305 after we kept extending it.) I am okay with this. I am happy to be home.

12:15 P.M.

I’m starving by this point, but I’m still in good spirits. Because we had just spent an ungodly amount of money, we stop into a fast food place for lunch.

Then, our day got really exciting. (I know, as if writing about two dentist appointments was not riveting enough so far.)

We head into the restaurant, I sit down at our table, and out of nowhere, I am overcome with an excruciating pain.

It’s like someone has taken a knife and stabbed me in the chest, and all of a sudden, it’s really hard to breathe. I tell the hubs, and he in his med-student-official-way encourages me to kind of put my arms in the air so I can get a deeper breath.

By this point, I’m getting tears in my eyes from the pain and looking a bit stupid with my arms waving in the air in the middle of the restaurant.

The hubs thinks I’m stressed about the amount of money we spent that morning, so he’s giving me all these calming words about how we’re going to be fine and how we’ve saved up a lot of money. And I keep insisting to him that I’m not stressed. I’m hurting. After a minute or two, the pain travels down to my left elbow and left pinky and is unbearable. In my mind, I think this is really weird, and I just bluntly say that I have to leave the restaurant immediately unless he wants me to cry in front of all these people.

Into the rental car we go, and I’m freaking out the hubs by crying so much so he drives me to the ER. The fact that I have chest pains gets me through quickly. After an EKG, blood work, and a CT scan, they find a tiny hole in my lung and an air bubble, which is what caused all that pain (spontaneous pneumothorax.) We learn that this is apparently very rare and very weird for a healthy non-smoking normal-weight 25 year old female.

5:15 P.M.

By this time, I have a diagnosis, medicine, and can finally leave the E.R. I don’t even want to know what that ER bill is going to be, especially because it led to 6 other doctors appointments and another CT scan to clear me to fly back to Grenada. So, I wish I could give you a grand total of what that day cost, but I won’t really know for a little bit.

Honestly, I am feeling much better, but it was a truly bizarre day.

(By the way, there was nothing wrong with my car. We paid for a tow truck. It arrived at the shop and started right up. Of course, they were closed for the holidays, hence having to have the rental car for a few extra days.)

I’m pretty blessed that we were prepared for a financial blow like that day and even more blessed that the condition wasn’t more serious. The bubbles can get pretty big in people, and mine was ever so tiny, and it went away on its own. It’s weird but lucky, and I’m feeling just fine.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What’s the most expensive day you’ve ever had?

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford aka "Cat" is a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. To learn more about her writing services, please visit her Hire Me page or e-mail her at Cat[at]BudgetBlonde[dot]com. Follow her on Google + to get all the latest updates.

Lovely comments:

  1. All I can say is holy crap. I can’t even think of my most expensive day, but probably when I purchased my fixer upper vehicle and after I ripped it apart I realized how much it was going to cost to put it back together. This was on the same day as I got it, so I think I went through $2,000 that day. I hope you are feeling better Cat and lucky that they found the issue.

  2. Oh dear – I’m so glad that you’re okay!

    We’ve had two pretty expensive days that I can remember – the first was when I was rear-ended on the way to work. Luckily insurance has covered most of the bills for that, though we’re still in the settlement process for all the long term bills. (What do you guys have in terms of health insurance while you’re living abroad?)

    The other expensive day was when our renter called us up and told us the AC was out in his unit. Oh yeah, and by the way – his washer had stopped working a couple weeks before. (I guess college boys can go a while without feeling the urgency to wash their clothes!) So it was about a $4000 day where that unit got a brand new AC unit and washer. =)

    • Oh man! Both of those days sounds just awful/expensive. I hope you get the settlement worked out soon. As far as health insurance, I am still on my parents until May (lucky me) and the hubs purchased his own. We will both probably move to the school’s health insurance after mine is up.

  3. OH my gosh! I would have felt the same way in the restaurant. That is totally scary. Of course I’m glad you’re OK, but ouch with the $. It seems all that stuff happens at once doesn’t it? I’m not sure I remember what mine is. I know when I had to swipe the card last June when I had a root canal I’m not sure which hurt worse, my tooth or my wallet.

    • It totally does happen at once. My dad calls it the gremlins – haha. No idea why, but when things happen in 3s and 4s and 5s he says the gremlins are after him! Root canals sound just awful and man, dental work is expensive! The hubs is in the wrong field, for sure.

  4. Omigosh, I’m glad you’re all right! That totally was not where I was expecting that post to go, but good thing you were out with someone else who could get you to the ER. Take care of yourself; and never mind the $$, an investment in your health is ALWAYS worthwhile!

    • Agreed. I’m really glad the hubs was with me, and I’m also really glad I was in the US about 5 minutes away from the ER.

  5. OMG!!! What a scary way to begin your holidays! All of your symptoms sounded like a heart attack.

    Very happy to hear that you are and will be okay. Does the tiny hole in your lung heal up on its own?

    • I know. That’s why I went to the ER, because the symptoms were so close to a heart attack or stroke w/ the tingling left arm. Thanks for the well wishes. The hole does heal up by itself. There are some other weak spots that can turn into holes, but they just have to be monitored.

  6. I actually said “Oh my gosh!” out loud upon reading the diagnosis. So glad you are okay… and how totally scary!

  7. Oh my goodness, Cat! I had not heard about this! I am so so so glad you are alright! Sending you lots of love and hoping that you stay happy and healthy! ::hugs:: Also, Merry Belated Christmas, and Happy New Year!

    • Thanks, Miss Abigail. We didn’t post about it or fb or anything, and I hesitated sharing on here, but it made for a decent money story!

  8. Holy. Crap. that’s really all I can say. That, and I’m glad you are ok!!

  9. Wow mate that is a bit scary. Never mind the bills your health is most important. I’m happy we have benefits that cover our meds, dentist, massage etc etc and that we have OHIP coverage for the hospital and don’t get bills like you have to. The costs just blow my mind and I really do hope that it all works out for you. Having a car go clunk always seems to happen when you don’t need it to happen. I’m glad you are ok… keep smiling. MR.CBB

    • Thanks Mr. CBB! Yes, the Canadian health benefits definitely have their pros. I think we’ll be okay. Luckily I have excellent health insurance, at least until I turn 26 in a few months.

  10. Wow! Was America mad at you for leaving or what? Haha glad you’re ok though.

  11. Oh, my gosh that’s a day from hell. I really hope things are okay with the lung…will it resolve itself or is there perpetual care involved?

    And of course the car started for the mechanic. That’s the way my cars tend to treat me, too.

    • I know, right? Small ones like the ones I had resolve themselves. Bigger ones require a chest tube to re-inflate the lung. No perpetual care involved – I just have to be aware of it, and I can’t scuba dive anymore. Sad times!

  12. Hi, I’m a fairly new reader, so sorry to hear you haven’t been well! Did they give you any idea why it happened when it did? Exercise, or something to do with your dental treatment or anything? You must be on tenterhooks wondering if / when it will happen again. Anyway, I’m so glad to hear all is ok. That was an expensive day though, ouch. I suppose I’d have to say purchasing our house… not just the actual cost of buying it but all the lawyers fees etc.

    • We definitely thought about the dentist. It was a regular cleaning, but they tilted me back and a bubble could have formed from that. It could have happened on the plane ride to the States. Really, the only thing we know is that it was spontaneous. They can come from trauma or smoking or something like that, but this one just arrived on its own. I am a little hesitant about it happening again, but at least now I know what it is and exactly how it feels and I’ll know what to do!

  13. Oh my gosh! That is so scary! I’m glad you’re feeling better! And how annoying that the car was totally fine!

    The day that should have been my most expensive day was probably when my car’s timing tensioner failed on the way home from college. The type of engine that my car has (an interference engine) means that the whole thing was trashed, and my car should have been totaled. Fortunately my car had an extended warranty, and my then-boyfriend (now husband) was able to convince the warranty company to replace the long block on the engine. I can’t remember how much it was, but certainly less than the price of a new car.

    Other expensive days include buying our house (a planned expense, but still), buying a new Mac (again, planned expense), having a tree randomly drop a limb on my car & shatter the passenger window, and having that same tree removed because it was endangering the house. Usually our unforeseen expenses happen in chunks, close enough together that we aren’t able to build our savings back up. Even more inspiration for building our savings and reducing our debts. i suppose.

  14. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I can’t think of an expensive day that I’ve had where it wasn’t planned or known at least a little bit before hand. The day my car was smashed was expensive, however there weren’t any costs at the time at all. My friend who had it even managed to catch a lift with a friend of a friend’s parent back home (hours and hours away!). We chose to replace it with a new car, so the expensive part was our own decision.

    Glad to hear that everything worked out in the end, though that must have been really scary at the time!

  15. Hi Cat! This is Christine, formerly of Merf In Progress, now of Mindful Juggling :)

    I haven’t blogged in a long time but am getting back into it, and I was just reunited with you via Pinterest. Isn’t social media wonderful? Your story makes me so sad because I know how thrifty you are. But spending money sometimes just has to be done, and there’s no cheaper way to do some things. Trips to the ER are scary, and yours sounds particularly so. I had something similar happen once, and it was pleurisy, and I thought I was having a heart attack. at 25 years old, you know that shouldn’t be true, but it’s hard to explain away sudden severe pain. Glad you’re well!!!

    • Hi Christine! Yes, pleurisy is what I had as a result of the hole, so you know exactly what I’m talking about. So nice to hear from you!

  16. That sounds not only expensive, but SO scary. I’m glad that you’re OK and hope the bills aren’t too bad. Most most expensive day was probably also when I had an emergency ER visit. I was a student at the time and my insurance didn’t pick up everything ugg.

  17. That’s crazy! I hope that was the end of that medical fiasco!

  18. Oh, wow. Sorry to hear about all those happening in one day. That is rough. Our wedding day was the most expensive day of our lives so far :)

  19. Glad you’re ok! Do they have you doing anything specific to stop it from happening again? So weird!

    • Thanks! No, they just said to take it easy and that I can’t dive anymore or go in tiny planes. It’s not like I was going to go skydiving anytime soon, but it’s a bummer to be told I *can’t* do something!

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