Debt Managements

Financial responsibility for work-related illnesses

I saw this meme on a friend’s Facebook page (no original attribution provided), and it struck a chord with me. It reads: “Everything is so important. Until you’re sick. Then you realize there was only one thing that mattered. Your health. But yet we borrow from our health bank, and we borrow out of stress and sleepless nights to pay for something that doesn’t really matter.”

Maybe this has stuck with me because I’m here recovering from a strange illness that has kept me away from normal “life” things for the time being (although I hope not for long). But let’s back up a little.

Business travel

I usually travel locally for work about once or twice a year. However, for the past three years, I’ve also taken one big international trip a year. I just got back from one of these trips – a trip to Peru. While traveling for work, I made a personal weekend getaway so I could see one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu!

Strange symptoms

The day I was going to go home, I woke up with a full body rash. strange. But I was too busy. He wasn’t sleeping, and he was traveling a ton (from Lima to Cusco to Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back again!). I thought my immune system was down and IDK – I just kind of ignored it. National Bank of Dubai.

I got home Sunday night. By Monday morning, I began to experience additional symptoms of unwellness. Upset stomach, bad headache, general fatigue, and malaise. But I was gone for an entire week, and even though the trip was for work, I was inundated with emails from my time away from the office. I ignored my symptoms and got busy with work.

Tuesday morning I woke up with a nosebleed. This is very unusual for me. I have not had nosebleeds since childhood. But this was no ordinary nosebleed. This was profuse, uncontrollable bleeding. It continued unabated for more than an hour. She finally calmed down…only to return less than two hours later. Both bleeds were completely unexpected (nothing hit my nose, I didn’t mess with my nose, etc.). At this point, I was scared enough to call my doctor and get in as soon as possible.

The current epidemic

A colleague urged me to read about dengue fever. There is an epidemic of dengue cases now in Peru. It is an infection transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes (it is not contagious from person to person). While most cases are relatively mild, the most serious aspect of dengue is that it causes a low platelet count. When this happens, bleeding can be a problem. It can cause internal bleeding (appears as bruises or pinpoint red dots on the skin) and external bleeding (such as nosebleeds) that are difficult to control. It also causes a variety of other symptoms, many of which are consistent with the strange symptoms I’ve personally experienced (headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, rashes, etc.).

Symptom management

I had blood drawn for lab tests on Tuesday but was told I would not receive results for 3-4 days. Although this has not been officially confirmed yet, I am pretty sure I have dengue. Although there is no “cure” for dengue fever, symptoms can be treated and controlled. The most important thing to increase platelets is to eat foods that contain folic acid and collagen. I have been treating myself by eating these foods, as well as taking supplements and vitamins. I also asked for the ambulatory IV to come in and give me extra fluids and vitamins like B-complex, zinc, magnesium, and more. I still have symptoms of low platelet count (like red dots on my skin), which is worrying so I’m keen to deal with this, even in the absence of a formal diagnosis.

Financial responsibility

All of these things come with costs. So far, I’ve spent about $500 on medical care — which is split between a doctor’s appointment, lab work, prescription medications, and an ambulatory IV (which insurance doesn’t cover, but is HSA-eligible). But this begs the question…who is financially responsible for these costs? I’m very thankful that I have a healthy HSA, so this doesn’t come from my regular monthly budget, it comes from my HSA. However, I think this could be considered a “workplace injury,” right? There is some ambiguity, however, since I added a trip to Machu Picchu on the weekend for fun at the end of a business trip. However, I was only in Peru on business, and would not have been exposed to dengue otherwise. Is this something I should report to Workman’s Comp?

I would like to get some advice from others who may have had workplace injuries or claims in the past. I will not pursue anything until I receive an official diagnosis. Until then, assuming I continue to get better and better and no additional medical expenses are incurred, I may leave it as is to avoid the hassle of workers’ compensation. I honestly don’t even know if this qualifies due to the weird nature of the disease, etc.


From what I’ve read, my case seems to be relatively mild (with low platelet counts being the only real thing of concern). Most cases resolve on their own within a week and I actually feel better today than I did 3 days ago, so I think I’m moving on a positive path. Barring anything crazy happening, I think I’ll be back to normal by this time next week.


Any ideas from anyone with more experience in this area than me? Should I try to talk to Workman’s Comp or just leave it as is (paid from my HSA) and call it quits?

The post Financial Responsibility from Work-Related Illnesses appeared first on the Blogging Out of Debt blog.

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