Ambulance Fees

I walked into my father’s study room today, looking for a stamp to send off some mail. I didn’t find one. Instead, I found a bill. A bill addressed to me, that my father had intercepted. What caught my attention on this bill was the big red title ‘Ambulance fee’ on the top of the letter. This fee is from about a month ago when a couple of friends called an ambulance on me after they found out about my OD.

I was shocked when I saw how much the bill actually was. The paramedics came to my house and talked to me for about 5 minutes. Just for that, it was $738 AUD. Not sure how much that is in your currency? Fine. Let me convert it for you. That’s $680 USD. Or £445 if you live in the UK. In short, a LOT of money.

During the first few days after the ambulance came, I was worried about the fees that it would bring. I then thought, or rather hoped, that because I wasn’t transferred anywhere, I wouldn’t get charged. How wrong I was.

If you have private health insurance, coverage can be provided for ambulance services. Problem is that we don’t have private health insurance and Medicare does not cover the costs of ambulance services.

My father had written on this bill, ‘Paid 2/5/2010.’ It seems that my parents had paid it off, without saying anything about it to me, or even letting me know that this bill had arrived. At the same time I’m attending my GP appointments and paying for it myself, without my parents knowing. Funny how we never speak about it, never confront eachother about it, we all just skirt around the issue, without acknowleging it exists.

When I first saw the bill of $738 for the ambulace my thoughts immediately turned to self harm and wanting to hurt myself, which ironically is what led to the ambulance being called in the first place. I just feel terribly, terribly guilty. I am such a burden on my parents and I’m sure that they must be thinking the same thing. They’d be better off if I simply did not exist. Then they wouldn’t be having to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on the slight possiblility that I might get better. My father has already complained in the past about the money spent on my therapy. I had eleven sessions last year at a cost of $50 per hour session. $550 spent altogether last year. That’s less than what was spent on an ambulance that was here for about five minutes. And this is just the beginning of it. I haven’t even had my first appointment with the psychiatrist yet, that’ll be another $120. Gone. And if I get referred into a psychologist for therapy again, that’ll be even more money that gets spent.

I’m sorry I’m such a useless failure and burden of a child. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

5 thoughts on “Ambulance Fees

  1. It must be awful to have found this bill. I am so glad that I live in queensland, as ambulance fees are included in our electricity bills. I don’t know why it is done this way here but it’s good because it is a small amount each time, something like $20 and you don’t notice it. Have you thought of seeing a psychologist at a university if you need to see one? I am doing just that and it turns out that it is only $40 a session and they are pretty well ready to go out into their own practises. I see Cecily at a uni and it’s great because she has a person that overlooks all the psychologist interns that has so much experience in the field. I have never found Cecily to be anything other than amazing, even when I had thoughts of ‘running away’. She has always proven to me again and again, just how good she is. Try not to feel bad about the money spent on getting better. I know this is easy for me to say but I do understand it. Right now I have no job and are completely dependent on Andy and it does feel bad. I just know that I would do the same for him, if the situations were reversed.

  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’m sure they would rather you got the help you need. It’s so easy to see the negatives about every situation. I guess i am very lucky that in the UK all my treatment has been free. It has made me think what i would have done had it not been. I have a lot of support at the moment and there is no way i could afford to pay for any of it. In fact i couldn’t afford to pay for it. They must love you and i am sure they don’t think you are a useless failure and burden. Good luck with the psychiatrist.
    Take care thinking of you and congratulations on your mention in TWIM. xx

  3. This is shocking – in the UK you wouldn’t pay anything because we have the NHS, and it really saddens me the amounts people elsewhere in the world have to pay just for even the most basic of health services. Please do not see yourself as a burden. Mental health problems are just as valid as any other kind of illness, and you are not useless or a failure. Being ill doesn’t make you either of these things.

    Sarah x

  4. Oh, my you are quite hard on yourself. You are worth it. It is an investment in you. I finally got that emotionally last year…our medical expenses for therapy, psychiatrist, hospitalization and treatment and specialists for pneumonia totalled $67,000 which most were put on charge cards. I kept apologizing to my husband and taking about it with my therapist. Both kept telling me that I was worth it. However, my feelings didn’t match what they said…but, I’m beginning to believe it.

    Be good to yourself,


  5. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve cost way way way more than that! :)Mostly just on therapy and not on ambulance rides though.
    There are times in our lives when we’re not as productive and can’t really carry our weight. It’s just a reality for most everyone, especially for those of us with mental health issues. I’m sure you wouldn’t say to someone in a wheelchair that they should go kill themselves because they’re not putting out financially in life. You’d probably tell them they were a loved and deserving part of society. Be as kind to yourself!
    I know it feels like the way life is right now, or even over the past few years, is how it’s always going to be, but it isn’t. You’ll grow and your brain will change and some of the symptoms your struggling with right probably won’t bother you 5 years from now. I know it’s hard to imagine though.
    Honestly, there’s not a human out there that isn’t worth every penny. Okay, maybe not the serial killers or child molesters.

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