When my best friend visited me from Israel in the summer of 2006, her daughter — the same age as my younger daughter, Sammi — was recovering from an ear infection. Like Sammi, my friend’s daughter had been through a lot of ear infections that year, and my friend had been traveling with a small bottle of ear infection medication just in case. When they left after a week at my house, I found the bottle had been left behind.
I panicked. I started emailing, sending messages through Yahoo Messenger, calling her temporary US cell phone. I couldn’t reach her for two days, and I imagined her in a panic, desperately searching for the bottle of medication. When I finally did get in touch with her, she was already home.
“Do you want me to ship it back to you?” I asked. “I don’t know how much express shipping to Israel is, but I know how miserable these infections can be. How is she?”
“Nah,” she said. “It’s just an antibiotic. I’ll get more if she gets another infection. You can throw it out.”
“Seriously!?” I answered. “But just the whole hassle of going and getting another prescription…do you know for sure it wouldn’t be cheaper to send it to you?”
“What? No, it’s no big deal,” she responded. “It’s just a quick visit down the street, and the meds are, like…ten shekel?”
I did the calculation to dollars — about two dollars.
“Right, but the visit to the doctor,” I pressed. “How much every time?”
“Nothing,” she answered. “Nothing, it’s free. Wait, how much does it cost you?” Continue Reading…by