We’d been planning a trip to Anguilla in the Caribbean for ten months this year. By October, I was ready, as I’d been burning candles at both ends.

Our first connection from London to Paris started well enough, but as we flew over the Atlantic to St Martin, I started coughing, and with each passing hour, it worsened.

By the time we landed, and as we waited in immigration, I was coughing so much I was fearful they would turn us back. Twelve months earlier, I’m sure that would have been the case even though we were vaccinated.

We took a ferry from St Martin to Anguilla and by the time we arrived at the villa all I wanted was to get into bed

Sadly, the first five days of my holiday I spent in bed, and by day three, my wife was so worried that she said, “I don’t care what you say, I’m calling the ambulance.” They came, checked my vitals and left after I refused to go to the hospital.

I was fearful as I’d heard so many stories of going to hospitals in the Caribbean that I was afraid I would go in and get worse, but the irony was I was not getting better.

My brother recommended a private health centre. Their fee was $100.00 to see the Doctor—my first experience with private medical care.

A couple of x-rays, blood tests etc., later, the Doctor said I had bronchitis. More rest. Each day dwindled by as I could see the days of my holiday slowly evaporating.

The Doctor called on Saturday with my test results and to confirm if I could fly home the following Monday; I thought this private health care was not so bad, all of this special treatment for $100, but a reality check was on its way. The bill was $678 for that visit. We had insurance but did not use it at the time.

In that instance, I instantly realised how fortunate we are with the NHS in the UK – even with our queues and long waiting lists.

In the Caribbean and particularly in the US, Healthcare is notoriously expensive, and in a Harvard study in 2005 and 2009, with Elizabeth Warren, 62.1% of all bankruptcies were caused by medical bills.

I doubt I would have received my results so quickly, but I am thankful that I don’t have to pay my medical bills at the cost of everyday living expenses which has to be a serious dilemma.

Hopefully, it’s the first and last time I will spend my holiday in bed, the only consolation being the sun beaming through the window every morning and hearing the intermittent rain.

Thankfully I am back at full pelt but conscious of how uncertain life can be.