A 60-year-old who dreamed of exploring Europe suffered a detached retina just three days after arriving in the UK, forcing her to spend almost $20,000 on her month-long recovery.
“I felt like I was curling up in a corner […]. It’s a real nightmare,” Micheline Vidal told the Journal, contacted in London, where she is still staying.
On August 31, the 69-year-old woman from Quebec entered the United Kingdom for the first time, accompanied by a group of other Hydro-Québec retirees. But things came to a head just three days after her arrival when she woke up with a halo in her eye.
Micheline Vidal and her travel companion Gaëtan Veilleux during the first days of their trip to the United Kingdom. Photo provided by Mariève Bédard
“I’ve had detached retinas before, so I knew what was happening to me. But the last one was in 2011. It really came out of nowhere,” says Ms. Vidal, describing the rush that followed to carry out an emergency operation in a country completely unknown to her.
The next afternoon she finally went under the knife. Too late to save her macula, but at least she wouldn’t go completely blind in her right eye.
17,000 $ for accommodation
Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of Ms. Vidal’s ordeal, who learned that due to the gas used to reattach the retina, she would not be able to fly back to Quebec until a month later.
Micheline Vidal had to lie on her left side for almost 24 hours a day for five days in a row so that her retina could reconnect properly after surgery. Photo provided by Mariève Bédard
“My insurance reimbursed me for the surgery, but since I wasn’t in the hospital for more than 24 hours, they only gave me $1,500 to survive the rest. “That’s barely enough for four nights in a hotel here…” complains the sixty-year-old, who is trying to earn an extra $2,000 with her credit card insurance.
She tried to find affordable accommodation through the VRBO and Airbnb platforms, but twice came across unsanitary apartments that did not match the images posted on the platforms.
Some of the accommodation found by Ms. Vidal and her family was completely unsanitary. Photo provided by Mariève Bédard
His accommodation will cost him about $17,000 until October 6, when he leaves. That doesn’t include the money she’ll have to pay for food and transportation, as well as the $10,000 she spent on her first trip that she’ll try to get reimbursed.
light at the end of the tunnel
This trip was initially intended to represent a kind of “light at the end of the tunnel” for Ms. Vidal. After battling breast cancer, separating from her partner and losing two sisters, she finally planned to enjoy life.
In fact, she planned to discover Europe country by country over the next few years with her travel companion Gaëtan Veilleux.
Ms. Vidal’s nieces, Marie-France Jobin and Valérie Trudel, traveled to London to help her for a few days. Photo provided by Mariève Bédard
“I experienced the horror […]. It ended my desire to travel abroad. “I never want to put my family through this again,” complains the woman, who counted on her niece and children for support on this journey that turned into a nightmare.
Micheline Vidal’s relatives have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her reimburse the costs of her forced stay in the UK.
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