Ever since I got my first Medicare card as a temporary citizen of Australia, I’ve been gratefully enjoying participating in a universal health care system. I’ve had two babies here and apart from a few hundred dollars we paid for some extra reassuring scans, I’ haven’t paid a cent. No one has even asked me for any credit card details and once my Medicare number was on file, I wasn’t even asked for that again. I just come and go out of the system as I please receiving excellent medical attention for myself and my family.

When Vivien was diagnosed with mild hip dysplasia, I assumed we would have to pay for something. If not for the visits to the specialist in the children’s hospital, then at least we would be required to buy or hire a brace for her, right? Nope. It was never even discussed. I got a brand new brace for her, got it fitted, came back a couple of days later when I felt it wasn’t fitting properly, got it refitted. No mention of money. When I finally returned the brace I was half expecting them to give me a bill for it, but they didn’t.

All that was about a year ago. Yesterday we had our annual check up in the new, beautifully designed children’s hospital (pictured above). I realized yesterday as we made our way from x-ray to the hip specialists that I hadn’t thought about what a privilege it is to be a part of this system as I usually do. Was I starting to take it for granted, I wondered. I don’t think so. Perhaps I am just settling in and although the novelty is no longer there (I know there are no surprise bills lurking for us), I still very much appreciate it.

The best part of all is that Vivien’s hips healthy. They are on track for developing correctly and our next visit to the hip clinic won’t be for another year. Hurray!