Don't take your health for granted - especially in FIFO marriages

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Sandy (or 'Auntie', as many people call her) is our FIFO Survivor. Her husband works offshore in oil/gas and they've been together for more than 30 years - many of them as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) family. In that time they've raised two beautiful daughters (both now in their 20s) and moved more than 19 times! Sandy wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.


I sometimes take things for granted. But over the last little while I've been unwell – and it's really given me a wake-up call.

Don't panic! It's nothing much, apart from a reminder to look after myself a little better.

It all started with a bug that involved me hugging a white bowl. Having a bit of a medical background, I soon realised that a trip to the emergency doctor was required. But when you're all by yourself, how do you get there?

Lucky I have amazing neighbours. To the rescue with bucket in hand!

For the next round, luckily my youngest was home. Trip to doctors and off to accident and emergency. This was interesting to say the least: nine hours and free entertainment on a Friday night.

This whole situation brought to attention a few things.

Why do medical staff look at you sideways when you put down your next of kin as your husband, with a contact phone number in China?

Here's how the conversation went:

Nurse: "I'm sorry, where is your husband?"

Me: "China."

Nurse: "Do you have anyone closer?"

Me: "I have a daughter in Dubai. Or wait, you could try a relative in Queensland – that's a bit closer to WA."

How hard is it to understand? We're a FIFO family and we move around.

I've got to say though, this did all make me realise it's time to get some of our affairs in order:

  • Power of attorney for our daughter living overseas and our elderly parents left behind in NZ (both for legal and medical matters).
  • Up-to-date wills. Our current wills were drawn up when the girls required guardians, and doesn't include all of our assets in two countries.
  • Bank accounts. Can you access these if something should happen to your partner? 
  • Medical insurance. Do you know what's covered in your insurance? Don't wait until you're about to have an operation to find out!

So I'm busy tying up loose ends. As the old saying goes, if you have an umbrella it won’t rain. Get yourself organised and you won’t need to worry.


More from Auntie Sandy:

If you've got a question for 'Auntie' Sandy or would like to make a comment about FIFO living, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!