“Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.” – Marcel Proust
I made a promise to myself that I would blog once a week and as my mother has already demanded to know where this week’s blog is, skipping out isn’t just cheating me but there is a slight chance others may notice (aside from immediate family). However, I apologise in advance. This is unlikely to be my most interesting, well-written or lucid post but I have an excuse and it was either this or an old piece of prose about a broken heart.
My excuse is I have been really ill all week, now don’t worry this isn’t going to be a post like ‘The forlornest looking lampshade‘ where I shared every gruesome detail of my last illness. For one thing, there’s less comedy value in current bout of sickness. For another, much as I love to make the world all about me at the best of times and even more so at the worst of times, I accept that the details probably aren’t that interesting a read.
Anyway, without the gory details, suffice to say my illness has been of the sort where looking at a screen for more than an hour or two has been unimaginable until today and up until now I’ve prioritised screen time for work related duties, feeling not just a little guilty about my lack of paid duty effectiveness.
I promised my mother I would go to a doctor if I still wasn’t better by today so I did sort of try to keep to my word. I wasn’t very succesful and probably could have tried harder but I made a few calls trying to register as a patient or arrange an appointment with an English-speaking doctor*. By the time I found a likely couple of leads it was too late as I realised neither worked on Friday afternoons.
My friends at work were emailing to ask why I hadn’t gone to a doctor yet and I explained I was on the mend and it was now quite unnecessary. I have been feeling much better this afternoon so this is partially true, but actually this is the longest period of time when I have felt consecutively unwell since I can remember so if I was going to a doctor maybe I should have gone a few days back when I felt rotten to the core.
And why didn’t I? Three equally rubbish reasons.
Reason number one
I don’t like going to the doctors for anything other than routine appointments because whenever I have gone feeling awful (like last time I had bad sinusitis) there is nothing they can do for me anyway and I end up leaving feeling I’ve wasted their time.
Reason number two
This is specific to being an expat. I just don’t get how it works here. Some places you are meant to register in advance, some places you just turn up. I don’t understand how it works and I don’t trust myself not to put myself in an embarrassing situation by thinking I’ve made an appointment and going to the wrong place or worse going to the right place but completely misunderstanding that under no circumstances are appointments available for nearly thirty year old brunette women who aren’t Swiss.
Reason number three
The final reason is probably the worst one and that’s financial. Every month I pay a ridiculously high portion of my wages for a sub-standard medical insurance with an excess so high I figure I could only cover it in emergency situations as it would warrant eating up my entire British bank account overdraft.
This means that a simple doctor’s appointment is going to be paid for by me. I have no idea how much, see reason two, but suspect it to be somewhere around 100 Swiss Francs. When my weekly fun budget is currently just 40 of those Swiss Francs sacrificing two and a half week’s fun budget just to be told they can’t help me anyway, reason one, doesn’t really seem worth it.
Do you have a point?
No, not really, I just want to say how much I love the National Health Service and wish that the Conservative Government and other detractor’s of the NHS would recognise the value of it. It is absolutely one of the best things about living in Britain. The fact that the US struggled to realise a very poor version of this and yet some people in the UK act as though they’d be happy to just throw our health service away, something Britain’s had and enjoyed for over 60 years, is truly disappointing.
I do not doubt the NHS is flawed, there can be long waiting lists and there’s probably too much bureaucracy, but it is available to everyone, even those with private health care who don’t need it. It is wonderful and works exceptionally well in emergency situations when people really need it. It is also staffed by some really hard-working and dedicated individuals who take all the criticisms and carry on anyway because they know how important it is.
I hope people will continue to fight for the UK’s NHS because if we let it go then it’s gone. That’s the problem with giving things away, you can’t then demand them back when you finally realise how much they meant to you.
*French is improving and conversations with french receptionists are one thing but I don’t trust my language skills enough not to accidentally tell a doctor I have wings growing out of my back when trying to describe eye-pain and then getting sent to a different kind of doctor entirely.
P.S. I had no appropriate images and lack brain power for wonderful computer stick men drawings so just added photo of the cats when they were kittens so that there’s something nice to look at.