Thursday 18 July 2013

Important New Comparative Study Of European Healthcare Systems

Dr Rhys inspects the heart monitoring machine

I'm still "under the doctor" as they say around here, in fact under an orgy of them as the specialists move in to prod and poke.

The good news from my cardiologist after a thorough exam last night is that some kind of electrical fault is most likely causing my heart to fire erratically, information which does not of itself relieve the symptoms of breathlessness and fainting but at least removes the sensation that I am about to meet my Maker or else enter eternal oblivion (take your choice).

As a classical philosopher and admirer of Montaigne I don't think I'm particularly afraid of death but I can report that its seeming imminence over the last week was...distracting.

As I write I'm wired up to a contraption which records every flicker of life in my mortal carapace and will be compared with a diary which I am instructed to keep about what grindingly mundane activities I'm up to and how I minutely feel, all in interminable and tedious detail - exactly like what everybody puts on their Twitter page.

Apart of course from Hafal's always relevant and useful tweets to be found here.

This Blog is supposed to be at least partly corporate and not just about me but I can't yet do justice to the much more exciting things happening in Hafal - see the links to the right especially our Facebook platform which has no rival anywhere for the amazing film reportage of people with a mental illness and their families. Humbling stuff.

I shall return, as General MacArthur said sucking on his corn-cob pipe.


There again I should really get something in about health policy etc so try this...

Comparing notes on Skype yesterday my older brother who lives in Spain reports an interesting conversation with his GP who has practised across Europe. He told my brother that patients require different things to satisfy them according to where they live.

Apparently he found that British patients want to be told that there is nothing wrong with them and to be sent on their way; by contrast the Spanish (perhaps because they are still excited to get free stuff from their relatively new healthcare system) want to be given lots of different pills in exotic shapes and colours.

"And you know what the French want of course, SeƱor Walden-Jones?"

"Are we talking suppositories here, doctor?" guessed my worldly and perceptive brother.

"¡Exacto! The Frenchman does not believe anything can do him good if taken only orally".

Conforming to national trends my brother, who is at least as healthy as me, takes a colourful cocktail of pills for obscure prophylactic purposes - while I take nothing at all.

But we both agree that if we lived in France we might object to the medication on offer but it would be superfluous to tell the doctor where he can stick it.