Category Archives: healthcare

Obese, but not fat

Those who know me, or have known me since nineteenninetysomething, will be familiar with the ample middle-age paunch, promising a Falstaffian (can I say that?) profile in my later years.  Well, erm, I happen to like the Buddha a whole lot better than other religious figures, so I’m following a good role model :P

On Tuesday I went to Exeter, for an extensive medical checkup.  It’s a perk of the job: I’m entitled to this every two years.  They measured me and confirmed that I should lose several inches from the waistline which is, in modern terminology, obese.  But they also performed a body fat measurement, and found 17%, which is bang in the middle of the healthy range (14-20%) for a man of my age.

So it’s official.  I’m obese but not fat.  Not even a little bit fat!

Happy to say most of their tests showed good health.  But to share detail of everything would be TMI.

Worst of both worlds

I hear the ‘merkins are vigorously debating proposed healthcare reforms, and some of them are holding up our NHS as an illustration of what’s wrong with socialised healthcare.  And that a lot of nonsense is being talked.  Now apparently Daniel Hannan (a UK MEP) has appeared in the debate, talking of shortcomings of the NHS.  I don’t know what he said, but last time he was in the news he was talking sense!

From my experience of the NHS, I can confidently assure our transatlantic cousins: yes it is the worst of both worlds.  We get no choice but to pay vast amounts for it in our taxes.  Yet if you have the misfortune to need health care, it’s a complete lottery, and you could get told to **** off.  And that’s not just rationing of expensive treatments I’m talking about!

I have one incident in particular in mind.  Just under two years ago, I had a serious medical scare: my eyesight went from normal to very poor indeed.  Within 48 hours it reached a point where I was bumping in to people on the pavement, and couldn’t sustain reading a book for more than a few words.

Now I’d call such rapid deterioration a medical emergency.  But apparently our NHS wouldn’t.  My NHS GP (“General Practitioner”, aka family doctor) couldn’t give me an appointment for a full two weeks (!), and the NHS eye hospital couldn’t see me without a referral from a GP.  Great!

So of course I paid out of my own pocket (a few years earlier, that would’ve been my food budget for the whole year).  OK, I don’t begrudge the optician his charges, but I seriously begrudge having to pay for the NHS when it’s simply not there when you need it.

I guess next time I get ill, I’ll just have to plan it in advance and make arrangements.

I’ve no idea whether Obama’s plans look anything like our NHS, and unfortunately his opponents clearly include some serious nutcases.  But if anyone sensible is listening, steer well clear of an NHS!

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