11. Oct, 2015

The Plan that Backfired

Here, the academic year is split into two terms, one running from May to September, and the other from November to March – long stints indeed when you consider the absence of half-terms. The dangling carrot for us though, is the paid 4-week break halfway through the year and the paid 2-month break at the end – a very juicy carrot I must admit. After all, a lot of travelling could be accomplished in that time, and that is what drives me these days. In the past, I’ve struggled with motivation. I once bought a self-help book called “How to be more motivated”, but I never bothered to read it. I did see a motivational speaker once though – I was left really inspired by the fact that sound can be created with just an electromagnetic coil and an amplifier! 

In order to maximise my travelling budget for this first break, I sacrificed all of my days off for a 6 week period. That in itself is not a particularly big deal in fairness: there are plenty of people in the World who have no days off whatsoever. Unfortunately, I contracted acute bronchitis midway through that period. With my mind on that extra finance, and what I could use it on in the break, I pushed through – and that is where the plan backfired. 

I’m now a whole week into our break, and I’ve gone nowhere due to ill-health. In addition to that, I’ve now spent two months’ rent on hospital bills and medication, squandering the entire extra budget I worked so hard for, and losing the time I thought I was gaining. It’s my worst backfire since I was called out for using big words I didn’t understand just to make myself sound a bit more photosynthesis (yes, I definitely stole that joke) 

Don’t cry for me though, with every cloud comes a silver lining. Mine is this: a new appreciation for public health care. Most of the complaints I hear tend around the waiting times. Well, imagine if you had to wait the same amount of time AND it cost you a month’s rent? Then imagine that every treatment offered carries an additional cost. Need to see a different Doctor? £££. Need some x-rays? £££. Need a bed for the evening? £££. Would you like a glass of water? £££. Here are the drugs we recommend…..£££. Private care does have some advantages though: Initially I couldn’t sleep so they offered me some medication. I opted for the night nurse – I always sleep well after making love. 

It was when he recommended a full-body x-ray that I started to suspect perhaps my well-being was no longer top priority. I may not be a medical professional, but I remember that song from childhood, and the lung-bones are definitely not connected to every other bone in the body….. I guess it would be slightly unfair to claim that they didn’t really care for my wellbeing. After all, they measured my blood pressure as many times as it took to get the reading they wanted that makes it safe to release a patient (4 times last week, 6 this week). A friend of mine had the same problem once, and surgeons had to remove his left atrium and ventricle as a result. He lived a half-hearted life after that. 

Alas! What with the language barrier, and my desperation for a fix, I accepted the recommendation to take 12 different drugs each day for the next week (up from 8 last week, but still nowhere near the number some friends hit in their late teens!) Some are ‘knock-me-out’ tablets, others are steroid based. I’d love the idea of waking up one morning with a six-pack, but I’m more likely to end up with the ‘East-German Athletics post-retirement’ symptoms of a small(er) willy and jiggly, jelly-like man boobs. 

I head off tomorrow anyway until further notice, with the knowledge that, if I’m going to drop dead, I’d far rather it happen on the beach. Time to dust off those Gillette Razors again…..