I have something that everyone envies, particularly in the UK, but even in the USA and Canada. I have private medical care paid for by my retirement plan. It is a little inconvenient in that I have to pay the medical bills and then ask for reimbursement but there is good news with that as I pay with my credit card and therefore get frequent flier miles. I joke that if I get real, real sick I will be able to go around the world. I have a rather macabre sense of humor.
I found out about the coverage. about tut two months ago. It was most stupid of me not to have looked into it earlier. As a student I was covered by NHS but that was not fun and I had one absolutely horrible experience which I might tell you about later. The care I received after the motorbike incident was a exceptional. I landed on my head and got 27 staples in my scalp head and 26 stitches on my forehead but there is no scarring and it is barely noticeable.
I made my first private care appointment at the London Clinic. It was really quite amazing. Amazingly good and we are talking medical care here. All of the staff members are exceptionally helpful, one man even escorted me to a procedure. One day after seeing a doctor I had an appointment for a gastroscopy. The procedure had been recommended by a NHS doctor months and months before but it was not forthcoming. One day into private care and I was having it done. It seemed like magic . A wonderful woman in the billing department should get a medal, a gold star and a raise. I cannot remember her name nor can I find the paper where I wrote it down. I am frustrated. But she showed fantastic initiative (rather unheard of in this country) and called Blue Shield to be sure that the procedure would be covered by the plan. It was and I was so, so grateful, It was so reassuring. Most, if not all, people in billing would have just shrugged their shoulders and say it was my responsibility to figure it out. Not her.
But then I had a totally funny experience waiting for the procedure. An older man was in the waiting room with his son. I suppose I could say old man because he was older than I am and I am old. He was rather bombastic to begin with and said he was a lawyer. So I went and shook his hand and said I was one too. That unnerved him a bit but we started talking and actually joking around. He found out I was from Canada and asked if I could speak French. Only a little was my response because I am from western Canada. So I said a few rudimentary words and phrases and then something happened (and the devil made me do it) and I said: Voulez vous couche avecmoi ce soir. (Roughly translated: Will you go to bed with me this evening?) The whole waiting room exploded in laugher. We exchanged other pleasantries before I was called in for the procedure. My friend Jessica went with me to the appointment as I had anesthetic and had to be accompanied. She said that the man said to his son: “You can tell your wife what went on here but don’t tell your mother.” It sounds unbelievable but it is a true story.
My first appointment at the London Clinic was with a doctor who can remain nameless. He did say that it was the strangest and the funniest medical consultation he had during his entire career. I asked that doctor why I was so popular these days with men. He said: “It is because there is a shortage of sexy 73 year old women in London.” He really said that. I was referred to Michael Sandberg for my continuing care and he is absolutely great and I am happy with him. I emailed the nameless doctor to thank him and teased him about telling Dr. Sandberg in the first sentence of the referral letter that I was a lawyer. The subject line of the email was: “Can’t you keep a secret?” and I went on to say that because of his folly I was wearing a blood pressure monitor and would have to wear it all night and it would keep me awake. “But at least I do not have to sleep alone:” So I go back to unnamed doctor today for a follow up visit. He will be so amazed to hear of all the changes in my life. I will also, hopefully, find the name of the extremely helpful woman, refer the powers that be to this blog and hope that they give her a medal, a gold star and a raise.
But here is the bad part with NHS, At the end of March I suffered sixteen nose bleeds in four days. It was horrid. I had my nose cauterized twice but it kept bleeding so finally I had to have my nose packed and be admitted to hospital. But it took nine hours to get admitted. Honestly nine hours and my nose was bleeding most of the time. I was texting my psychiatrist friend Jim in California and I have a record of that and may just put it in a blog someday. I finally had a total hissy fit and started screaming and saying: “What do you have to do to get treatment around here?” I was all alone. It was not fun. I have never had children but getting your nose packed had to be worse than childbirth. The next day a doctor came around to the ward. I asked her why I was having nose bleeds. She said it was because I had old veins in my nose. I saw a specialist a week later and she said it was because of the cauterizations, they had not healed properly. Needless to say I told the specialist about the unhelpful prior doctor as I was, and somewhat remain terrified that they are going to happen again. I anxiously ask those around me: “Is my nose bleeding?” One friend looked at me in disgust and said: “Alexis if you nose was bleeding don’t you think I would tell you? British people are not that reticent.” Oh yeah?