Thank goodness for the NHS

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had more contact with the NHS than I’ve had cause to have for a couple of years. Two visits to the dentist (for one filling & a tooth filing – fun); one trip to my new GP; one prescription; a series of blood tests; and an x-ray.

I spent less than half an hour – in total – waiting for all these appointments and tests. In fact, my dentist is so good, I was out of the chair 1 minute after my first appointment was due to start, because he called me in early. Even the dreaded walk-in blood test clinic involved no more than 5 minutes waiting. (Usually, such trips are like visits to the most boring and painful deli counters in existence.) The longest wait was for the x-ray, but that seemed to be because I’d never been a patient at the hospital before and needed to fill in even more forms.

The total financial cost of all of this? £56.10 – and all bar £7.60 of that was spent on my teeth.

It’s at times like this that I am inordinately grateful for the NHS. I walked into my GP’s surgery with a list of ailments I wanted checking out. I didn’t need to worry that the cost of any treatment I might need would be prohibitive to receiving it. (Unless I happened to need a vast quantity of prescription meds.) I even got to be a guinea pig for a med student, so I was doing my own bit for the education of future generations of doctors.

If only more doctors looked like this…
On Saturday, I read an article about a student in the US who’d just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. [Not going to lie, the reason my eye was drawn to the article was less about the topic and more about the fact that the image that accompanied it was of George Clooney in ER, c.1997.] It explored the cost of her disease and stupid, innocent, British me, thought that the article would explore how it’s affected her physically. But no, it was about the financial costs and it was horrific reading. The medical bills for the hospital stays and tests that resulted in her diagnosis amounted to $13,246.53. I barely understand the workings out of how this was covered, but clearly she was lucky to have good insurance. 
The thrust of the article was that she now faced the dilemma of how to remain insured, as a soon-to-graduate postgrad and as someone no longer eligible to be covered by their parent’s insurance. It’s terrifying that dilemmas such as whether or not to be uncovered for 6 months, just to qualify for a particular type of insurance, have to be faced. Isn’t someone’s health more important that an insurance company making money? But thus speaks the voice of someone raised by the NHS…
What terrified me even more was the fact that none of the comments on the article complained about the state of US healthcare – they simply accepted it and provided helpful hints for generic medications or insurance loopholes. 
Why oh why do Americans accept this state of affairs? I know that’s a massive generalisation and that many are fighting it, but why aren’t more people? Why are people against Obama’s healthcare legislation that enabled those who couldn’t afford healthcare to have it without financial worries? But, perhaps most importantly for those on this side of the Atlantic, why oh why is our current government so determined to destroy one of our country’s greatest social assets? 

Be careful what you wish for…

Last year, I received some abuse from Christian male friends regarding my use of the phrases “wouldn’t say no” and “wouldn’t kick him out of bed” (the latter far less often than the former), especially in sentences also including the names “Clooney” and “George”. This abuse has continued and is now a running joke with one particular friend.

This friend happens to be an actor (I like to surround myself with creative types in the hope that some of it might rub off on me) and sometimes in the course of their work gets to meet exciting people. Most of the time though, they don’t work and instead sit around at home watching movies, playing computer games and drinking cider.
However, currently this friend happens to be in a fairly big-deal show that has its Royal Gala performance this evening. On Monday I received a text outlining the name dropping opportunities this event was going to bring him. There were the logical royal suspects – Charles & Camilla, plus the arts’ own royalty – Stephen Fry & Dame Judi. At the end of the list came: “& possibly George Clooney”. Cue muted screams from me.
I of course swiftly replied, indicating my insanse jealousy of Fry, Dench and particularly Clooney. Kind friend couldn’t let the old joke die and therefore wrote back: “I’ll show him a photo of you & find out if he’d kick you out of bed.” The hilarity. (I did briefly consider which photo to use though! Knowing his collection, I’d have to insist that he didn’t show George any of his own photos of me.)
Whilst I know that threat/offer will never be carried out, it is a lesson in being careful what you wish for, because you never know when you might suddenly get the opportunity…
And if you’re wondering why I didn’t just get a ticket for the gala, they cost £150 and to be honest, I don’t rate my friend’s talents that highly, or feel a need to pay to get close to George. I do have a life, honest.


What did I see on TV this afternoon that had me shouting (for joy) at the TV and then swooning?*

Put simply, the Channel 4 trailer for the special ER coming up, in which no lesser person than Dr Doug Ross makes a return to County General.

I’ve been lazy (or otherwise occupied) and haven’t done a good job of keeping up with this latest (and final) season, but am very excited at the prospect of a classic ensemble’s reunion. Despite the initial rumours, Carol Hathaway’s back too. It’s like 1996 all over again.

Just for the record, I would also like to state that I am not a die-hard Clooney fan. Instead, I’m a fan of Dr Ross (when he’s being all sensitive and Doctor-y, as opposed to a downright cad), and quite frankly, feel ER lost a little of its edge when he left.

Welcome back Doug, all is forgiven.

*And when I say “swooning”, clearly not literally. There were a few “ahhhs” and “yays”, but I didn’t actually fall to the ground. I’m not living in the 19th century, or a Jane Austen novel.

Some good news on an otherwise dull Monday

The BBC has reported that although Julianne Margulies has turned down the opportunity of reprising her role as Carol in the final season of ER, other ex-stars including Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle and Eriq La Salle have agreed to return.

Perhaps most excitingly: ‘The show’s producers have also said they hope to bring Clooney back for a guest appearance.’

Sad news that there will be no further Doug & Carol escapades, but if they get Clooney back I will be one very happy ER viewer.

Incidentally, how are they intending to bring back a very dead Dr Mark Green?

And finally, just how pathetically boring is my life right now that this piece of news gets me excited?!