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Friday, 16 November 2012

French Social Security Downturn

I go to collect my medicines the other day and am told that I'll only now be reimbursed 100% for those which are 'generic'. If I want the formal brands, I have to pay for them.

This is new French President, Hollande's, influence. And I'm not averse to it.

I try and liken the minor fear I feel at carrying home a shopping bag worth of generic drugs to keep me ticking over this month to something I read in the paper a couple of month's back; in Greece, people were going to the pharmacy to find there were none of their drugs left. People like me will have gone to keep themselves going and found that the door was shut. Absolutely terrifying.

I now carry my pills in my bag with me at all time. I walked past a stupid film poster of Ewan Mcgregor caught in a natural disaster and thought how stupid I'd feel if everyone else was surrounded by devastated houses and lost family members and I'd be freaking out about running out of immuno suppressants.

It also reminds me of a recent campaign a friend of mine has started, #icancer. 'What price a life?' asks Dom, a former colleague and friend of mine who has a type of cancer which there is as yet no available treatment for. Or, I should say, which there is a treatment for, but, because it isn't a treatment which will bring phamaceutical companies profit, is still stuck in a freezer in Sweden. He, and some hard core campaigners, are trying to raise the £2 million it would cost to get the treatment out and in use to stick two fingers up to protocol.

The whole idea of likening money to health is odd. If we provide people with medicine, shouldn't we also provide then with food, and a bed and a roof over their head? Isn't it odd that I can carry my bag of medicines back to my flat and walk past a tramp in the street?

Is it odd we can feel so outraged by families in the US becoming bankrupt by losing their house because of medicine bills and then forget to continue counting how many have died of malnutrition in a food crisis?

What I do know is that, when I went to the pharmacy, I felt that surely something was wrong and that would be given the same medicines as before. I felt I deserved it. Some sort of superiority.

Similar to another feeling I don't like in myself since the operation but which I think I just about understand. I would walk up steps in the metro surrounded by commuters and in my head, think, 'look, I can walk up these stairs faster than you and I've had a transplant'. Gross. Not proud. Let's pass that off as a warped version of self-motivation and determination.

Anyway, this is a rambling blog because I've (touch wood) not been ill since March or thereabouts. My doctor actually called me 'healthy' a couple of months back which made me giggle. My creatine is stable at 200-2010, whatever that means! Seems odd to be stable when you know, if you looked a little deeper, you'd see the knees were starting to buckle, but I'll take it. This means I've had time for reflection and realised that I'm actually pretty lucky.

It means that my new year's resolution not to be kidnified has actually happened and I've realised it just in time.

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