Get Healthy

My new health insurance card was in the mail tonight, thereby confirming my status as the holder of private health insurance.

I’ve never really wanted health insurance before, as I’ve always been fairly healthy, and I’ve always had good experiences in the public health system. To be frank, I’m really only doing it to get the tax man off my back, but I guess there may also be some advantages as I approach my middle years.

In the last five years, I’ve been to the doctor only once, and that was only to get a medical certificate to cover three days absence from work due to the terrible flu that’s gone around Sydney this year. Aside from the odd sniffle here and there, and the occasional bout of hayfever, I’ve been fairly healthy, with one or two notable exceptions.

About fifteen years ago while living in Renmark, I needed an emergency appendectomy. As I recall, I woke up in the middle of the night with what I thought were hunger pains. So of course, I had something to eat and went back to sleep. Hours later at work, the “hunger pains” re-emerged, until finally, my boss recommended that I should go to the hospital or at least the doctor. Fairly quickly I was diagnosed with appendicitis and was soon under the knife.

Waking up several hours later I found myself in a double room all by myself, in a small country hospital more akin to a nursing home. I had a great view of the garden outside, and the staff were absolutely tremendous. For a day or so I even resisted serious pain relief, as I kinda believe in the inherent healing powers of the human body. Being a public hospital room, however, another man was soon moved in. After a few hours of burping and farting, I finally asked for some pain relief, and it was then I discovered the inherent healing powers of pethidine.

Health Card

The next major incident occurred about six years ago when I needed a series of operations. Aside from the inconvenience of three operations in quick succession, my experience of receiving care in a major public hospital here in Sydney was also absolutely tremendous. A much larger ward this time, sharing with half a dozen others, I found I received as much care and concern as I did in the smaller rural hospital.

And aside from those two major occasions, I’ve mostly been fairly healthy. But I’m fast approaching the meaning of life age – forty-two – and I suppose I will eventually need to draw upon the health system more and more. Though I don’t wish to overestimate it, I guess the recent high profile death of Crazy John at the age of forty-two has perhaps also focus some of my attention in this area.

But mostly I’m doing it for tax reasons.

2 Replies to “Get Healthy”

  1. Between my teeth, my glasses/contact lenses and my osteopathy I get great value out of my premiums every year. Since I turned 50 (6 years ago) I have had a gall bladder removed (would have had to wait years in the public system, in low pain and avoiding fats the whole time, plus ‘going private’ meant I could pick a time for the op that suited me). I had my nasal septum corrected, thus ending a long run of sinus infections (this wouldn’t have been available on the public system at all), and I hve had a cataract removed – I would have had to wait until my vision was severely affected in the public system – I wouldn’t have been able to continue working or to drive.

    The public system is great for emergencies, but the kinds of things that happen to you as you age aren’t as well looked after, especially if you’re still working and have to plan time off for surgeries. I’m having my other cataract done in December and that’s gong to be my last op. Promise.

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