Brain the Size of a Planet…

I’m gonna throw this in under the banner of Who Won the Week, because I have a real winner here! This prompt is the brainchild of Fandango, who posted a little earlier here.

I joined in this prompt consistently until lockdown. Even though I joined in, I mostly took the opportunity to post almost tongue-in-cheek, because it is far, far easier to find losers than winners. Heck, we elected most of them!

So I was taking part in this prompt until lockdown, but took a break because I wanted the news to get back to a non-COVID variety. I had actually decided that before I posted again, my winner/loser would need to be somebody totally unrelated to the virus. So, here goes…

In the UK, when somebody is issued a prescription, the meds generally come in the manufacturer’s branded box, but the pharmacy puts a sticker onto the box. The name of the pharmacy, your name, the date of issue, and last but not least, some brief directions. It’s not foolproof, but it vaguely personalises the meds.

You get this for any prescription meds. Rather than just the meds thenselves, they are tied in to the patient.

In the UK, there are at least two types of meds. There are the regular type of meds, the kind of thing that people like me take, for their blood pressure or their diabetes, like the image above. Then there’s another type called controlled meds. They are the serious meds, things like morphine, codeine etc. Even cannabis now. The really powerful stuff. As you can imagine there is a ready market for these drugs, hence the name controlled – access is very limited.

Sometimes, our daughter is quite useful for bringing us some tittle-tattle from within the village. She has an ear far closer to the ground than I do.

Recently, she told us about the local drug den. She even stayed there during lockdown. I’m not sure whether she herself uses, I guess she has experimented with them, like most of us. My relationship with my daughter is never deeper than “how are you?” so you can imagine we’re never going to get into discussing serious things like drugs. She does, at least, seem to live a regular life, never seems doped up, when I see her.

All through her stay, our daughter was telling us “this place is gonna be raided soon”.

Seemingly unrelated, we have a neighbour in our leafy part of the village. She has a daughter the same age as our daughter, which is how come we know her. Unfortunately, she has some serious health problems. In fact, my wife, who works at the local surgery, thinks that this lady regularly receives meds for palliative care. High-strength painkillers, I guess. Very much controlled drugs. In her condition, that’s not unreasonable.

So, put 2 and 2 together.

Daughter is fortunately now safely home, out of there.

Drug den was raided last week by the police. I’ll put to one side how these things are supposed to be secret, but people seem just to know when these things will happen.

As part of the search, they apparently found several months’ supply of whatever meds the neighbour had been prescribed. Every one with her name on them.

You know, I often feel that the police are, in general, not very bright. But maybe a lot of the time, they don’t need to be? Because sometimes, criminals don’t seem to be very bright, either!

Who Won the Week (26 April 2020)

I do like Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, and liked to join in with some quirky stories from my own newsfeeds. I pulled the last couple of posts because Corona tended to dominate the news, but I have still found a few interesting stories, with the Corona backdrop.

I wasn’t going to post again today, after my last post (Fed Up). But this story has been airing repeatedly through the day, and rather than just making me fed up, this one thoroughly pisses me off. Maybe it is just a story that my ears are tuning in to. So this is a Who Won the Week and a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Peeve post, all thrown into one!

So, my winner this week is universal healthcare.

Let me explain. One of the sub-stories to have come out of this crisis is that many fewer heart attacks or strokes are turning up at the Emergency Room. You can read the core of the story here (the Guardian is a reputable British newspaper, this article, though, is a week old), although the story has been picked up by many media outlets since and was broadcasting today.

The BHF – British Heart Foundation -is a UK charity, again very well-respected, is reporting a 50% drop in people seeking treatment for heart attacks and strokes. I’m making sure that I am putting all these references in, so you can go look them up if you don’t believe me.

So, what is happening? Well, fewer people are presenting, because they must figure that their chances are better if they go nowhere near a hospital. This might be because they know that hospitals are where the virus lives, and they don’t trust hospitals’ abilities to keep them out of its way (despite being gravely ill) or it might be because they just think they will not get proper treatment at the moment.

This second case, I have some personal experience. Just before the start of this crisis, my auntie was in hospital. You might remember that I mentioned it at the time. They sent her home, so they could make room for COVID patients. They could not have thought that she was cured, because they gave her some pills as they kicked her out, pills that she had never even taken before. So, they didn’t even wait to see the effect, to see whether the dose was correct.

And, as part of this whole experience, the talk with a paramedic (yes, she was serious enough to call 999) revealed that they had been instructed that any care home residents over the age of 75 would not be admitted to hospital, whatever the reason. This worried my aunt greatly because while she resides in her own home, she is 79.

I’m not sure how much weight I would attach to this hearsay, if it were not for the fact that this “policy” has also been reported in the media. When you start to hear the same thing through several channels, it makes you wonder. And the media is also starting to uncover many, many deaths at care homes, deaths which have not been attributed to the virus.

There are big question marks at the moment about what our world will look like after this virus. Here is one possible change:

In the UK, we pay for our health service through our income tax. The tax is called National Insurance. So, if I am 20, with a lifetime of NI payments ahead of me, I’m looking at this tax, and thinking if, when I need it, this system is going to decide not to treat me, then why the fuck should I pay for it?

So, hurrah for universal healthcare, and… wouldn’t it be a good idea? I say, let’s have some of that!

Do tell me, please, if your country has seen similar drops in the reporting of life-threatening illnesses.

Who (almost) won the week – 29 March 2020

I do like Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, and liked to join in with some quirky stories from my own newsfeeds. I pulled the last couple of posts because Corona tended to dominate the news, but I have still found a few interesting stories, with the Corona backdrop.

I know a lot of you guys don’t like Vladimir Putin, but which of us cannot look at this story and just think, what a good idea?

Such a shame it is fake.