The lump

I’ve got a small lump on my thigh. Not painful at all. Probably harmless, the GP said, but he wrote me a referral to get it removed.

He asked if I private health insurance. Nope. I gave it up several years ago. It cost me thousands each year (and increasing) and rarely paid out anything at all.

He gave me a little lecture, along the lines of “You insure your house, your car… why not your health?”

I had a previous lump in my chest removed at Cabrini, when I did have insurance. It was very good — they examined it and took it out on the spot.

How much would that cost if I paid it myself? Heaps, the GP said, perhaps $1500 or more. Yikes. Public would be free, but he said getting it done would take ages in the queue. Ah well.

Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin

The referral went off, and a letter arrived — appointment at Monash Medical Centre Moorabbin, which isn’t in Moorabbin, nor in City of Monash, but is a medical centre.

The wait had only been a couple of weeks. I went in thinking hey, they might chop it out same day. Take that, private insurance! BEHOLD, THE POWER OF UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!

The specialist took a look, agreed it was probably harmless (probably a lump of skin growth, rather than the fatty blob the last one was) and said I’d go on a waiting list to get it out.

The waiting list would take a year to get through.

A year.

Whatdaya know, my GP knew what he was talking about.

Knowing that many specialists do both public and private work, I asked the specialist how long it’d take and roughly how much it’d cost if I paid myself to have it done privately. ‘Cos I’m in no particular rush, but it’d be nice to get it done and dusted. And this is a variation on self-insuring… not giving the insurance companies their profits, but being willing to spend money on your health where it’s beneficial. At this stage in my life, I’m well ahead doing that.

He said it’d cost $150-200, in about 4 weeks.

Wow, that’s great, I’ll be in that. Sold!

Another wisdom tooth bites the dust

I had a second wisdom tooth out on Saturday — bottom left, the counterpoint for the top left which I had extracted back in 1998.

The dentist had said it was best it came out now. It was moving upwards anyway, due to no pressure from the top left one. Worse, cleaning around it was becoming an issue, so I risked damage to the next (more useful) tooth along.

This time, no particular issues — once again I tried to concentrate on other things as two needles went in, then various equipment (I dunno — grappling hooks, pliers, that kind of thing) until the tooth was yanked out. This time no stitches.

Here’s the tooth (TMI alert):
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The good stuff

After suffering through several days of a bad cold this week, I finally decided to seek out medication.

I remember years ago using Codral Day And Night to get through it… but then a little later, having no success with what appeared to be the same medicine.

Turns out there’s “New” Codral, which does little for me, and “Original” Codral, which works. The Original has Pseudoephedrine in it… the New has Phenylephrine Hydrochloride instead.

A little research (particularly this extensive online discussion) showed that the Original stuff is still available, but you have to ask for it specifically, and they’ll register your purchase. This is because Pseudoephedrine can be used by Bad Guys to make methamphetamine, and apparently they’ve had to crack down on purchases to avoid people doing this.

This is why one local chemist has a “Pseudo Watch” sign on their door. I used to think it was some kind of security company sticker, which implied they don’t do a very good job of keeping an eye on the place.

You know it must be good stuff if the druggies are after it, right?

Sure enough when I went to my local chemist, they gave me New by default, but when I asked for Original, they were willing to sell it to me ($19, a bargain to make me feel better) but asked me for ID and registered the purchase.

Maybe, despite having not shaved for a couple of days while at home unwell, I have a trusting face.

And yes, it really does seem to work for me.

Viva la Pseudoephedrine!

Hand washing

Sometimes amongst the bum jokes you’ll learn something really Quite Interesting on QI.

Last week I learnt that when washing hands, how clean you get them is not about the heat of the water, which can’t possibly be warm enough to kill off bacteria and escape without serious burns. Rather, it’s about how vigorously you wash them — that is, you’re getting the bacteria off your hands, rather than killing them.

There’s probably more to it than that — the Wikipedia article on hand washing notes that: warm, soapy water is more effective than cold, soapy water at removing the natural oils on your hands which hold soils and bacteria. Contrary to popular belief however, scientific studies have shown that using warm water has no effect on reducing the microbial load on hands.

Perhaps I’ll just stick to my current habit: soap and warm water.

“A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!”

Tony Hancock’s legendary line in The Blood Donor was “A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!”

(I really should find the DVD somewhere and watch it again.)

I referenced it the other day after going to the blood bank, and Ian noted that Tony Hancock was from Ian’s home town of Birmingham, and kindly snapped a picture of a memorial to Hancock.

Tony Hancock sculpture in Birmingham

A visit to the blood bank is always a good time to gather some vital stats, of course, which I’ll note below for my own archival purposes.

Height 181.5cm (with shoes on)
Weight 73.2kg (with shoes on)
(that makes my BMI 22.2, which appears to put me in the “normal” category for weight.)
Blood pressure 108/64
Haemoglobin was, I think, 163