Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Swelling On The leg, Swelling In Public Opinion

Today was a good day for me .... I went to my GP, she told me that the rather worrying lump on my calf was probably just a sebaceous cyst, and arranged an ultrascan to check.

Last night wasn't quite so good for a while , because I found the lump and was somewhat concerned as to what it might be. After a while I tried gently squeezing it and it went away, which made me think that I had just burst something like a cyst - definitely not a good thing to do, but at least it probably wasn't anything worse. (By this morning the lump was back, bigger than before.)

But in the intervening worrying time between finding and squeezing I had googled 'lump on leg'. It led to an American forum full of questions from people worried about lumps on their leg that might be cancer. One comment struck me in particular and made me feel glad for the NHS:

Lumps in thighs and hipps
Hi, I have good news and bad news. Starting with the bad news; there are many very dangerous even life threatening. I also understand why you guys are reluctant to go to the doctor. It can be very relative but it can be inexpensive, or absolutely and totally cataclysmic for your finances. In addition dot ors these days never touch your body in any way unless they have to. That being said; you will get an inconclusive x-ray for 3-600 dollars, you will then get a ct cor cat scan to "get a better look at what's going on in there." this will cost 2500$-6000$ . After which if the still think you have some money or patience, they will give you an MRI to get the clearest view possible. Still playing time for the biopsy. Mind you all of these tests have at least a month in-between. And you or you insurance have gotten the bill up to 25000$ now an nobodies laid a hand on you.

Of course, this person's spelling wasn't that great, maybe his cost estimates weren't that great either, but it made me think - again - about the health bill.

With more and more being said against it, the Royal College of GPs coming out against it
and even ConservativeHome saying 'kill the bill' it's time to say enough is enough.

I don't recall the Lib Dems proposing these changes before the last general election. I don't recall the Conservatives doing so either. I believe the Lib Dem leadership should gently say to our coalition partners , "Sorry, this ain't going to happen..." - as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

"I'm A Lonely Widow"

Sometimes politics seems to be full of vitriol and anger. And sometimes politicians speak calmly and bare their soul.

This is a quietly moving speech by Maureen Walsh, one of the two Republicans who voted for marriage equality in the Washington House of Representatives this week.

Hat-tip: Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Rise Of The Filch

Quite a few commonly used words started off in Science Fiction. "Robot" is a good example.

With all the debste over bankers salaries recently - and the extremely wealthy in general - I wonder if the word "Filch" will catch on....

It's found in a 2003 novel by the author L.E. Modessitt Jr. The novel is called "Archform:Beauty" and is set a few hundred years into the future. Earth has suffered an ecological collapse but has generally recovered. Life for most people is good - but especially so for the filch - the filthy rich.

They still have class politics on this 24th century. To quote one passage about a proposed river diversion:

"Senator Cannon, you've opposed the Southern Diversion ever since you were elected to the Continental Senate. Why?"

"The Southern Diversion is nothing more than filch-food. Filch-food for the southwest. Eastslope needs its water... Every liter that goes south raises the cost for the people of Deseret that I represent. It's that simple...!

Senator Cannon, incidentally, is that slightly unusual character in SF - a flawed politician who is nonetheless one of the good guys....
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