Thursday, March 22, 2007


In case you are wondering what happened to poor Al Juhara, these last few weeks, here’s the whole sad story: The last month, my dear friends, things fell apart.

That is to say, years of avoiding doctors like the plague, staying stubbornly clear of all those much advertised medical check up retreats cum therapy sessions, or in fact any product or service which even remotely proffers any sort of health benefit…suddenly took its toll.

And so with the onset of March madness, there I was hit suddenly and simultaneously by backache, headache, toothache and allergic reaction not to mention manic depression plus the odd touch of candida ,(on top of the usual list of dandruff, halitosis and intestinal parasites which I have long come to terms with and am treating symbiotically* )- ie you name it – I was hit by it!

And serves me right you may say.

Pretty much anything to do with the whole medical process totally revolts me. Saying that hospitals are claustrophobic disinfectant smelling nightmares to me, a mere step away from mortuaries or asylum, and doctors particularly the handsome ones, basically give me the creeps, would be quite understating my stance.

From medical laboratories, where I pantomime realistic torture scenes, to X ray rooms and agonising about how radio active I am becoming over time, down to the pharmacies where I am prepared to spend ages bullying staff for the cheap SPC version of anything – and last but not least, the emphatic and long standing declaration of hostilities I have with the insurance people , the entire process is a hassle I conscientiously try to avoid as though my life depended on it. …

There’s rustifying….

That’s one word which should be in the Oxford Dictionary if it isnt already, it means waiting hanging about wasting time. You stand in one long, thought provoking queue get a chit, stand in another, find out it’s the wrong one, go back to another, get your blood drawn, another to get your results, and another to channel a doctor and this is all mind you in the relatively hassle free paying section. And then how about all that waiting ? So tiresome, so much so that last week I was wondering if I could channel the ENT specialist while I was hanging about waiting for the orthopaedic surgeon. And perhaps check in on a gynaecologist too, on the way out….but I saw the cashiers looking at me in a bit of a strange way so I refrained myself from going too deep into this request….

….There is embarrassment. … .

Mammograms and ECG’s are humbling blouse-less episodes involving mammary compression and welt forming suction cups respectively. Have you any idea about that half circle shape you see in a mammogram? Well it’s not a cross section of your erm, assets, it’s a compression gone through on a horizontal axis, which they get by pressing you between two freezing metal plates till there is only two inches of space. Get it ? Truly the stuff of sadism nightmares…However people who have been to a proctologist have even worse things to say…

And there is lots of pointless arguing…..

Consider this real life dialog I recently held with an obviously unprepared call centre executive in my medical insurance company:

‘Good morning, I’m calling about my latest claim for policy number 123123, my name is XYZ”

“Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

“I submitted these bills in September. Why have they not been processed?”

“Hold on a moment, ma’am while I check…. (Pregnant pause) um, these are for vaccines, ma’am, we don’t reimburse vaccines…”

“Excuse me! That’s the Human Anti Rabies vaccine. Its not something we take for cosmetic reasons. It’s a Post Exposure Emergency Measure **IT was an emergency requirement … I had to spend twenty five thousand on this, and if you don’t help us out in life and death emergencies like that what is the point in having a policy ? I might as well suck up to my Rich Aunt in Liverpool….”

“Um hold on ma’am…let me check…”There was a REALLY pregnant pause this time, and the sound of flies buzzing.. after which she asked me the most blog-worthy question I have been asked this year…“Umm madam, were you showing symptoms of the condition at the time .In that case I think we are allowed to reimburse….”

Here folks, my usually fairly well flowing reserves of presentation English totally dried up, and left me speechless as in most really good opportunities I ever get to defend myself. Which was most disappointing because in retrospect I wondered if I could have mentioned to her that now I come to think of it, there had in fact been a Little Frothing….

To be honest, I am quite broke now and would admit to almost anything if it would help the claim….


*maybe that’s why Im single. Or maybe it’s an oxymoron and Im not really technically single. You decide

** Yup, I know the jargon, I tell ya