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Mon Espace Sante

It's a new government created portal to allow people to record/access their medical history, which can be shared with their doctor and other relevant medical professionals. You can choose who has access, but I've left mine fairly open as it's pretty useless to record all of this information and then say that it's not accessible to the people in the ambulance...
Interestingly, there is a mechanism to revoke and block access to specific medical professionals. Hmmm...?

My doctor invited me to make an appointment with her, which I have done (mid-October), to talk about my medical history as it is mostly blank.
Well, it is mostly blank. I had my tonsils out in Frimley Park in 1980 (I don't remember the exact date, but mom bought me a toy of the little flying bike thing used on the Ewok planet, which pretty much dates it to when Return Of The Jedi was in the cinemas).

And, apart from the odd bit of flu or pneumonia (as expected in a person's life history), I've avoided hospital and doctors as much as possible. Let's just say there's a lack of trust.

Why? Well, when I was little I was very underweight. My grandmother had me admitted to a hospital in Baltimore, the family doctor marked it down as "failure to thrive" which is medical lingo for "his mother is not feeding him". Test after test after test. All performed without my mother's consent, since the family doctor/grandmother accused her of maltreatment. All of the tests came up negative. They finally gave up on it when a candy striper had the idea of taking me to McDonald's to get me anything I wanted. I asked for an orange juice as I was thirsty.
So... my not eating was simply because I was small and not hungry, not because my mother was abusive (if you want parental abuse, kindly allow me to point my finger directly at grandmom).
Didn't stop the hospital handing my mother (my mother, not the people who instigated this mess) a bill for thousands of dollars.

But the story gets weirder. My mother went to see the hospital director in order to partially complain about what happened, and to try to work out some form of repayment, as in the late seventies it was a huge sum of money. The director asked what religion I was. Mom said "sort of Christian". Well, she had been brought up Methodist (the sort of thing where having fun is a sin) and my father was Catholic. Mom figured that it would be best if I made up my own mind, but my father was not at all interested in engaging with Catholicism, yet he was more than happy to use that as an excuse if my mom wanted to talk about anything non-Catholic.
After getting her head around this, the director asked my mom if she knew then what a Hail Mary was. Mom said yes. So the woman gave mom a rosary and instructed her to say one Hail Mary for every bead in the rosary.
She then told my mom to leave, as she had no debt there.

I rather imagine that the director felt that everybody was dumping on mom and none of that was necessary. But it was a pretty amazing gesture to wipe off thousands of dollars in return for a rosary.
It has beads of blue and white, and it's quite pretty. It's hanging on the mantlepiece.

Still, with a profession that likes to extract a lot of money from sick people, doesn't really like keeping the patient in the loop (*)(**), and can do things against a person's will (as well demonstrated above) on the advice of a fellow medical professional who may or may not be horribly biased (and probably saw no incrimination as a result of that), let's just say that I don't have much trust in medicine in general. This is nothing at all aimed at my doctor - she's a nice person who's a cog in a much greater machine. It's the machine I have a problem with, not the cogs.

* - A few years back, when I went to the "work doctor" for an assessment to see if I was suitably healthy to work (if he says no, you get fired...), I asked for a copy of the medical data. They do things like sight tests and hearing tests. The request was declined. Why? Is that even legal? I think next time (which will be in a few years), I'll ask again and if it is declined again I will ask for who I need to contact to request a copy of all of my patient information under the GDPR.

** - Our previous doctor was starting to lose his mental acuity, let's say. So mom contacted him because she had a bad reaction to something in a treatment for dry skin on her feet. We (mom and I) believe that the product may have been one of the "azole" family of anti-fungal products. You'll find this in a lot of things, often under the guise "imadazole" or such. The doctor said he had something that would sort out the issue, no problems. Take this product, put it on liberally, job done.
Turns out that this wonder product was, ingredient for ingredient, exactly the same thing as the product mom was allergic to.
So mom ended up in the main hospital dermatology unit, with a referral letter from the doctor that stated that against his instructions mom used this second product. The second product that mom had a prescription for written by him. We only know this because the doctor there looked at the letter, looked at the prescription, and handed both back to mom saying "you'll want to keep this in case you decide to persue this legally".
Mom decided to let it drop as it cleared itself up after about a month of pain, and the man was important in numerous volunteer contexts in the local community. But the hospital did add a note to her medical records to state that she was to be treated as an SOS case to jump any queue should she present again - yes, it was that bad.
Turns out that fate is a weird thing. Mom's initial cancer was eventually diagnosed as a possible melanoma on a toe. She was referred to the main hospital dermatology unit (as skin cancer is that), which initially made her an appointment about four months in the future. Shortly afterwards, they called and said "come in tomorrow".
I think upon updating the computer records with the appointment information, that SOS was noticed.
Sadly, too late by the time she actually got referred to a hospital, but it wasn't their fault, it was the various locums and replacement rural doctors that had clearly never seen such a thing before.

My vaccination schedule. Well, the obvious tetanus injections, and three Covid ones. I've also had the multi-needle jobbie they give you as a child, and had it as a baby (which is unusual). So I think I've had the BCG or whatever it's called one time too many. Well, better extra than none. Anyway, my skin reacted in a way that indicated that yes, I had. I suppose having medical records scattered around Scotland, America, and England in the days when computers loaded stuff off of tapes didn't help. ☺

Allergies. Alcohol, very intolerant. Am I perhaps the only Glaswegian in the world that can't drink? ☺
Hay fever, bloody everything. Pollen, mould spores, if it floats in the air I'll sneeze at it. I had inhalers (nose and mouth) as a child. I used them out of necessity because, well, because I was basically shooting myself up with steroids each time. Not something I appreciated, but when your lungs decide "nope, not gonna" it's either gasp a steroid mist, or die of asphyxiation. It only happened a few times, and pretty much stopped in my mid-teens (feel free to blame leaded fuel, I have no idea what the underlying reason was so I've heard plenty of random guesses).

I guess my weight as 69kg. I weigh 74 on the floor-balance at work (everything we make and everything we throw out is tagged with its weight, and trust me, I'm on the lighter scale of what that thing deals with). Anyway, I'm 74kg fully clothed with my work outfit on top. So I'm guessing 69kg. It sounds about right.
I thought we had scales here. A little electronic thing that you kicked to get it to wake up? Unless it's in mom's room somewhere...
Looks like I can get one from Amazon for about €16. Maybe when my pay comes in... I'd like a display that glows (so is easy to read). Don't need Bluetooth, don't need WiFi, don't need an automatic personal trainer... I just need scales that if I weight myself three times, I get the same result each time.

I measured my ticker at 111/80mmHg with a resting beat of a nice sedate 59bpm. It's a little high, in the past you'd be looking at maybe 98/75 or something. But I hadn't had my morning tea so maybe I was just stressed over that? That said, pressure does tend to be higher in the morning.
I know my blood pressure is usually on the low side, as if I'm cleaning under something and stand up too quickly, I see stars and feel really dizzy. I'd rather my pressure be too low than too high.
The heartbeat is about average for me. I don't do stressed. I just sigh and count how long until my next cup of tea.

Of course, my measuring equipment is a Technaxx B06T (I didn't get it from Conrad, and I paid about half that!) but there's the question of how accurate it actually is. Maybe I ought to take it with me when I see the doctor to see if it (mostly) matches her reading?


A much more interesting, and morbid, part of the site was one about end-of-life wishes.
Basically, I accept to be put on life support if I stand a reasonable chance of a good recovery. However, if I will come back badly disabled or in serious pain, then just don't bother.
I explained that I worked as a Care Assistant in nursing homes around the year 2000 (in England) so I'm quite well aware how horrible end of life can be. I'd rather quality of life than quantity. I suspect mom would have agreed, thankfully for her the demise from up and about to cold caraboo was only about two months - she drove me home from work for summer break at the end of July and was gone at the end of September.

It also asked for my convictions. Oh, well... um... Let's just say that what I believe is a mishmash of my own devising and not any of that Abrahamic rubbish. "God" is the Earth, the living organism that gave everything life. And you can find a spirit in a tree and in a mountain. Plus, we are not alone in this universe, but the massive distances involved means that we don't know that yet. Which means, don't call a priest. I'll have no use for any of that sort of thing.

Essentially, I'm leaving it to the judgement of the medical personnel. If they think there's a chance of bringing me back then fine, shock me, bash me on the chest, whatever. But if I'm going to come back a drooling zombie only interested in braaaaiiiinssss then, huh, no.

I've left the organ donor part blank. In principle I have no objections to bits of me that work being used to patch up somebody else, but I must remember that in France they don't want any blood donations from me. Nasty prions and mad cows. Basically if you spent a year or more in the UK in the eighties (more or less) then you're automatically disqualified from blood donations. So maybe they don't want other bits either?


Spirits (not the liquid sort)

In a recent comment, Vince mentioned the idea of motivated spirits being at odds with his (lack of) beliefs. And above I talk about spirits in trees.

Personally, I think that a spirit, or soul if you prefer, is best thought of as something best completely disassociated from all of that religious claptrap.

If you have ever worked with the dying and dead (and I have experience of being around people at the point of death) then... there's a difference. Not something that can be explained easily, other than using words like spirit or soul. But, unfortunately, those words carry a lot of historical baggage in the form of angels and other related nonsense.

Perhaps a better example is when I went to see mom in hospital on that Wednesday. I didn't say goodbye. Why? Because there was nobody to say goodbye too. There was a body in a bed, but mom was not there. She'd already gone. It just took a further two days for the body to wind down and cease it's functioning.

I guess what I believe in this respect is best explained by stealing the title of a popular manga/anime series: Ghost in the shell.
What makes us us is the ghost. The shell is the biological entity we inhabit for our brief time here.
When life comes to an end, the shell dies and untimately gets recycled, and the ghost moves on.
But, even then, "ghost" isn't the right word either. Because "whoooooo!" and such.

Otherwise, I mostly celebrate the Wiccan festivals not because I believe in magic but because it is based around things such as the position of the sun. I mean, does it make more sense to celebrate the Winter Solstice and know that this is as dark and dreary as it's going to get and slowly the days will lengthen into Spring and then Summer... or to celebrate the birth of some random bloke in a cowshed in the middle of a Palestinian desert (who wasn't even born then, but the mythology hijacked and repurposed much older mythology that probably was about the position of the sun)?

I know, I know, you could say it's all bollocks and not celebrate anything. But, if that's the case, what's there to look forward to? I have the Winter and Summer Solstices (Yule, Litha).
I have Samhain (because my inner goth enjoys the darker side of the mythology of Halloween).
I also have, if I feel like it, Ostara and Mabon, the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, though I tend to only feel like celebrating Ostara because by then it's starting to warm up and you know the worst of winter is behind. Mabon... is like falling into winter and knowing it's all ahead. So, not exactly much to celebrate there is there?
And, if I feel like it, there's also Imbolc and Beltane which tend to be about the time of Pancake Day and Easter respectively (though the Christian festivals move according to the Moon). Beltane is a Spring festival that is otherwise celebrated as May Day. Whatever, it's close enough to Easter that it counts as a perfectly acceptable excuse to indulge in far too many Lindt bunnies. ☺
On the subject of chocolate, I have my strong beliefs (my nonsense is purified...).

But could a spirit be motivated? Well, I'm not sure there's necessarily a choice. I don't know how they end up elsewhere. Probably all jostling around like celestial Brownian Motion until "plop", there's a new shell and there's a ghost for it. Maybe, to get really dark, failed pregnancies are the ones where the ghost ultimately didn't fit the shell but it's too late to find a different ghost?

What I can say for absolute certain is that there's no beardy bloke in the clouds directing things. If there is a god, it will have the body like a man, a head like an octopus, and it will be planet-sized. And we will register in it's awareness about as much as we register ants - mere annoyances to be crushed.

Because, let's face it. If there is an omnipotent God (which common sense dictates simply isn't the case, but let's go with it anyway) then who the hell are we to think that we're somehow special and important. Notice it's us saying that, not God. So it's hollow platitudes we're offering each other as we're being led to slaughter while singing the praises of the entity that's going to kill us. Heck, even the Third Reich didn't manage to create that level of mythology for it's genocidal campaign. Heck, even ants know better than to worship humans.


How to break an autistic person

Seen at the local supermarket, in the aisle with the cooking oils.

A sign, informing their clients that as a result of supply problems, cooking oil is restricted to one bottle per purchase.

A few steps further on, a sign promoting their Spanish sunflower oil with the promotion "Buy two, get one free!".

But... wait... what?


Wobbly seat

I noticed, yesterday, that my car seat was wobbly. After a bit of rummaging around, it turns out that the mounting bolts were loose.
There's a screw loose
There's a screw loose!

Well, that's a new one. Got to hand it to Caoimhe for being inventive with the quirks.

But no worries, I come prepared. I keep a mini toolkit in the boot, so a 5mm hex attachment will allow me to tighten these up.

A small toolkit
A small toolkit.

I have a spare wheel under the boot, and in the boot is a replacement drive belt that I got for Felicity. It's not the right sort of belt, but it ought to be enough to see me home if the one I have should break. I also have a long bolt that can be used to force the rear pulley open to allow the belt to be fitted "on the road".

Stuff in the boot
Stuff in the boot.

Anything more than this would be a "call a mechano" scenario.

Not entirely sure where one would put the first aid kit and warning triangle in a Citroën Ami? Those things don't have a boot. Or much space at all.
That being said, an Ami (€7,790) with the "Pop" expansion pack (€900) and a five year My Care (€594) comes to €9,284 so I've got a while to go before I can think about that sort of thing.
Note - an electric Aixam (much more car-like than the Ami) will set you back around €17,000 for the cheapest model (it's 20K for the GTI version) so you can see the difference!
Sure, the Ami isn't exactly a "real" car. It's more like a really peculiar golf buggy. But I wouldn't look to getting rid of Caoimhe, certainly not as the ~75km range of the Ami translates to "not very far" in rural terms. It would be used as my to-work-and-back vehicle, with Caoimhe for going to Big Town or elsewhere (with a range of at least 500km per tank of fuel, and instant recharging at any petrol station).


Quiet Quitting

This is a new phrase for a new concept. The idea that your employer simply doesn't value you, so if you work exactly to your job description or if you go above and beyond, how you are treated will be identical.
Older people will roll their eyes and mumble something unkind about Millennials because, yup, this is essentially "work to rule". It's not a new concept at all.

You see, when times are good, people can let an awful lot slide as it's just not their concern. As times start to look at bit bleak, people can let an awful lot slide as "best not rock the boat". When the excreta hits the fan, then people are less inclined to let things slide. Now that people are in situations where they're creating alliances like "Can't Pay Won't Pay", people are far less inclined to let things slide.
And one of those things is that if you're a faithful loyal worker then your level of productivity has little bearing on your remuneration. If everybody works hard and the company sees better turnover and more profit, do you profit? Of course not. Management will get a bonus for your increased productivity. You... get a straight wage.
But, on the other hand, if things look bad and the company is losing money, then you - rather than management with salaries twice yours - are the first in line for redundancies.

All of this means, really, what's the motivation to go above and beyond? Sure, be conscientious, and do a good job, that's what you are paid for. But giving 110%? Being asked to "just do this little thing at home"? Why?

At work we have a sign up from the yearly negotiation. In order to support their workers, it says, they will be offering 2% over the SMIC. The SMIC (minimum wage) is €1,678.95 brut (about €1,330 net) per month. This works out as €33 a month brut. Now, as I am categorised OE3, my pay is already about 2% over the SMIC (all of my "benefits" are other additional things, mostly due to being there a long time). So it'll be interesting to see if my hourly brut will be 4% over SMIC as it logically ought to be, or if it'll be less. I'll have to wait until the new pay thingy comes in to see.
That being said, it would be interesting to know how much upper management pay has changed. Or management in general, since the company seems to have gone on a spree of creating loads of management positions ... I'm guessing they brought in a management consultant in order to try to streamline workflows, and having worked with a company that was management consultancy, I'd volunteer that the only thing management consultants can actually do is create places for more managers; which is likely to have an adverse effect on the workflows they are concerned about because we don't need more managers, we just need much better co-ordination between the ones we already have.

I won't be working to rule or quiet quitting, I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing at my own pace. As I have for over a decade already. I can understand those who do choose to work to rule, as it's rather frustrating to see people with money effectively bending reality to grab more money, and leadership actively hostile to the idea of spreading it around.
With the possible exception of financial services, which is a lot of hot air and fantasy, the upper echelon never seem to realise that a lot of their income is derived from our work. Certainly a fair number of them put in their own work, the guy who runs the company I work for built up his dream from nothing to the big enterprise that it is today. But what would happen if we all downed tools? I'm not saying we should, just pointing out that everybody has a role to play, and if we little people who actually make stuff are excluded from the successes, well, what's our reason to participate more than our job description describes? Quit quitting is, therefore, understandable.

But in todays world, that level of disillusionment will lower productivity. Maybe even staff morale. And it will take more than good management to fix it. It will take a better sense of equality.


Holly and Philip

...however that better sense of equality is easily kicked into the tall grass. In the UK, the rich, the so-called elite, have just pulled off a major financial coup.
But what are you reading about in the typical right wing press? How you've been screwed again? Well, yes. But it's nothing to do with finance. It's nothing to do with Martin Lewis being left speechless by what's going on.
Instead, you got massively screwed by a perky blonde and the guy that used to talk to a puppet in the broom cupboard because they supposedly jumped the queue.

I know, I know. The Queen's Queue was very British. Like a defining characteristic of the country almost as much as The Queen herself. Those few days, alone, absolutely justified every single trope everybody has ever said about the Brits and their propensity for queuing. It also introduced everybody overseas to a whole world of etiquette regarding the correct manner in which to queue. Stuff that British people "just know".
And, so it seems, two television presenters "jumped the queue" by going directly into the room where the coffin was placed, up on the balcony and not on the carpet by the coffin where everybody who queued got to go. Actually, a number of other important people got access to the balcony (but you don't hear about them being called out).
Because of this, the right wing press is whipping up a massive storm in a teacup with petitions calling for the two of them to be fired. It's rather more entertaining to the masses (in a "throw a child to the lions" kind of way) than any reporting on how the government has quite likely just saddled your children with debt from money that's going to the rich, which co-incidentally also includes the entire cabinet. But don't worry about that. Don't worry about the risk of bankrupting the country. Don't worry about maybe needing an IMF bailout in the future (just like Greece). Instead "HOLLY! NO!".


Saturday wreckage

So, I had to get up early to work last Saturday. Unfortunately this has really messed with my internal clock. I've been waking up at around 5.30am each morning, which means I'm a bit fuzzy by 7pn and practically dead by half nine. I'm not sure I watched any Netflix this week. And apart from a few blog posts cobbled together right after coming home from work, I've not done much of anything really. Mostly eaten varying forms of pasta this week, as I've not had the inclination to want to do anything else.

So I must apologise to Dave for not testing his latest IPP driver/software. I'll get on to that once I've finished this and made another (my fifth) tea...
And, guess what, next Saturday I'll be one of the Shining Happy People at 5am. Ugh.



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Rick, 1st October 2022, 14:36
Actually, it might be my sixth tea. Either way, I've not had enough yet. It's half two in the afternoon and I'm still a bit dozy.
Anon, 1st October 2022, 21:12
I was about to post a correction for the lyric you posted from "Freed From Desire", it isn't "My Nonsense Is Purified". (But of course you know that, you were taking the proverbial, right.) Anyway I looked up the lyric just to confirm, which I *always* thought was "Freed from desire, my innocence is purified"... it's actually "mind and senses purified". 
Finally those lyrics make sense. I've been hearing it wrong for the last 25 years. 
Rick - if you cark it, can I have your kidneys? Or corneas? I'm sure they can go in the spares box for future use. 
Finally, if you follow (or at least partially subscribe to) any of the ancient Pagan beliefs, did you ever make it to Stonehenge for the Solstice before you left the UK? Most of the time it's just a pile of large rocks, but when all the druids and wiccans are there the place is buzzing.
Anon, 1st October 2022, 21:17
Oh... and Return Of The Jedi came out in cinemas in 1983, if that helps? 
(ObStarWars question - in the Cantina scene in the original Star Wars, who shoots first? Han or Greedo?)
Rick, 1st October 2022, 21:43
But, given the song, my version makes sense too. Or maybe nonsense too. Purified, of course. Not your regular run of the mill nonsense. 😂 
Anybody who knows anything will know that Stonehenge was basically a big dick waving contest. If you want the proper solstice ambience, forget the beards and cloaks and go to Avebury. 
Rick , 1st October 2022, 21:47
By the way, I'm not planning on "carking". I have a pension to aim for, where I can be a doddery cantankerous old git mumbling about how things used to be better in the old days. 
Hmmm, War with Russia, rampant inflation, everything costs the earth, it's like the 1970s all over again.
Gavin Wraith, 1st October 2022, 22:15
Mondegreen lyrics? Cast your feet to the wind! Stand on your liver! Wiggle and work it out!
Anon, 2nd October 2022, 09:16
I suppose in your case the self-depricating alternative lyric works. Referring to this blog as "purified nonsense" is a compliment; I read it regularly. Entertaining with just the right level of geek.
David Pilling, 2nd October 2022, 18:57
At M&S Sunflower oil is still available but Rapeseed has vanished. 
Medical records is interesting. Here, now, paper. Sit in the hospital watch trolleys loaded with files being pushed around, some of those files are many inches thick. 
I can see the problems, but it seems a bit late in the day to still be using paper. 
I would have given every UK citizen a Google account and uploaded their details - shock horror - but at least it might work. 
I went to see a consultant recently, later he sent a letter (on paper) to my GP, he said I was using a particular drug - which I was not, never have and had never heard of. 
When I saw him again I pointed out the error, he was most concerned when he saw the letter, seemingly his secretary had applied drop shadow to the body text. He'd told her before about this... 
He is a youngish bloke, got another 30 years ahead of him, been trained in the paper based system. 
Rick , 2nd October 2022, 19:19
Look, if France can put together a system hosted in France to get people's medical records together, there's no reason why the UK can't do likewise. Perhaps if they actually attempted to get something working instead of spaffing money over overseas companies with ties to spies... 
I suppose the benefit France has over the UK is that it's a weird system where you pay to see the doctor (€25) and the Sécu reimburses part of that and your top-up reimburses the rest, so in order to get that working with any degree of reliability they had to computerise a lot of things. 
It's a work in progress, there are a lot of paper records but Mon Éspace Santé is the beginning of doing this. 
It's also worth noting that when I first logged in, I had the option to refuse and terminate the account. And, asi mentioned above, I can block certain people from accessing my data if I choose. It has been created taking account of privacy concerns from the outset, not as an afterthought. 
Your consultant does not sound particularly competent. Given a choice between drop shadow and a glaring error with potential consequences in the future (depending on what the drug was), he utterly failed. 
VinceH, 2nd October 2022, 20:02
To clarify my 'spirit' comment a little further: in essence, it's that you can lump the cumulation of a lifetime's learning, experience, etc and call it a spirit, or even a soul - that's not a problem, and I'll even sometimes do that. It's the quickest way to refer to all of that. 
But I can't believe it is in any way disconnected (or disconnectable) from the body - i.e. when we die, that 'spirit' also does, because it is just a loose way to describe the personality etc. 
By extension, that whole idea of spirits waiting around to slide into new births doesn't work for me. For one thing, there would have to be a huge number of them, most of whom would have to be floating around for a ludicrous amount of time, for there to be enough for all the new births that have come about as the population has exploded. And just how many more are waiting in the wings? 
If new ones are created to keep up with the demands of a growing population, keeping the old ones active as people die is just wasteful. 
ISTM the same as the god problem - it's just another level that makes no sense to me beyond: we're born, we live and become... We die. 
I do enjoy a nice ghostly yarn, though. ;) 
Anyway, that ants comparison of yours: 
David Pilling, 2nd October 2022, 20:09
Always debatable if one should adopt, one strike and you're out, with people you employ who make mistakes. It is a warning sign. 
Be merciful, he's devoted his life to caring for people. 

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