Saturday, July 28, 2012

Healthy Involvement?

I got an email from my health fund. Based on data in my file, they recommend that I undergo different tests to keep things under control. I thought that is very very nice of them. I like the idea of preventive medicine, so I decided to take 2 of the tests they suggested.

After some minor difficulties with the appointment (went to the wrong branch, but got admitted anyway), and after being done with the tests, the nurse looked at my file and suggested I take a pneumonia shot. Since I never heard about this vaccination before, I told her I want to read about it on the net, before deciding. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't like taking decisions on the spot, especially regarding matters I don't have enough information about. But she didn't give up: "It prevents you from being hospitalized and lying with high fever on an overcrowded hospital corridor ". So then the real reason for the shot is not to avoid illness, but to ease the medical staff's work (how about adding more beds and staff, huh?). When she said "at your age", I stopped listening. The nurse wrote "The patient refused to take the [...]" in my file. What's next? Being ambushed by two gorillas and vaccinated against my will?

While right-wing US citizens think that forced health care insurance is anti-constitutional, most Israelis enjoy its benefits. The vast majority of our hypochondriac nation even buys additional health insurances from the health fund and private ones as well, to extend the basic coverage, which is less than it used to be before the health insurance law was passed in 1995, but costs more. 

After reading some articles on the net, I discovered that the pneumonia shot is inefficient. The main reason for its popularity is the manufacturer's successful marketing activity and health fund branches administering it in high numbers are rewarded internally. Need I say more?

On that happy note, here is a real SMS I got from the vet:: New! Early detection of illness in your cat by discounted geriatric tests".

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tile Tale

I like our floor tiles, but lately the grout became dark and ugly. From the
mosaic studio owner (remember the post about the mosaic?), Peter found out how to clean dirty grout: with toothbrush and citric acid. This really tedious work consists of applying the acid with a toothbrush, then removing it so the acid "eats" the dirt on the surface but not the grout itself, then apply sealer, leave it to dry and apply a second layer of sealer. 

OK, so now the grout was clean, but with holes in it (the construction workers did a really sloppy job). He marked the holes with dark pieces of tape, cleaned them, filled them with new grout (this reminded me of filling dental cavities), removed the surplus from the tiles and applied 2 layers of sealer. Crazy work. I helped a bit with the sealer, Tom helped more. This went on during a few Saturdays.

If we'd knew then (when the tiles were laid), what we know now (that there is a method of laying the tiles very close to each other, without grout), we could have saved all this. Why is it that you don't get experience until just after you need it?