Sunday, February 10, 2013

Living In A Socialist Hell On Earth

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It's about 10:30 am here in La Sechere...I embedded a google map if you would like to get an idea of where I am. If you switch to the satellite option and follow the road to where it kind of turns into a tractor trail going to the woods, you will be hovering over my house and barn. This is a truly rural  North Eastern Dordogne agricultural region. Our main crop here in fact are walnuts. The main road up by Badefols d'Ans is named Le Route de la Noix...Here's a little view of Badefols d'Ans, the walnut covered hills and the Chateau of Hautefort. One of my favorite bike trips is he round trip to Hautefort. 
In this little panorama, Badefols d'Ans (about 2 kilometers north of chez moi) is where there is a little 12th century chateau with a donjon at the base of the hill. When the camera swings around, you see the Grand Chateau of Hautefort in the distance...About 10 or so kilometers to the North West. At one point in the panorama, the camera focuses on a complex of white buildings across the valley. That is Clairevivre, an art deco dream of socialism built in the 1930's originally as a community dedicated to the rehabilitation of victims of the First World War. It still exists as a community that is totally committed to social rehabilitation and re education. It is where I go every year to buy my vegetable and flower plants in the spring from their state of the art green houses and horticultural center.

Hautefort is our Chef de Commune, sort of like the equivalent of a county seat. It's where the local administration, the big post office, tax offices are located. The chateau was originally built in the 12th century. It was taken by Richard the Lion Hearted and then in the 15th through 17th centuries, it was rebuilt as a baroque masterpiece. There are huge formal gardens on the hills below the chateau. In the village, below the chateau, there is complex of baroque, eccentrically domed ardoise covered building housing the church and a one time hospital which now is a museum of medicine which is run by my old doctor. My present doctor had his cabinet in the complex of medieval buildings around the church and museum. Last year, though, he moved outside of Hautefort into the state of the art Pole Sante,.the health center which just opened. There are three general practitioners and staff of specialists and a dentist. There is a state of the art physical rehab center and the entire complex is geothermic and ecologically engineered to make it totally efficient.  There are a staff of nurses which not only are stationed in the Center, but they make daily household visits through out the region. It's a physically inviting, beautifully designed space. I'm writing this because we just had a visit from one of the nurses from the center. This also explains why my blogging has been rather disrupted lately. My wife just had major surgery on her right foot. She spent a few days in a clinic in Brive-la-Gailarde. which is my closest big city, about an hour away. So in my rural universe, I am the support system. I am doing all the cooking, being a 24 hour nursing staff, as well as my regular routine of rural living...I have to admit, my biggest challenge is keeping my wife from trying to do stuff...I want her to follow the doctors advice, but she has this natural desire to do...more...
dedication of our new medical center 2012
I have to admit, living here has made this a lot easier than I had imagined. I drove her to the clinic, but our Mutual and the French Medical System brought her back here absolutely free. She is going to have to go to Brive for an 8 am evaluation in 3 weeks, but I don't have to drive her...Our doctor wrote and ordinance for  the local taxi service to show up here around 6:30 am and take her round trip...for free.
The entire operation is going to be reimbursed...we have to pay a bit out of pocket, but most of our expenses are reimbursed by our Mutuelle Assurance and the Medical System. To put this into perspective for my American friends, this was a surgery that would have cost by my rough estimate around 15,000 dollars in America, at least. We pay out of pocket around 600 Euros and most of it gets reimbursed. The follow up care and prescription pain killers and anti thrombosis medication is going to be reimbursed. A nurse from the Pole Sante comes every day to our door to administer a shot a do blood tests...basically for free.
The indoor pools I have to endure in my Socialist Hell
on Earth in St. Yriex-la-Perche
We are not wealthy people by a long shot and pride ourselves by our ability to pay our own way, but if we were living in America, this could not have happened. I have a few health issues...a life long asthmatic condition and somehow, I picked up a form of hepatitis when I was young. I never knew about the hepatitis in America, but here it was diagnosed and being controlled by state of the art techniques. My condition is basically benign, but I have to get blood tests. My doctor actually prescribed a membership in a great gym and pool complex up in St. Yriex-la-Perche for me. I get to go swimming when ever I want and work out in comfort in a state of the art gym
This is a totally different approach to medicine than America. The state is investing a small amount of money to keep me healthy, rather than waste a huge amount in heroic disaster management. I pay about 30 Euros a month for my Mutuel Assurance policy, but when you think that almost every cent I spend on prescription drugs and doctors visits is reimbursed by the Mutual...and like in my wifes' case, when you have to actually go into a hospital, most of what we spent is going back into our bank's nothing. I hear about the realities of the American medical system. I spent a week in Beth Israel Hospital in NewYork in the early 90's with insurance paid by my job and the quality of treatment could not compare to what I enjoy here. I san=y over and over again, health care is not a privilege, it is your right. My nephew lives in Bangkok, Thailand and the level and affordability of health care, even in rural Thailand is better than what most Americans could ever expect or dream of being able to afford. The next time you have to sit through a diatribe by an idiot relative against socialized medicine, if it's in your own house, I would only hope you kick their ass out the front door, toss their car keys  down the well and make them walk home....BECAUSE THEY OWE YOU!

1 comment:

J.O.B. said...

When exactly do you think socialized became a bad word Dottie.
Hope you and your lovely had a great holiday.