Monday, April 23, 2007

The French health system

Well summer is here. It was over 30C today and the bikes and the new summer jackets were in the house, not out on the road.
The reason for all this is that I have a kidney stone. I was told back in '04, in the UK, that I had high calcium levels in my blood. The UK doctor told me that it could be sorted with a small operation and that waiting lists were down to 6 months. Great I thought, I can get it sorted before I move to France, not a chance. He went on to say, 6 months to see the consultant, 6 months for a scan and 6 months for the operation. I realised that the UK government had fiddled the figures again, just as they do with inflation and unemployment figures.
I decided to go ahead with the move and not bother with the calcium problem. That was not such a good idea, because it led to a kidney stone. Off I went to my French GP who made an appointment for me to have a scan, two weeks later, and see a consultant, two weeks after that. That means that what would take a year in the UK took 4 weeks here. A few weeks after that I went into Perigueux hospital and had a pipe fitted into the kidney under general anesthetic.
Trouble is that now I need to urinate every 10 to 15 minutes, and that makes biking difficult.
On the 10th of May I am off to have the stone "blasted" and a week or two later the pipe will be removed.
I am very impressed with the treatment that I have had. I was allowed to go into the hospital on the morning of the operation and allowed to leave in the evening. The hospital was very clean and modern with friendly staff and quick service.

I have had a number of people contact me through Youtube and at the email address at the top of this page and ask where the next load of videos are. Thanks for the interest and there will be more as soon as I stop peeing!
For those that have not seen them there are more photos and a couple of better quality videos on my Photobucket site Click here.

Thank goodness for the Linux that I mentioned in the last post, as this has given me something to play with while I am not allowed to do any biking or work around the garden. Jude is happy as the enforced break has got both the main PCs upgraded with faster hardware and, of course, Linux.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Computer stuff - Linux

I have been using Microsoft Windows for years now, and have been reasonably happy with it. Just recently Microsoft have launched Windows Vista and I looked into it to see if it was worth upgrading from XP. The answer that I came up with was NO. Vista is far too expensive and, in my opinion, takes the control of the PC away from the user.
I downloaded a different, free, operating system from the internet. It is SUSE Linux 10.2. This can be downloaded as I said for free, but that is not all, it comes with programs that do all sorts of things that would cost with Windows, and they are also free. The office software is easier to use than Microsoft Office and is just as functional. I have software that plays music and video files and even photo editing software.
I have downloaded Skype for Linux and have the Skype phone working. The internet connection was recognised and even the laser printer connected to the modem/router works.
The Operating system is very stable and has never messed up, there are very few viruses for Linux and the security puts Microsoft to shame.
If you would like to try this operating system, it can be downloaded on 5 CDs and installed on the hard disk leaving windows intact. It will install a dual boot system called GRUB, which will allow you to boot into either Linux or Windows on startup.
As someone who often spends 3 or 4 hours a day on the computer, i can say that after a week with linux, i have not booted Windows once! Bye bye Microsoft.