Like everyone else in this fine country, I am reluctant to get off my fat ass and take an active interest in anything unless I can drink it, drive it, make money from it or have sex with it.
However, I have been unable to ignore the low rumblings of discontent coming from the ranks of the moneyed classes as the government goes into a 14-year stretch of labour ahead of delivering yet another multi-billion rand baby to suck greedily on the taxpayers’ already heavily milked hind tit. Great spurting galactagogues! How much more can we give? There are only five million of us left.
I suppose it could be said that the national health insurance scheme seems like a good idea on paper. Then again, so did the Munich Agreement. But while Neville Chamberlain’s efforts to appease Nazi Germany fell slightly short, our government’s plan has a fairly decent chance of succeeding.
And when I say succeeding, I mean that by 2025, we will be able to walk, crawl or be stretchered into a state hospital and be reasonably certain that we will not be discharged in an even worse condition. Of course, much depends on how quickly we can learn Spanish. It wouldn’t be fair to expect the Cuban doctors to learn English. And if you’re some kind of squirrelly supremacist who insists on being treated by a white South African doctor, be prepared for a very long flight.
Through the scrapping of certain rebates and the imposition of new taxes, those of us upon whom providence smiles will help pay for the doomed to receive a reasonable level of medical care. This is naked yet tastefully lit socialism at its raunchy best and the mere thought of it leaves me breathing heavier than Blade Nzimande on a treadmill.
The NHI carries with it the intoxicating fragrance of a faux velvet revolution. I foresee roads leading to the airports jammed with wild-eyed millionaires. Leafy suburbs set ablaze rather than have them fall into the grasping hands of the dispossessed. Mobs of shiftless malingerers fighting their way into private hospitals demanding new livers and a free bottle of wine. And why not? Who wouldn’t rather be in hospital? By then, nurses may even have been trained to use methods other than pinching and slapping as a means of communicating with patients.
I don’t mind coughing up a bit of money every month if it means avoiding having someone coughing up blood over me in the Spar, but I take a pretty dim view of having to pay for people who do themselves a mischief through drinking, drugging or shagging. Damage by debauchery should be for your own account.
I am one of eight million people who belong to a medical aid scam. I beg your pardon, medical aid scheme. During the 13 years I have been a member, I have given them close to R100-thousand and have never claimed once. Not only because I can never find a pen to fill in the paperwork, but also because I’m on a plan that won’t pay for anything that doesn’t require me being wheeled into an operating theatre and eviscerated like a sheep at a Zulu wedding.
The good news is that I’m going for surgery tomorrow. My only regret is that it’s not something really expensive like a brain transplant that would force the scheme to dip into its own pocket rather than simply give me back some of my own money. And begrudgingly, at that.
I’m having a unilateral osteoma removed. Before you rush off to wash your hands, let me reassure you that you won’t catch anything nasty by touching my column. Stop sniggering. You know what I mean. I prefer to call my condition by its street name – Surfer’s Ear. Brenda says I also suffer from Surfer’s Aversion to Work, which is fortunately inoperable.
The doc and the anaesthetist get to split around R15 000. I don’t mind this so much. After all, they’re in a position to kill me and it wouldn’t do to have them thinking their fee is so insignificant that the job warrants hardly any effort.
“Is he unconscious yet?”
“Ah, who cares. Let’s start.”
“Cool. Pass the hammer.”
“Sure, why not.”
The hospital, on the other hand, is charging a staggering R35 000. The surgery, which apparently requires the use of chisels, drills and possibly a crowbar, only lasts for a couple of hours. I’m in and out the same day. If I were a farm worker, I would have to put aside my entire monthly salary for two years to afford this op. Then again, had I been a farm worker, I probably wouldn’t have Surfer’s Ear. I might have Farmworker’s Leg, though, which generally has to be salvaged from the thresher’s blades and reattached. Back to front, if done at a state hospital.