Monday, 11 August 2008

Three different kinds of pain


The pain has gone from Hip via my knee and it is on it's way out of my foot, seriously. I still don't know what caused it or why it moved, but in the middle of Chemo time all sorts of odd things happen (I had pins and needles on the scalp near the tumour yesterday, figure that out).

Amusingly my doctors, great as they are, also don't know what causes most of the oddities, they dutifully note down everything I say and make "mmm" kind of noises and then give me a very professional smile and say "anything else?".

For example, last week when I picked up my Chemo, I got a quick check up (Blood Pressure, Reflexes, Pupil dilation, the Ahh test and the Cough test) by an enthusiastic young doctor. After finishing, and telling me how fit I seemed (huh), he asked me if everything was OK (I always find that a bit of comical, asking a Cancer patient if everything is OK) I answered the usual "Yes, but" (when the answer should have been "No it bloody isn't, I'm dying you little pipsqueak") and then listed the usual complaints. When I reached "occasional annoying headaches around my left temple", he asked "do you get the odd headache just under the bone at the back of the Skull". I was stunned, "Yes, I do", I said, and then sat there quietly expecting to be enthralled by an eloquent explanation to these front and rear headache combinations. "Mmm, interesting" he said "I have another tumour patient with exactly the same condition" then he noted this down, gave me a very professional smile and said "anything else?".......

These are words I didn't think I'd be paying too much attention to for a few years, but circumstances have changed all that.

In Switzerland, as pretty much all countries Europe, we have a set of social insurances which we pay into when we are employed and healthy so that we and/or our dependents have some income when we are not. The main insurances are old age and survivors (Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung or AHV) insurance and Invalidity (Invaliditätsversicherug or IV).

Because I am only working 30% at the moment I am receiving money from an (employer financed) insurance (Krankentagegeld) to make up much of the difference. This lasts for two years.

After a year on working less than 60% I can now claim IV (or rather must claim IV as far as the Krankentagegeld is concerned) . Being a social insurance the means filling out a ten page form giving your life history and waiting about a year (they say about 6 months but I am told it is about a year) before you get anything. Luckily the Krankentagegeld includes an insurance to make up the shortfall. Insurances for insurances, I suppose it is only to be expected.

So that will keep my financial security intact for the next year I hope. Then, I guess I'll be talking about AHV, 2. Saüles and no doubt more long words.

Legalese is a universal problem, and it doesn't matter how long you have worked with a language legalese can waste hours of your time. While working through all this insurance stuff I had to sign a 2 page agreement (Vereinbarung) full of complex sentences on what could have been written in 3 sentences of plain German (if their is such a thing). After spending nearly 30 minutes deciphering this mess I still couldn't work out whether I had to send one or both copies back, neither could my daughter (a very fine German speaker) or her boyfriend (a native Swiss-German). In fact the pair of spent considerable time arguing their opposite cases.

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