Category Archives: healthcare

Monday Mobservations

Ok, the title sounded funky, so I’m using it : )  Only one ‘mob’-servation… I live in coffee country. Major league coffee country. The ‘cafezinho’ here is a way of life. It goes deeper than football. Football is a religion. Coffee is as natural as breathing.

Because of the school holidays, the trip I take with my Wednesday student is cut way short. There’s a fraction of the amount of traffic on the roads in the early mornings. We stopped at a coffee shop half way. He made an interesting observation. Brazilians don’t meet for coffee and friendship or chat. Ever. They may meet for a quick business arrangement, but not otherwise. Friendship and casual chat is reserved for beers and pubs. Coffee is an otherwise solitary affair.

Photo taken years ago not long after we first arrived here with a dinky 1mp camera
I was reminded of this this morning when a friend said she was meeting another friend for coffee. It’s one of the things I’ve lamented for years here, that I can’t call up a friend to meet somewhere for coffee or tea. It’s just not done.

I’ve spent the weekend working on a photo for an old client. She always has a real challenge for me, usually involving a super-tiny, badly scanned photo that needs to be printed on a billboard. Ok, not a billboard, but you get the idea. This time, she wants a friend’s face put onto a model’s body. Friend in question is pale… very pale (and pixelised) and the model is lovely high-resolution with a deep golden tan. The model has flyaway hair *picture fans on the set*. The client wants me to tame the flyaway model hair too. The model in question is on the beach with shrubbery behind her. Eh… yes, a challenge.

When I was leaving for my kidlet, I stood at the bus stop dancing a little on the spot. *disclaimer: This isn’t dancing in the normal sense. It is very much just bouncing a little on my feet* I can’t stand still at bus stops. A guy on a bicycle came past…. I think he was training for some cycling event by the way he was dressed…. and yelled, "That’s right! Keep dancing!" haha! Awesome! Then a truck driver laughed and yelled something too, but he was moving faster, so I lost what he said, but his thumbs up spoke volumes. People tend to stare at me. I’m a freak here. At least I know now that it’s not because of my two heads or something. 

The kidlet made yet another mask for me. Is she trying to say something? They’re all heart masks, in fairness to her.

This weekend, I came down with a boil between my eyes. I was swollen and looked like I’d been given two black eyes. That was Saturday morning. By Saturday night, I was snapping at everything and everyone and really weepy. I’m prone to the dastardly things and they usually get really bad. The last one I had around my eyes ended up with me getting emergency drainage. It was not pretty. My medical status here being what it is, I figured I have to do something drastic on the weekend. I didn’t have any nasturtium (a natural antibiotic) on hand, so I made do with plenty of acupressure and EFT. This morning I woke up and it was all gone… totally! Weeeeeeeeeee!! *grins* I don’t know if the acupressure did it or the EFT or just sheer, "You’re not going to get me this time!" attitude, but it’s gone!!! Can you tell I’m happy??

It’s a perfect day. The sun is shining just so, the bumble bees were all over the Ipê tree, the kids are playing and making happy playing noises instead of screaming. Life is good.


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Posted by on July 5, 2010 in health, healthcare, life, work


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Taxed to death

We have a tax here on every cent we withdraw from the bank. Regardless of how much you draw, write a cheque for, or spend on credit, if it comes out of your bank account, it is taxed. No one minded this tax, as it was meant to go purely into healthcare. The thing is, they have proved that less than 20% of those funds made it into healthcare.
The senate has voted that this tax be dropped. The government is upset, as the gravy train is being flushed. So far, they’ve said that they can reinstitute that tax any time they want to and assign the taxes however they want to. Charming.
On health care. Do we have a good health system here? Let’s just say that my experience of the health care system here hasn’t been that favourable, but I won’t judge by that. There is public health here. You go to the clinic in your neighbourhood and wait to see a doctor. Depending on your neighbourhood and how sickly everyone is, the wait is anything from half an hour to most of the day. He then refers you to a specialist. Somehow, nothing gets done here without a specialist. The appointment is made often months in advance. Some specialists are harder to get into than others. The waiting list to get into the dentist is almost a year long. Once you have seen the specialist, you get your meds and/or tests. The tests don’t usually involve too much waiting, but that also depends on what tests there are. Meds can be collected at the clinic’s own pharmacies or at govt discount farmacies – if you’re lucky. The rest you go to a regular pharmacy for and like anywhere else in the world, that hurts the pocket. Private medical care goes two routes… the medical insurance route or pay your own way.
My first medical experiences here weren’t good. Tat has had ear issues for a large part of her life, so when she had ear infection, we took her off to the private hospital (we had taken out health insurance for her) to be seen to. She was ushered into a cubicle, which served as the doctor’s surgery. That swing a cat thing is a joke. You couldn’t swing a goldfish in there. She was given a prescription and we went off to the pharmacy. Five pharmacies later, it was confirmed… the medication that was prescribed did not exist… at all! Some time later, I went to the clinic with the aim of seeing a skin specialist. I saw the gp who waxed lyrical (actually, not that lyrical… she was nasty) about my weight. I’m no smallfry, but next to the miniscule Brazilians, I’m a giant… well, almost. Anyhow, she packed me off to the skin specialist (the reason I was seeing her). Another day, another month, I went to the location given, another clinic in a neighbouring suburb. I waited to be signed up – you get to sign up at each location… what fun. I then offered my card with the appointment written down, which sent them into a frenzy. Apparently that skin specialist hadn’t been at that location in two years. I was miffed. I had lost a day’s work for that, so I put it off for another few years before trying again now. Needless to say, not all medical experiences here are like this, but…
That isn’t the point of this blog. It was just to give you an idea why I prefer to stay away from the medical profession here as much as possible. The point of this blog is how R$10 (about $6) killed a girl.
In the news tonight…
A girl went to the government pharmacy (‘Farmacia Popular’), which is specifically set up to give meds at discounted rates with the premise that everyone deserves cheap healthcare. Her medication cost R$22 ($12). She only had R$12 ($6) on her. Her need for the medicine was urgent. It after hours, no other pharmacies open and she was having an asthma attack. Her father offered the title deeds to his car as surety that they’d come back with the remaining money, but they were turned down. The girl died from that asthma attack.
Something is very wrong with this system.
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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in healthcare, tax

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