By Jantsen McBride
My apologies for not writing a blog post sooner! There has been so much to see and do in the last few weeks that I have not had enough time to sit down and put my thoughts onto hypothetical paper.
I have to start by saying how fast time passes us by. I am already halfway through my time abroad. In no context am I ready to return home. Don’t get me wrong — I love home and my family. But there is so much I still want to see and do. England has a vast array of history and beautiful scenery that I don’t want to miss out on. Not to mention leaving the people that I have grown close to here.
Last week I was honored with the company of my mom and sister in Lancaster. The dynamic duo flew to the UK first class (those brats!) for a week and spent a few days with me at school. Unfortunately, I was quite under the weather with a nasty cough and sore throat. We shopped, ate some yummy food and I showed them around where I have been living for the last month. It was really cool to be able to share the experiences I have had here while they got a firsthand view of what I was talking about. K-Led and Carlos brought me treats from the states which was a thrill. Drowsy medications like Melatonin and Advil PM require a prescription in England, so I was very excited when my mom loaded me down with the sleepy stuff and a big bag of Twix.
As I mentioned, I caught a nasty virus that lasted two weeks. I tried sleeping it off, taking cough syrup and loading up on my vitamin C, but nothing seemed to phase this little bugger. Mom insisted I go to the doctor upon arrival so I made an appointment with the health center. Now let me tell you something. I have a lot of respect for doctors and the health care field. It is what I’m studying after all. But this was the doctor visit from you-know-where. A little background on the English health care system… British citizens have access to free universal healthcare. Anytime, anywhere, anything that is wrong they can go to the doctor. Because of this easy entry to the clinics, they are often times quite crowded and appointments can be difficult to obtain. The government spends billions of pounds a year on providing this service to its’ citizens. Doctors are paid by the government and often times a clinic has one doctor available. This was the case when I went to see the doctor on campus. I first arrived at 9 a.m. when the clinic opened. I couldn’t get in to see the doctor at this time and was told to come back at 3:30 in the afternoon and to bring 50 pounds cash for my visit. Totally understandable — although no one was in the waiting room… So I arrived 15 minutes early to my appointment as is customary in the U.S. in case appointments are running ahead of time. I waited 10 of those minutes behind a Russian mother and daughter who were very upset that the girl wasn’t getting her test results immediately. The language barrier was clearly not working in their favor and the same questions were asked about five times in a roundabout fashion. The mother tried to buy off the receptionist. That didn’t work and they sat back down obviously heated. I checked in, paid my 50 pounds which was more like $85-ish, and took a seat. Mom and daughter went back up to the receptionist and proceeded to ask about 50 more questions. There were three other people in the waiting room all listening to this conversation. About an hour later I was seen by the doctor. That’s right — an hour on top of the time that I arrived early. I sit down the doctor is wearing a sweater and slacks with no lab coat, as that is illegal here in the UK. I explain how I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks, what medications I have been taking and that I feel it has gotten worse. He listens to my chest, looks in my mouth and then tells me there’s nothing he can do for me and to wait it out. No strep test, no prescription for a higher dose of Ibroprouphen, no advice, no “feel better.” I was in the office for four minutes. I was a bit frustrated. I paid 50 pounds for four minutes with the doctor and waited 15 times that to be told to go home. So, my doctor visit in the UK was an “experience.”
On a happier note, things are going quite well. I got a Halloween card from my Meme in the mail that made my week. Halloween here was pretty funny. It’s not as big as it is in the U.S., but everyone is under the impression that costumes have to be scary. Fake blood, zombies and vampires are all popular; while the sexy college girl getup, or funny satirical characters that are often seen at Mizzou were almost nonexistent. Last night was the ever popular ‘Guy Fawkes’ Day. In 1605, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament and failed. Nov. 5 has since been a day to, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Marley and I attended a bonfire in town where there was an effigy of Guy Fawkes burned. There was also food, drinks, music and fireworks. It was cold but quite fun.
Love you all!