Monday, 12 July 2010


I love Belgium, I really do.
It is a tiny country with such organized bureaucracy that it can exist and flourish without a government. There is such animosity between the Walloons (the French segment of the population) and the Flemish that the government has collapsed. I don't feel knowledgeable enough to explain this situation, but I live with the results.
Here is a taste. I received a letter in the mail, telling me that I have a appointment scheduled for a mammogram. The letter informs me that I am of an age when breast cancer is an issue, and I must take my appointment at the hospital..Period. OK...I take the tram to the hospital on the appointed day. Never having been to the hospital I ask a tall handsome man in a white coat where to go. In perfect English, he answers me. This is another reason that I love Gent, Belgium (in particular). The population is mostly Flemish. The Flemish speak an attractive form of Dutch. BUT, just like the Dutch, they speak perfect English. Better English that we native speakers speak. They don't use the word "like", or "sort of". They only use the words they need, without colloquialisms. It is a clean form of English. But, back to my breasts......I have the mammogram. The technician, a lovely young girl, tells me the machine is brand new, and the whole wing of the hospital is new. And do you know how much it cost me?...nothing..nothing.
They have National Health. You pay for it, don't get me wrong. The taxation is painful. But in the big picture, it is the only way to go. American's look at the National Health System in England, and think that is the norm. Well, it is not. I have had experience with several systems, so I am speaking from experience, not conjecture. The system in the UK has good intentions, but they do not pull it off..at all. I watched my Mother in Law suffer through the English system, and pass away within it. The Belgian, French, Swiss, Austrian systems are incredible.
But back to my breasts..

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