My SymiWillKilling Wendy "sto ESY" 22/10/2008, 12:07

At the start of the summer, I found this...thing...on my back. It looked and felt like a small scab and if it had been more accessible, I would no doubt have picked at it relentlessly and remorselessly as I am like that with scabs, but I left it alone. I was unsure, you see, as to whether or not it had been there a long time already...not picking at it seemed wise. Christos called the thing "Wendy"...I have no idea why that particular name came to mind. Honestly...not a clue.

Back in the UK after my summer Symi sojourn, I decide that maybe I should get to the doctor to have Wendy looked at. I have a very nice doctor in the UK, in fact I have two of them at the surgery...a husband and wife who share the same name and first initial, so it's a bit confusing. The Mister Doctor examined Wendy and said that he would refer me to the local hospital to see a dermatologist. "I'm going away for three weeks on Sunday", says I. "Oh, no worry" says Mister Doctor, "You may have a letter with an appointment date by the time you return...if you're lucky. For now, consider yourself to be on the waiting list to get on the waiting list", and then, after no pause at all, "Would you prefer to go private?" I don't have Private Health Insurance...I don't like the idea of it...but I'll not go into that here. Most of my working life has revolved around studies into one form of cancer or another, and Wendy was, I was pretty certain, a small Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), easily removed, with a close to 0% chance of spreading, and with a clear-up rate of about a wait for the NHS to see me wasn't really a big deal. My family has made a lot of use of the NHS in the past few years, and when it's been important to be seen quickly, quickly they've been seen, but still, I didn't fancy the wait...

From Symi, Christos called Rhodes Hospital on Friday...and got me an appointment as an outpatient to see the surgeon the following Monday, very convenient for me as I was on my way to Symi and would be staying in a hotel on Sunday night. I could go to the hospital, get Wendy checked out, and get the afternoon boat. As a "citizen" of the EU, I can use the Greek Health System (the ESY) as freely as I can use the UK's NHS. At 9:30, I arrived at the hospital in time for my 10am appointment. I was seen at 10:10, told that Wendy wasn't something that should be cut off as she was just on the surface of my skin, but I should go see the dermatologist while I was at the hospital. I went to the reception desk, and they made me an appointment to see the dermatologist..."Go and wait by room 15, they'll call your name out". Half an hour later, the Head of the Dermatology Department examined Wendy, pronounced her to be an SCC ("You realy should stop sunbathing...this is what causes these things") and then told me she had to be killed...frozen to death with liquid nitrogen, to be exact. The deed done, I was sent on my way with a request to come back in three weeks to make sure that Wendy has gone completely.

Why am I telling you all this? Firstly, it's not to have a jab at the NHS back in Britain, but to assure you that if you ever need a doctor when you're in Symi or end up at the hospital in Rhodes, that the service you get will be just fine...quick, proficient, and at least as good as you would get in the UK...and probably any other EU country. The other reason is to tell you to keep an eye on your skin when you enjoy the Greek sun for weeks on end...any changes at all, and get it checked out. I doubt very much I'll stop sunbathing...I enjoy it too much...but will try and be a bit more sensible from now on...something I'll find difficult, I'm sure.


(3) Comments

  1. Jord said on 22/10/2008, 19:46

    Around 2-3 years ago, Josie was feeling unwell. She went to the doctors here on Symi, and they said her Spleen had enlarged quite considerably. They advised her to take the 6.30am boat in the morning to Rhodes, and have tests at the Hospital.

    She had an ultrasound, blood test, x-ray, all within 2 hours of arriving at the hospital. Everything was thankfully fine, and we were wondering around Rhodes for a further 2 hours wondering what to do before the boat. Endorse what you're saying completely. Excellent treatment, quick, and efficient.

  2. Joanie said on 22/10/2008, 19:51

    It just goes to show how much faster things get done in another country .You'll have to start using factor 50 like the children lol

  3. brightfuture said on 24/10/2008, 04:00

    It's good to hear the endorsements for the hospital in Rhodes. Good to hear your self-diagnosis was correct Will and that Wendy has been dealt with!
    Factor 50 it must be from now on.

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