Today I visited the doctor. In France, once you turn 50, the Health Service sends you a letter advising you to visit your doctor. The purpose of this visit is to obtain a thing called a Hemoccult. In essence, it’s a test to diagnose and prevent colon cancer. One needs to collect small samples of one’s daily …er… bowel movements (for three days) and then send them off in a special envelope to the laboratory. Bizarre, I know, sending something like that through the post. I can only hope there’s more reliability for this than I’ve experienced when sending a copy of my book abroad (it sometimes gets lost, so I’m now trialling sending it direct from the UK printers).
The advantage in France, of course, is that these tests are free; one simply pays for the doctor’s consultation (and is then refunded 70% of this cost). In the UK I had been informed that if I wanted to be tested, it would have to have been done privately, at a cost of around £1500.
The doctor asked if there was any history of cancer in my family, to which I replied in the affirmative, saying that I had unfortunately lost my brother in 2005 (he was only 59). I was immediately referred to a clinic in Romorantin, where I’ll need to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. Oh joy.
We had no luck finding any suitable fencing material at the aged FIL’s farm, so I’ve ordered a 50-metre length of plastic netting online.