Ruth's Diary


I went to see the Doctor. The reason was that on the front of my right index finger my skin is very dry, flaky, itchy and if I press it...pussy. So I shouldn't press it, but sometimes I do. Thing is, I've had the skin in that area being dry and strange for several months, it's just that I knew it was a skin irritation of some sort and ignored it. No point bothering the doctor. The Aloe Vera liquid soap pretty much kept it at bay anyway. It just suddenly got much worse when I went home...and didn't bring the soap with me. Nathan once noticed I'd had my finger curled in a funny way (after dousing it in Aloe Vera gelly, which repaired some of the damage) and once I revealed the terrible condition of that finger-and that I'd been ignoring it-he almost threw a fit and demanded I see a doctor. So one I saw.

It seems I have mild dermatitis. Mild because it is severe if it covers your whole front hand. So I got prescribed a kind of ointment and was told to avoid my finger's contact with water and soap as much as possible, since all that dries out the skin (it'll be kinda hard to do in the shower). In fact, I was especially advised to avoid excess washing of hands (boy won't Mum find that so hard to do, good thing she doesn't have this). I also talked about the government regulation that GPs had to be available within 48 hours. The Church Surgery is a good example of a surgery that has adapted well: you have to make an appointment on the day but you can't make any afternoon appointments 'til after 11am. The system must work 'cos the waiting room was pretty quiet and I got seen pretty quickly.

The surgery also had a price list of medical check-ups. This is important because the Summer Camp I'll be working at demands I have one. And I was so disheartened at the fact that the surgery charges £30. £30!!!! I want it for a tenner like someone else had. Considering they charge I suppose it's possible to walk into another surgery (plenty of 'em around here). But why does it even cost anything? What do they do in a medical? Take a blood test? (Thinking about it, I suppose they do.) My camp hasn't even sent me the bloody medical form the doctor's expected to fill in! (I really want to throw a brick at someone)

Anyways, I got my Czechoslovakia essay back. 65%. Pete first congratulated me but then, as John (someone in my seminar group for the same module-there're a lot of Johns here...) said: "he took it apart". He went through every nook and cranny and was very particular over spelling and grammar. Later that day I happened to be near his office when putting up a poster (for the Fair Trade Forum-I'll tell you about it after it happens) and inside was another guy from my seminar group-though for the life of me I couldn't remember his name. Now this guy makes great arguments and points in our sessions, but there he was, sat next to Pete and the said Lecturer was giving him a lesson on how to use the apostrophe. That's just laughable. He's so...not obsessed, but he cares about good English that much he's happy to give English tutorials.

His problem with my grammer was my incorrect phrasing. When he started poking through my grammar I felt very offended. 'How dare he go through all my lines and teach me old-fashioned sentence structure!' thought I. 'I bet I know bloody more about grammar than 95% of everyone my age in the UK.' Of course, him being educated in a system that stressed importance on the teaching and practice of proper English meant he knows more than me. In hindsight, he made some very good points. "Czechoslovakian middle class members" A quote from the essay. "Members of what?" Pete asked with his charming grin that he uses with anything humorous. Good point, I should be careful of that. He also had a problem with how long I made my sentences. I'm very aware that some of my essay sentences are sooooooo long, ending up being 3/4 lines long (whew!). He points out that the problem with this is that I keep changing the subject of the sentence, which can make the entire line messy. And I'm supposed to begin sentences with however rather than use it to connect sentences. (Whoops! Did another one there. You're never supposed to begin a sentence with 'and', but I've always known that. I never do that in a story or an essay.) Considering I always feel it takes me longer to explain something in German, or I can never say enough in a German sentence, well there's the answer: I say too much in an English sentence.

I'm also quite sure you've noticed that in my entries I never bother with completely correct grammar. Well of course I don't! This is simply a place where I can write things in the fluid creative motion as thoughts emerge in my head. Plus, this gives a vague vision of the jumbles and incoherency of the thoughts in my head. (Uh...that last sentence kinda proves it.)

Going back to the thought of the NHS; I suddenly thought how even though it's government-run, the NHS is still run best like a business. It intensely drains the financial resources after all, but it delivers the public a priceless service. But most things are run like a business: Hospitals, charities, transport companies, even schools. There are just differences between public services, like those listed just now, charities and commercial businesses. Commercial businesses are run in the most efficient manner to gain profit. Public services are run to provide the best services for its clients (be they patients or pupils). Charities seek to make profits to spend on...well, charitable provision. Many commercial businesses will make sure that customers are completely satisfied with services and products because a good reputation means good business. (It should be noted that public transport is currently mostly privatised, so these companies provide public transport in the aim of raising a profit. Bit daft.)

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