lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Friday, February 01, 2008

Perils of mental illness in New Zealand

There is a reason why I cherish my husband. On a bleak day when I am feeling particularly miserable, he can make me laugh. This is part of a mail he forwarded.

Three friends from three far-flung corners of the globe corresponding and discussing, as senior citizens are wont to, ailments. Two of the friends have ailing wives undergoing treatment. The third had a few things to say:

One nasty thought that occurs to me is cost -- do you (all) have insurance to cover these things? As I commented before, the NZ health service is perhaps in rather better shape than the UK one, partly because you pay for visits to the doctor and for (part of the cost of) prescriptions, and also because there are good private hospitals that you can choose to go to for lesser ailments without any adverse consequences for your public entitlement; but it is underfunded for its purpose and there are consequent scandals. For instance, at the moment there is no paediatric oncologist in Wellington.

In Dunedin a few years ago, they hired, presumably in desperation, as head of psychiatry a fellow from South Africa who turned out later (if I remember correctly) to have murdered his wife; then, once here, he murdered her replacement. Then his son, also a psychiatrist I think, was found guilty of topping his spouse back in SA. I suppose it could be argued that they had hands-on experience of mental illness. There was also the supposedly Polish female psychiatrist (the name she was using was Linda Astor, not very Polish) who was employed here (in Lower Hutt, actually) and turned out -- after issuing a report that disastrously released some psychopath from detention -- to be neither a qualified psychiatrist nor female, but rather a former medical student, Polish to be sure, who is, as we now say, "transgender", and whose original name was quite different.

I sincerely hope none of my readers will need the services of a shrink while visiting or living in New Zealand.



Anonymous Ash said...

Good grief! K has some interesting friends.

9:58 pm  
Blogger Kshama said...

Hilarious. Is it true???

9:51 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Ash- K has an interesting wife, too. So there.

Kshama- The Linda Astor story is widely reported, so I assume the earlier tale is true too. It is scary to contemplate, though. :-)

5:25 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Very very scary is right, Lali:)

10:24 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

That does it. Never will New Zealand be honoured by my pretty feet (or streetworn footware, if you're particular. And you tend to be).

However, should you find youself with nothing to do on a summer evening late, I can regale you with stories of our own Calcutta Medical College. The one which allows entrance only to JEE toppers. You will notte be amused.

10:19 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Dipali- Yeah, it is scary

Rimi- Do tell. Come and regale me with stories which I will top, heh. But, yes; let's not go to NZ. :-)

10:05 pm  
Blogger narendra shenoy said...

"I suppose it could be argued that they had hands-on experience of mental illness". :D)).

I'm fascinated with people who require emergency psychiatric treatment when on vacation. I know of one guy who recently checked out a shrink on a visit to Delhi from the US. The shrink apparently tried to pinch his supply of Prozac. Ah, well, anecdotes.

Nice post, will keep dropping in from time to time. When I run out of Prozac, I suppose.

5:43 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Narendra- Hey, you are supposed to say, you are better than Prozac, Lali, I am a convert.

But still. Welcome, and do drop in again. :-)

6:02 pm  

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