Picture from Dyno-Rod website
The preventive healthcare system in France works quite well, at least it seems to me. Apart from anything else, as you get past 50, everyone is screened for colo-rectal cancer by means of what I call a shit test. Not a particularly pleasant process but your faeces are screened for blood, and if there is any, off you go for further investigation.
I was due for one of these, but on a visit to the doc (July 4th), I mentioned that the death of my father was occasioned by a cancer that might well have begun in his intestines. No shit test for you then, sonny Jim, off you go for a colonoscopy. One of those situations where I have to tell myself that the only approach is a logical one; if there is a problem, it's best to know so that it can be deal with, and if there isn't, then it's good news anyway.
There is standard set of things to do before such an operation. You are required to make an appointment to see the anaesthetist, whose job it is not only to make sure you don't feel anything during the operation, but also that you wake up again at the end of it. So I decided that a free and frank exchange of information is the best approach here.
The rest of the preparation is about making sure the bowels are empty. A fibre-free diet for a few days, then some laxative. Boy, magnesium oxide is effective, especially in large doses. At least it comes with lemon flavour so it doesn't taste too bad.
The operation itself (July 30th) was a breeze from my perspective, a feeling of being slightly drunk followed by a sleep, and waking up feeling fine. Find anything? A couple of little benign polyps that will be tested, and depending on the result the re-test will be in either three or five years.
After the initial visit to the doctor, the process was handled by the Polyclinique du Maine, that is, as far as I can work out, a private enterprise that sells its services to the government and health insurance agencies. It struck me as being everything a modern hospital should be; clean, efficient, careful, and (as far as I can tell) error-free. And less than 4 weeks, start to finish. Can't be bad.