Mitigating Risk

I’ve been ill this week, which always pisses me off as I’m usually as fit as a fiddle. The only thing that really puts me down is tonsilitus which despite having had them removed, still seems to get me.

I pride myself on my general health, and while watching the awesome show Booze Britain, it occured to me how many risky things I don’t do. This is not an exhaustive list and other things might occur to me later.

  1. I don’t smoke. I never have, and by that I mean I’ve never so much as taken a single drag from a cigarette in my life. This seems to be pretty rare. I attribute this to basic intelligence and also the fact that my father’s mother died of lung cancer when I was 5. I was thence told that ‘smoking kills you’ which assimilated completely into my mind. Oddly, I don’t even have any friends who smoke regularly, and prior to July 1st 2007 I avoided smokey pubs. Even now people flaunting the smoking laws (particularly on train stations, where there’s no fucking attempt at enforcement) infuriate the shit out of me.
  2. I’ve never taken drugs. Before you pedantic wankers start talking about prescription drugs then yes, obviously, I have taken legal, tested medication. Just this week I’ve been knocking back ibruprofen at least two or three times a day. This is on (historical) doctor’s advice and has no detrimental effects (within reason, obv.). Obviously I’ve never smoked weed, or taken any other kind of pill or illegal stimulant of any kind. Again, the ‘drugs can kill you’ speech early on in life stuck pretty easily.
  3. I don’t lie around in the sun whenever it comes out. If I’m forced to be out in harsh sunlight for more than 30 minutes I’ll wear high-factor protection. I don’t really fancy skin cancer, or even if that’s considered nominal, I know that burnt skin is a pretty crap alternative.
  4. I’m clean. I shower thoroughly once a day. I clean my teeth, I floss. I wear clean clothes, I change my sheets. I hoover, tidy, and keep a reasonable standard of cleanliness where I live. I’m certainly not getting infected by anything from my house. I don’t touch public toilet taps, door handles, etc. and I always wash my hands thoroughly. I’ve never had food poisoning.

    The classic game of world domination

    Risk: Not always a classic game of world domination.

  5. I drive properly, pay attention, and I don’t take any needless risks in the car just to get a further 50ft down the road, like a lot of people seem to. I don’t rev the bollocks off my car. I’ve never been in a traffic accident.
  6. I don’t really drink. As a foolish student I used to drink a lot, although I can count the number of mind-spinningly-can’t-move-can’t-think drunk occasions on less than two hands. Since Uni finished I barely touch anything. I might have a couple of glasses of wine, or the odd pint. It’s pretty rare and I’m really not the kind of person who ‘gets beer in’ on a weekly basis. The last time I bought a crate of stella (for a party) the leftovers remained in my cupboard for months. I’ve never had a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or any significant waterwork problems.
  7. I don’t have any tattoos. Apart from considering them a symptom of self-esteem issues (sorry, tattoo friends), I’m not at risk of skin infections or looking stupid in 5 years time when I get bored of the whatever fanciful thing I decided to stain on myself for life.
  8. I have no piercings. Much like #7, no infection/looking stupid risk. Each to their own, but it’s not for me.

There are so many small things I don’t do (and don’t miss doing) that substantially reduce my risk of all kinds of health-related woes. I’m not especially paranoid about my health, I just generally avoid the things that are empirically shown to be bad, or risky.

This week I didn’t even bother to approach my NHS doctor. It would have taken 2 days to get the appointment (they’re shit around here), at which point I’d probably have been prescribed ibruprofen and some antibiotics. There was no point doing this, as after 2 days of tonsilitus flare-up, you’re at the worst of it and it’ll only start to get better from that point onwards whether you get drugs or not. You’re also not supposed to take antibiotics regularly as it reduces their effectiveness.

I’ve decided to have a crack at applying to BUPA. Just experimentally, I wonder if my self-proclaimed healthy lifestyle is enough to make my membership an affordable affair. Like any kind of insurance it’s based on risk, and my family is genetically healthy. Alright, a couple of grandparents have died of cancer (smoking-related) and there’s one heart attack (lifelong chronic gambler), but otherwise I’m a pretty prime candidate.

The one thing I can’t smugly dance about is my BMI. I’m sure they’ll ask my height and weight which will punch out a BMI figure several points on the side of overweight. What with the whole ‘obesity epidemic’ and related risks (fatty liver, heart disease, etc.) that’ll be a harsh blow against me, fat shit that I am.

So, I’ll postpone this experimental application unless I can shed a few pounds (I’m already on the case) and I’ll report on the results in a follow-up. How cheap is private healthcare to a person who is actually all-round healthy? I was given the idea by a (somewhat rich cunt of a ) mate of mine who leads a similarly healthy lifestyle and he pays £27 a month. He’s also quoted awesome examples of the instant, professional service he’s had on the occasions he actually needed help with something. Since I appear to be getting tonsilitus 2-3 times a year, is something I could do with.

£30 a month is certainly a lot less than other people spend on fags and booze, so the question really becomes how can you not afford it?


  1. Monsieur Christophe says:

    Never trust a man who doesn’t drink, my old nan told me. Advice that’s stuck.