How to Be More English?
(6) On Medicine & Healing
The English are not hypochondriacs. In fact the general guideline is 'you're not ill'. But sometimes obviously the denial does not work, and you start doing something about it.
Natural medicine is much less popular than in Poland. None but natural-therapy freaks would buy, not to mention grow or gather herbs for medical purposes. Few people would be advised by their grannies to drink milk with garlic when they have a cold, or to prepare onion syrup for they cough. However, things like acupuncture, massage, or aromatherapy have a better standing than in Poland.
Cold water seems to prevent illness, so it is crucial that your child drinks a jug each day. Some even believe all disease stems from insufficient water intake. This is an interesting theory and perhaps the reason why water is the only liquid popularly poured over fresh wounds or scars, either to cleanse them or prevent infection. Antiseptics are not widely known. They are only used in surgeries and hospitals, although we did not have a chance to check the latter. Plasters are used less often than in Poland, be it justified or not.
If you have one of those colds, which somehow do not give in to the water treatment, you take medications. These include paracetamol and, if you cough, cough lozenges. The latter have the virtue of being tasty; the former has the virtue of curing everything. Or at least cutting out the pain, which for many is the same.
Surprising as it is, there are some rare cases when even paracetamol does not bring relief. Then there is nothing left, but to get some advice from your GP (general practitioner).
NHS (National Health System) providing free medical assistance to anyone in UK works only slightly better than its Polish counterpart. And nurses do not go on strike all that often. Still, you can wait for an important operation for months. It may also happen that you can only schedule your appointment with a GP in a distant future; my friend heard: 'You should be dead by now' when he first got a doctor to examine his condition. Admittedly it left him with a sense of achievement.
Having said all the above, we must underline that the English seem much healthier and fitter than Poles, even if it cannot be said about their cows. Perhaps it is due to the number of magazines on health and fitness, which are not all that well-established in Poland, to the attitude towards sports in school, or to the peer pressure. But the fact remains. Face it.
Put the words into action
Get yourself ill people. Then ignore them. When they complain bring them a glass of water. In case they look like they're dying: paracetamol. In between devising new treatments comprising of combinations of the above, think about your fitness. Buy 'fitness and muscle' mags and read up on diets, workouts, and cardiovascular exercise. And hope you don't get injured during your climbing sessions.
Good luck! If you are still there next week, you will have a good chance to learn how to become more English at school.