Well it was only a matter of time before we needed to activate our E111 at the local state hospital in the small town of Preveza due to a slip in a small ferry boat and a broken wrist. The captain thought I had had too much to drink when I threw up with shock and doused me with a full bottle of water to 'revive' me. Chances of a compensation claim succeeding in the Greek courts before I die? Nil.

So far so run of the mill but without a working knowledge of modern Greek, Preveza's A and E posed a challenge on a Saturday night, a classic case of going to get plastered rather than already bring so.

A lack of basic facilities and staff organisation and motivation meant progress was slow and unfathomable, at least to me, but help was at hand. Step forward our trusty taxi driver come medical expert or so he said.

So the lunatics took over. Our taxi driver began forceful negotiations with all departments involved, barging through every door marked no entry in order to push things along, popping up with my X-rays and offering his expert medical opinion: 'just a small fracture' as he pulled up his t-shirt to reveal and discuss his gallstone scars. I would still be there without his support. The orthopaedic doctor was one of the most objectionable persons I have had the misfortune to do business with, unlike every other Greek we met. A very sad man and terrible colleague to his hen-pecked staff.

Then it was my turn to take over, assisting an elderly German-speaking Greek woman getting no official treatment for her nasty insect bite. I produced my trusty insect repellant and checked she wasn't extremely thirsty and that her skin wasn't heating up or revealing red blotches, from my experience an early indication of cellulitis. She left happy with the service offered, no other having been forthcoming. I hope she's still alive.

P.S. All above typed with only working finger on plastered left hand.

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