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Health Special

Health is man’s most valuable good—at a price
Frank Ebbecke

I
t was close to midnight. It was in a classy downtown restaurant. Food, drinks and company had been just excellent. However, health far less. In fact, absolutely lousy. Like never ever before in life. Terrible abdominal pain. To the extent that it was almost impossible to raise the body from the chair. A strange object had developed inside over the previous months. Now it had grown big like a fist. Felt stone-hard. A friend helped me up and into his car. The fast drive did lead straight into a hospital— the EMC, the European Medical Centre in Moscow’s Spiridonievsky Pereoluk (and lately also established near Olympiisky Prospect). Within an hour or two the diagnosis. As clear as frightening. A deadly serious abscess. Emergency escape to the probably “safer” German home-land for treatment? No way. The nasty thing had to be removed. Here and now. And it was. Mid-day the same day. In a difficult three-hour operation. The saviour was Pierre Konchalovsky, head surgeon. The patient was me.

Today I regard him as a true friend. Dr. Pjotr “Pierre” Konchalovsky. Having studied and practiced in Paris/France for one-and-a-half decades. And as gifted and experienced as a personable and pleasant man. Only a few hours after the operation he was sitting at my bedside. We celebrated a little together. With a sip of my preferred JD Bourbon and a few puffs from my favourite cigarette brand. He knew that I was a somewhat lonely. A single ex-pat in the big city and in some trouble. He spent lots of time with me the following days. To listen, to advise, to help. Then and afterwards.

I happily survived. And again a second time two years later when I suffered from diverticulitis. A not that easy operation, too. In the meantime the couple of unavoidable, heavy scars in my belly area can hardly be recognized. Fit for beachwear. A master surgeon’s work. Today I feel physically better than ever. And on the occasion of some medical routine checks back home, colleagues were even ready to praise their Russian fellow-doctor’s performance.

Dr Pierre Konchalevsky

Right, but of course the whole procedure and the about ten days’ convalescence each time did cost an arm and a leg. The price of a mid-size imported car. Finally, my long-time, quite costly monthly insurance payments paid off. The successful operation, the professional nursing services, the state-ofthe- art medical equipment, the overall healing atmosphere. Sure, there are thousands of clinics and thousands of doctors of every kind in Russia’s capital and across the country. And, sure, they heal and help whatever they can. But as a mere Western ex-pat trying to play it probably a little safer (especially if you are not in command of the language that well) the EMC and some other American, British, French medical service institutions are pretty healthy alternatives. They don’t hurt your pocket that much. Provided you are properly insured. And in the end you just have to make sure you get back on your feet, right?

“Moscow doesn’t believe in tears,” as the title of a Soviet film classic says. But Moscow can make you sick. I know. So, if something health-wise ever goes wrong: I personally know where I get help. From the best. From personal experience.







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