Operation Belt Tightening

Galia is due to go in hospital this tomorrow (Thursday) for another operations to be performed by her cousin. She has been sweating it out for quite a few weeks after her first successful operation and remains in a state of tension knowing that for many weeks afterwards she will be in great pain on recovery.

It has been difficult for Galia as she has had this problem for many years now. I try and tell here that for the first time in over twenty years she will see a light at the end of the long and painful tunnel. Like many Bulgarians Galia thinks of now rather than the future and right now she has to go through the biggest hurdle. It is quite hard to get Bulgarians to think ahead. It is the same with shopping, they will just get enough for today as tomorrow they will go out and do the same, they never thing ahead for the weekend.

The most difficult thing to come to terms with is my perfect health put alongside. I find myself apologising that I have no medical or health problems and that I wish I could take the place of her being ill instead. Galia I don't think understands that as she doesn't say much in response as it something that none of us can do anything about so what's the point in talking about it. She just says that I am very lucky not to be ill. I look at it as not luck but education and common sense looking after yourself that contributes to being healthy.

Galia has also had dental treatment on her teeth a few months ago having three large molars extracted. She was due to have another dose of treatment to have these teeth replaced, but hasn't entertained the idea due to the cost. To put ithe cost in perspective, it equates to over a month of Galia's wages. We live on a day to day basis, no provision for savings and the only reason Galia is having this hospital operation is that it is being performed by family for free. Without a doctor/surgeon in the family, Galia would not have gone ahead with this due to the cost. We don't have a dental surgeon in the family. Even so, we count ourselves very lucky as things stand, thousands of other Bulgarians just carry on with their suffering in poverty without complaint.

Most Bulgarians just don't look upon their diet as anything else other than tasting good, and it does. The cholesterol and calorie counts are incidental. Unless Bulgarians actually participate in competition sports, there is hardly any that do aerobic fitness. The men concentrate on muscle building but that's not really aerobic exercise.

The fittest and most durable people in Bulgaria live on the smallholdings in the villages. These hardy people work manually day in day out and out of those village smallholders the fittest are the women who work harder than the men.

Back to Galia, she will be off work for two months, she has some sick pay due, but it will be much less than she would normally earn so we will have to tighten our belts even further for a while. We are also lucky that the weather should have warmed up over the next few weeks so the heating bills should be nominal right through to the autumn.

We all hope Galia gets through this okay, nothing is worse that being in pain and ill. There really is an end of this in sight now, but for now in the Bulgarian way, we will just take things on a day by day basis.