03 December 2006

Litvinenko - Now Its Personal

Saturday, day of rest etc was ruined and wasted and your Ruminator finished the day truly pissed off and not out enjoying himself.

It started on Friday evening.  Having failed to get to the gym due to a power failure in the building I returned home to discover that I am a valued BA customer.  Not so valued that they were willing to tell me directly that I had flown back and forth to the UK three times on planes that have, or had traces of Polonium 210 on them.  To do that you need to know which BA flight leaves at around 09.00 and around 13.00 from London and similarly around 17.00 and 21.00 from Moscow and compare with your own schedule.

Note to BA;  As a valued customer I don't particularly care that you have two airplanes grounded and one that has just been un-grounded (which is not the same as taking off).  If I was daft enough to be a shareholder, I would care about planes that are stuck on the ground.  As a person, I want to know that BA would go out of its way to let me know that I was on a plane that is deemed to be a sufficient health hazard that no other passengers were allowed to fly on it.

Having worked out that I was on a plane three times which is deemed not to be safe, I wanted to know what risks I was exposed to and what should be done to confirm that I was not sick.  NHS direct (the UK's public health call centre) the first place the BA website directs you to knew nothing and acknowledged that they knew nothing despite being the first place to call.  Next step was Moscow's own European Medical Centre, which was better prepared, if only to tell me to go to Hospital Number 6 to be tested.  No explanation of the risks.

Fortunately my brother-in-law poisons people professionally; he's an hematologist oncologist with a speciality in bone marrow transplants.  The good news is that I would have had to have been unbelievably unlucky to have suffered any ill-consequences as I did not eat any part of the plane or borrow anybody's drink.  Polonium-210 is an alpha-emitter.  In short it does have enough power to penetrate your skin and clothes are an even better barrier.  You can't get ill from just being around it, or it you.  It has to get in to you and directly attack vital organs.

Being the caring sharing type he did point out that I should just go out and enjoy life as there was nothing that could be done anyway.  Advice I took to heart.  Saturday was a slow start.

But as I would rather know than assume I found Hospital Number 6 knows a little about radiation poisoning as a result of the Chernobyl-related work that it did.  It was even prepared for stupid foreigners who insisted on flying BA.  Well as prepared as a Russian hospital can be.

I arrived at around 12.00.  I left at 17.00.  What is it about medical services worldwide which allow time to disappear in to a Dr. Who-like Tardis.  It's at times like this that you realise how poor your grasp of the language is.  Formal Russian-lessons and I parted ways at verbs of motion.  So answering the question when I flew to and from the UK were somewhat complicated by the fact that the first time I left Moscow I apparently was not supposed to come back, which I promptly did of course, and then left again.  And whilst I did return, it was not on a contaminated plane.  One hour gone.  Wait thirty minutes; piss in to jar.  Wait one hour.  Offer to speed the process with oodles of rubles.  Have full body check; nice doctors.  Told to wait.  Do so (thank goodness for iPods).  Wait in queue for blood test.  Wait.  Wait some more.  Get told to go home.  Death more likely imminent from traveling to and from the hospital than radiation.

In case I was unclear above, No. 6 is an oncology hospital.  Generally not great places to spend an afternoon.  As the brother-in-law pointed out I was more likely to be ill as a result of worrying about being ill than as a result of Polonium poisoning.

So no more Litvinenko stories here until they catch the man, behind the man who poisoned Mr. L.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is your country (Russia) controlled by a group of KGB thugs, and ex-military hardliners? They operate more like a mafia group/criminal gang- (If they are responsible for these killings). Why has Russia regressed back to Soviet practices?
What are the true intentions of these mysterious men (Putin & Company)? They seem to be out of control. And is there any chance that things will ever change for the better there…and that Russia will want to seek Democracy and will want to truly become a part of the world of civilized nations? Is it possible for Russia and the Western World to have friendlier relations?


Interesting Commentary Here:
http://mirroronamerica.blogspot.com/2006/11/britian-and-eu-face-diplomatic-dilemma.html

KjoyM said...

The questions raised above are good but pointless because no one really knows. Russia is what it is. The good news is that with it's recent entry into the WTO, there will be even more pressure for them to clean up their act? Will they? Maybe. This is Russia after all.

FYI, I linked to your post from my blog on Russia: http://kjoym.blogspot.com/

03 December 2006

Litvinenko - Now Its Personal

Saturday, day of rest etc was ruined and wasted and your Ruminator finished the day truly pissed off and not out enjoying himself.

It started on Friday evening.  Having failed to get to the gym due to a power failure in the building I returned home to discover that I am a valued BA customer.  Not so valued that they were willing to tell me directly that I had flown back and forth to the UK three times on planes that have, or had traces of Polonium 210 on them.  To do that you need to know which BA flight leaves at around 09.00 and around 13.00 from London and similarly around 17.00 and 21.00 from Moscow and compare with your own schedule.

Note to BA;  As a valued customer I don't particularly care that you have two airplanes grounded and one that has just been un-grounded (which is not the same as taking off).  If I was daft enough to be a shareholder, I would care about planes that are stuck on the ground.  As a person, I want to know that BA would go out of its way to let me know that I was on a plane that is deemed to be a sufficient health hazard that no other passengers were allowed to fly on it.

Having worked out that I was on a plane three times which is deemed not to be safe, I wanted to know what risks I was exposed to and what should be done to confirm that I was not sick.  NHS direct (the UK's public health call centre) the first place the BA website directs you to knew nothing and acknowledged that they knew nothing despite being the first place to call.  Next step was Moscow's own European Medical Centre, which was better prepared, if only to tell me to go to Hospital Number 6 to be tested.  No explanation of the risks.

Fortunately my brother-in-law poisons people professionally; he's an hematologist oncologist with a speciality in bone marrow transplants.  The good news is that I would have had to have been unbelievably unlucky to have suffered any ill-consequences as I did not eat any part of the plane or borrow anybody's drink.  Polonium-210 is an alpha-emitter.  In short it does have enough power to penetrate your skin and clothes are an even better barrier.  You can't get ill from just being around it, or it you.  It has to get in to you and directly attack vital organs.

Being the caring sharing type he did point out that I should just go out and enjoy life as there was nothing that could be done anyway.  Advice I took to heart.  Saturday was a slow start.

But as I would rather know than assume I found Hospital Number 6 knows a little about radiation poisoning as a result of the Chernobyl-related work that it did.  It was even prepared for stupid foreigners who insisted on flying BA.  Well as prepared as a Russian hospital can be.

I arrived at around 12.00.  I left at 17.00.  What is it about medical services worldwide which allow time to disappear in to a Dr. Who-like Tardis.  It's at times like this that you realise how poor your grasp of the language is.  Formal Russian-lessons and I parted ways at verbs of motion.  So answering the question when I flew to and from the UK were somewhat complicated by the fact that the first time I left Moscow I apparently was not supposed to come back, which I promptly did of course, and then left again.  And whilst I did return, it was not on a contaminated plane.  One hour gone.  Wait thirty minutes; piss in to jar.  Wait one hour.  Offer to speed the process with oodles of rubles.  Have full body check; nice doctors.  Told to wait.  Do so (thank goodness for iPods).  Wait in queue for blood test.  Wait.  Wait some more.  Get told to go home.  Death more likely imminent from traveling to and from the hospital than radiation.

In case I was unclear above, No. 6 is an oncology hospital.  Generally not great places to spend an afternoon.  As the brother-in-law pointed out I was more likely to be ill as a result of worrying about being ill than as a result of Polonium poisoning.

So no more Litvinenko stories here until they catch the man, behind the man who poisoned Mr. L.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is your country (Russia) controlled by a group of KGB thugs, and ex-military hardliners? They operate more like a mafia group/criminal gang- (If they are responsible for these killings). Why has Russia regressed back to Soviet practices?
What are the true intentions of these mysterious men (Putin & Company)? They seem to be out of control. And is there any chance that things will ever change for the better there…and that Russia will want to seek Democracy and will want to truly become a part of the world of civilized nations? Is it possible for Russia and the Western World to have friendlier relations?


Interesting Commentary Here:
http://mirroronamerica.blogspot.com/2006/11/britian-and-eu-face-diplomatic-dilemma.html

KjoyM said...

The questions raised above are good but pointless because no one really knows. Russia is what it is. The good news is that with it's recent entry into the WTO, there will be even more pressure for them to clean up their act? Will they? Maybe. This is Russia after all.

FYI, I linked to your post from my blog on Russia: http://kjoym.blogspot.com/