Otago Daily Times

It is hip to think about having health insurance


I READ your hip surgery article this morning (Weekend Mix, 16.1.21) and it was like reading my own story.

I had 10 years of misery with arthritis and cysts in both hips. I finally couldn’t stand it any more and had both replaced in 2010 (February and October).

They wanted me to wait as long as possible because I was so young (50). A youth spent in heavy farmwork no doubt contribute­d to the grim situation in which I found myself.

Like Bruce Munro, I have health insurance and once I became ‘‘The Terminator’’, as my partner calls me, or the ‘‘Bionic Woman’’, as I call me, I praised the $45,000 payout that saved my life, really.

I would have been in a wheelchair otherwise — I was already dependent on crutches and underweigh­t. I deplore the fact that the health service (what an oxymoron) has degraded to the point where healthy and productive citizens are left to rot for lack of care.

David GwynneJone­s was my surgeon at Mercy Hospital and I was so happy to have him.

I still have my medical insurance (since I was 20) and it will be the last expense to go if I have to tighten my belt in the future. The thought of having to wait so long for help would do my head in.

Pat Duffy


Weed confusion

DANDELION or not? This question arises from the tall St Clair weed

(ODT, 29.12.20), discussed further by M. Sabonadier­e (Letters, 19.1.21), who doubts its identity as a dandelion.

From the original photo, I figured it to be a large seeding specimen of sow thistle, Sonchus oleraceus.

Given that dandelions have been treated as edibles, at least in times of hardship, what about the sow thistles?

Well, the native sow thistle, S. kirkii,

still to be found occasional­ly on coastal banks, was eaten by Maori, and their name, puha, has been applied also to the two Eurasian weedy species which have been here since around 1832.

I would not eat an old seeding sow thistle, but have just nibbled the young foliage, which is not bitter, so long as you avoid the leaf stalks that have milky sap, like those of an ageing lettuce.

A further credence for the edibility of puha, perhaps not altogether PC these days, is that Rod Derrett song from the 1960s: about a big ‘‘boilup’’ of puha and Pakeha.

Peter Johnson

Broad Bay

Traffic plan

THE ODT editorial (19.1.21) on the plans to change the oneway system to twoway, captures the situation well.

If the plans proceed, it means opinion has precedence over data, knowledge and the expertise of organisati­ons like the AA and the consultant report commission­ed by the DCC itself.

It also says decisionma­king has become uncoupled from those realities, and down that path does not central government interventi­on lie?

David Cohen


 ?? PHOTO: SUPPLIED ?? Spot the difference . . . From left, a younger sow thistle, prickly sow thistle (S. asper) and a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
PHOTO: SUPPLIED Spot the difference . . . From left, a younger sow thistle, prickly sow thistle (S. asper) and a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).

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