This weekend David and I both had the opportunity to experience adventures in ill-health while abroad! Yippee. Saturday evening David developed some sort of stomach bug, complete with fever and chills, and was just sick enough for me to start freaking out about my lack of preparedness for health issues while here. Neither of us is prone to sickness, so I didn’t really think I had to have that all figured out. We have international health insurance because it was required for the long-stay visa, but other than knowing where to find a few pharmacies, I felt pretty ill-equipped. I do know 911 is useless here. Instead, you call 15 for medical emergencies, 17 for the police, and 18 (or 112–don’t ask me, I have no idea) for the fire department.
Fortunately, no emergency services were required, and David is on the mend. But just when he was starting to feel better yesterday, I started feeling unwell–I’ll spare you the details–and became increasing convinced that I’d have to miss my first day back at school and would somehow need to find a doctor and get myself there, since antibiotics would be required to get me back to health. I remembered the welcome packet for school (yes, I’m one of those people who read things like that) had a page of emergency contact information, so I was able to find a clinic half an hour’s walk from the house. It’s just around the corner from here (below):
I was still in a bit of a panic, since although my French is definitely improving, I’m not great at talking on the phone, but I felt I should call the school to let them know I could not return today, and then I had to call to get an appointment with a doctor. I managed both, in a rather bumbling, incoherent way, admittedly, but . . . yay . . . gold star for me.
I’ve read somewhere that doctor’s appointments in France are rather different than those in the states. Don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ve read that you have to take off all your clothes and sit there, awkward and freezing, on the examining table without so much a tissue: no gown, no drape, naked as the day you were born. And while it is true that things were rather different–no nurse checking my blood pressure, taking my pulse, making me stand on the scale, no nurse at all, in fact, and best of all, ZERO paperwork–I’m happy to report, no nudity was required. The doctor was the one to fetch me from the waiting room, and we walked through a little courtyard to a small exam room, but he sat at a little desk and I sat in a chair on the other side and we had a conversation–flipping between English and French as either of us lacked the necessary vocabulary. Then he explained the prescription he was giving me–three pills, take one a day, avoid the sun, drink LOTS of water–then asked me for 23 euros, shook my hand and showed me out.
I retrieved David from a bench in Place de Verdun and we went to the pharmacy where I turned in my prescription and was immediately given the packet of pills–cost 13 euros 56 centimes. Done and done in about 20 minutes and for about 40 bucks USD. Love it. We, however, did not feel quite well enough for lunch here:
And while I certainly would have preferred that neither of us get sick, it was one more fear conquered–okay, two–the phone AND the doctor. Here’s hoping your fears can be conquered without the need for ill-health.