jeudi 23 juin 2011
Day 8 of my confinement.
I can move about more easily now, and removed the gauze coverings of my incisions. Besides Frankennavel, they look fine.

One of my (very few) complaints about french health care is the after-care instructions, that is, instructions for what to do/not to do after your hospital stay. In the US, they give you a ten page document of what to expect, what is normal, what is not normal and you should go see your doctor, what to do, how to take care of your wounds, what not to do, what to eat and drink, what not to eat and drink, etc.

Probably for insurance reasons. That way, if you screw up and re-open your stitches or something, they can say "On the after-care instructions sheet we said not to do any strenuous exercise! Not our fault!" Anyway, here in France, you have to "tirer les vers du nez" (pull the worms from the nose) to get information on when you should take the bandages off, whether the stitches have to be removed or not, when to expect the bloating to go down, etc. All I was able to eek out of the nurses was to take the bandages off after five days.
Me: Five days after what? The operation itself or my release?
Nurse: Five days.
Me: Thanks a bunch. Do I need to have a nurse remove them or are they absorable?
Nurse: Well, what kind did the doctor put in?
Me: How in the world am I supposed to know?

Ah well. Just drives me back to my generalist to find out whether I am, or am not, dying.

Alain is naturally a very funny guy, which is quite painful for me when I try as much as possible to avoid sneezing, coughing, hiccupping, soliciting my ab muscles to sit up, and above all laughing. I am continuously admonishing him "Stop it! Stop being funny! Stop making me laugh I told you! It hurts!"

I rambled back over to my doctor this afternoon so he could check on my progress and to find out whether I can or cannot accompany Alain on his trip to Portugal next week, which we have been planning for several months. He is invited to give a talk at a conference, and I am tagging along.

I got there at the Dr.'s opening time of 15:30, and there were two people in the waiting room before me. Now in France, you have to count at least 20, usually 30 minutes of wait per person ahead of you. Great, I'm in for a wait.

Another woman came in after me and hovered in the hallway, between the waiting room and the doctor's office. I could just tell she wanted to jump ahead in line.
When the patient already in the office came out, she asked the dr. if he would just sign her paper. He told her to ask us if it would be okay. She told (not asked) us that she would be quick, just needed a paper signed and went in.
The other two people were annoyed as well at her behavior. I said "I give her five minutes before I go knock on the door."

They noticed my accent and we started talking. (The usual, where are you from, why are you here, etc.)
Turns out they were a couple (Whew! cuts my waiting time in half.)
After five minutes, I went and knocked on the door. Yeah, well. Let someone punch three holes in her belly and see how well she puts up with someone jumping the line at the doctor's office.
She got the idea and left.

Dealing with the French Lesson #1: Never let someone cut in front of you at the doctor's office in France.

Even if they say it will be quick, they just need cold medicine/a form signed/whatever. They may all well and good have the intention of being quick, but when across from a medicinal ear, French will invariably do their 2nd favorite thing of all, i.e. talk about their health.

(What their 1st favorite thing to do is, I am still undecided on. Please feel free to speculate in the comments section.)

Morale of the story: I'm not dying and can go to Portugal, but need to stay out of the sun and water. Bummer, as that was a large part of the reason for me going.

4 commentaires:

Michel a dit…

I think a favorite topic of French people is the weather. Thanks for sharing the lesson about the doctor's office in case I end up in one when we are in France.

Anonyme a dit…

The French health care system, it is a thing of legend. Fortunately I have not had to deal with it on any of my trips.

I think anything that they can talk about is their favorite thing. My friend bought a vintage jacket while we were there and it had a mysterious insignia on it. We asked the waiter what it was and he didn't know, so he asked the neighboring table. This led to a 45 minute discussion of secret war time organizations and multiple smart phones searching the internet for info. Anything that can be a conversation will be a conversation.

Get well soon!

Starman a dit…

It took me a while, but I learned to never let them cut in front of me no matter what queue I was in.

Samantha Vérant a dit…

My Doctor left two stitches in my arm. I pulled them out myself. Ahhh! Well, I'm glad to see you're on the mend – humor and all.

I don't know how invasive your stitches/surgery was, but my French doctor told me the same thing. However, my other Doctor here, and he's German, told me the doctor was full of crap. He told me to keep the wound dry, clean and covered after swimming. So I brought beseptine with me, cleaned the wound after swimming, and kept it dressed--except when swimming. (We went to L'ile Porquerolles). It didn't even sting. Just use your best judgment.

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