22.10.2009 - 22.10.2009 55 °F
I had heard all the horror stories of these French Doctors. "They are creepy" "They take your temperature the old fashioned way". But, I didn't care; I couldn't care. I had reached the end of the rope. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to go to the Doctor.
I woke up right before noon. I had to make the decision between class at 1pm or Doctor. I ultimately chose Doctor because if I didn't go today I wouldn't be able to go until Monday. I would have had to call a Doctor for a Home Visit or go to the Hospital. Neither of which I really wanted to do. So, I went today.
I called Peggy at IES this morning and said I would like to go to the Doctor. She told me to ride the Metro over to the IES center and she would tell me how to get to the doctor. I did that and when I got there she had a map printed out for me and instructions as to what to do when I got there. It is times like this that I am thankful for IES. Wofford really stressed that I go abroad through IES but with their price tag being significantly higher, I debated it. Most other companies just make all the arrangements and leave you, with no on site support during your stay. It is nice having IES a metro ride away with all of their resources and information. They are worth every penny.
So map and instructions in hand, I ventured out to find the Doctor. It seems as though the doctor takes a three hour lunch break, so I had to wait until three. Peggy suggested arriving at 2:30pm though as to get in the front of the line. A good suggestion as by the time three rolled around there was 2 people ahead of me and 6 people behind me.
It was not hard to find the building but finding the office proved to be quite difficult. The instructions read "1st floor door on the left"... simple right? Well, today, not for me. I walked in and there were no doors. I stood there for a few minutes hoping that someone would come in and I could ask for help. Nobody came. I went outside and looked at the building again to make sure I was in the right place. It wasn't until about 5 minutes later that my brain turned on and reminded me that in France the second floor is the 1st floor and the main floor is floor zero. Well, I went up the stairs and there it was the door on the left.
I pushed the button for the doctor and the door was unlocked. I went in and took a seat in the very simple waiting room. There was no receptionist and no forms to fill out. You simply wait and about every 20-30 minutes the doctor opens up his door and the next person goes in. I was seen about 4pm. By the time I was seen the entire waiting room, of about 15 chairs, was filled. I am glad Peggy advised me to come early!
To my relief the doctor spoke pretty good English. I had a seat in his office, with his desk and all his paperwork. He asked me what was wrong and I told him. He listened to my breathing and said "looks to be the French virus" which to me means absolutely nothing. He asked me if I was allergic to any medicine. I said "No" and he wrote me two prescriptions. One is an asthma inhaler for the cough and the other is a higher grade of cough syrup. Since he has no secretary, he also answers all phone calls. He had three while I was in there. There was no real exam, no tests, and no temperature taking (to my relief!)
In between phone calls he managed to fill out a bill for me. I have health insurance coverage in France but I must first pay the bill and then submit it for reimbursement. So I had to pay for a doctor visit as if I had no insurance coverage. The bill for 15 minutes.... 25 euros. In the United States that would probably have just been the copay. The entire visit would have likely been in excess of $150. I guess that is why he has no secretary or receptionist, he can't afford it.
I handed him 30 euros. He opened up his wallet and took out a 5 euro bill and handed me my change. That made me laugh.
I then went down the street to the pharmacy to have my prescriptions filled. This is where the problems began. I consider myself to be decent in French at this point. I can spend my day not speaking any English if I choose to, but being sick my brain was in no state to process speaking French. I handed the pharmacist my prescription and she began entering it into the computer. She couldn't read my name so I wrote it in big letter on a piece of paper. Then she started asking me all of these questions, none of which I understood. She would just repeat the same thing over and over, as if that was supposed to help. At one point she said "United States" I said "yes" and she said "okay" and that was that. Remember, technically I am buying this medicine without insurance. The price of an Asthma inhaler and cough syrup without insurance 34 euros. Again, probably would have covered the copay in the United States. I handed her my credit card and off I went. I stopped by IES to submit my receipts for reimbursement. There was some paperwork to fill out and fax to the insurance company and that was it.
I have taken the medicine and took a nap. It seems to be helping a little bit. Hopefully in the morning I will feel much better. My instructions were to get sleep and drink a lot of liquids.
I hope to better by Saturday as my friends and I had been planning to do go to an event that I have been looking forward to. It would really make great blog material. I hope to make it there.