Friday, March 9, 2012

of medical services....

When we first came to France one of the first tasks that faced us was our registration for medical care. I was very scared about this but as I recorded in an earlier blog, all went well! We were really delighted when through the post came a letter from them at the beginning of last week to inform us that we have been accepted for health care under a reciprocal agreement with the UK and as a temporary measure here was a letter containing our health insurance number - they are much longer than those in the UK so I am pleased to say that as long as we go to the doctor armed with the number we will get the treatment we need.
You always hope that you won't need to use it, but for the last few days I have really felt unwell. I've struggled on but took to a warm bed and hot water bottle whenever I could. I was off food ( you can tell how much - I've lost over a kilo this week) and could not face tea, cereal with milk and found it very difficult to eat much at all. I began to feel life was worth living again on Wednesday but still felt distinctly unwell. Had I been in England I would have been at my local surgery on Tuesday morning, but I just kept hoping that I would not have to explain in my very basic and gappy French what the problem was...Today I surrendered. With some trepidation we went to the new Health centre that has just opened in Cluny. Recently the doctors of the area have come together under one roof and so you can walk in and ask for an appointment. (Rendezvous!) The receptionist spoke a little English which put us more at ease; plein, plein she said - full this morning but come back at 3:15 and you can see the temporay doctor as one is on holiday. She wrote it down for me as I am useless at numbers and between Joe and I we were able to give our French phone number. She offered us the chance to do it in English but we have been practising this for a couple of weeks so we could do it!
Back to Cluny for 3:15 and a very helpful receptionist pointed to upstairs and said a droit a droit! I found several others waiting and patted myself on the back when a woman turned and asked what time my appointment was and I was able to answer in French without first thinking in English!
Now I had always thought doctors looked young, but the medicin supplimentaire (the locum I think) was positively a teen-ager. She called me in and I took with me a sheaf of papers including a translation of my symptoms which she thankfully understood...she took down all my details including the medications I was already on, examined me and then explained what was wrong. After an unhurried 20 minutes she ushered me out with precriptions for 3 different tablets, a form to take to the medical labs and instructions not to start on the medication until I had been to the lab. I was so impressed...the chemist was also extremely helpful as was the lab.
The Maison de Sante (health centre) Cluny
So my first brush with the French health system worked well. I took the paper work from the Assurance Maladie and now I have to complete my claim form for them so I can re-coup a proportion back. I will consult our lovely English friends to find out which bits I need to complete!
And I have to return for my test results on Monday which will also be sent to the doctor automatically...I hope by then that the medication will have kicked in and I'll be as good as new - especially as the furniture van arrives on Monday.....

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