(Read $'s as Euros)
Doctor Visit - $20
Fever Reducer- $3.36
Cough Suppressant - $3.21
Throat Spray - $2.64
Anti-biotic - $27.76
Chance for foreigner to milk the nationalized health system….priceless
I went to France for four months and one souvenir I've picked up is this crappy cold-like thing which has manifest in everything from shivers to sweat-all-night fever to cough all night bronchial irritation...and now a very painful rib muscle strain from coughing – no fun. Early on, I decided to seek a professional. Both because French friends seemed to all ask if I had been to the doctor, and because I was advised by mom, amid the email version of motherly coddling and a chicken soup recipe, to “get thee to a doctor!” As a student at the University, I can see doctors here for free. Problem is that no one could see me for a week. Option 2, talk to your friends, and go to a local GP who will charge you $20 to hear about your symptoms, scribble a bunch of info on a piece of notebook paper, listen to your heartbeat, and scrawl off a prescription list of drugs to cover every possible malady within your maladies. I went with option 2 and got an appointment that very day.
Following the brief visit, my friend and I trapsed off to one of hundreds of well-marked pharmacies throughout the city. The pharmacies here don’t offer much in the way of easily-accessable (or recognizable) over-the-counter meds, but they all seem to have a large selection of homeopathic remedies. The friendly pharmacist quickly (and cheaply) filled my list of scrips and I left with a huge sac of medications…each with its own dosage, timing etc. By this time, though the cough lingered, I was starting to feel better already.
Truly, the hero of the story is my friend Maiwenn. She is one of the French students in the program with Jeff at the University. She has already provided me with disinfectant and band-aids for an infected finger laceration. Then cough lozenges for my throat. I then thought I would push my luck by asking her to call the student health clinic…only to find they could not see me for a week. So she and her boyfriend Sylvain quickly called another doctor they know, and had me an appointment that afternoon. She picked me up, waited with me, helped communicate with the physician on my behalf, then accompanied me to the pharmacy pick up my goodies and drove my coughing self home. Incredible selflessness for which I am grateful.
Postscript: Neither Homoepathic nor "real" cough syrop have totally relieved my symptoms yet. Now 10 days from my initial shivers, I'm still dealing with head congestion and a cough, but its really only bad at night. I've also have taken matters into my own hands and picked up 2 more cough syrops from the pharmacy, and am nursing the final few Tylenol Cold & Flu tablets a friend had brought with him from the states. Main ailment now, painful lower rib cage - a residual from last weeks coughing fits I guess.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I wish you all wonderful time with friends and family. There is much to be thankful for indeed. What will us Americanos be doing to celebrate? Well, thanks to my good friend Beth who sent us a halloween / thanksgiving care package, our little trailer is adorned with various Thanksgiving kitsch like decorative napkins, turkey votive candles and a big cardboard turkey. It's probably the closest we'll get to having turkey here though. Since we are oven-less, we may settle for a nice French dinner out of Coq au Vin with potatoes or something. But boy will I miss pumpkin pie.
Final Note: I've tried my darndest to fix some of the broken picture links. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. (And follow instructions from your more technically savvy friends.) So, try your luck again and I hope to have some ones up soon! Oh, and regarding my last post...I bought some clothes yesterday at Zara. Size Large. I've even found jeans (at another store), so all shopping hope is not lost.