Friday, 6 November 2009

French Healthcare System Experienced

Remember, remember the 5th of November. Yes because that's the day that son number 3 got hospitalised with breathing issues. Now anyone that knows our family will know that this is just what happens with our guys but this time was a fair bit more scary as we were dealing with a different system than the NHS and all in French obviously.....

S had had a cough since the Sunday - a horrible nasty barking sort of cough. Although it sounded nasty we weren't too worried as we thought it was croup so we just did the steamy bathroom/fresh air number and it seemed to ease it. Of course, this was all in the middle of the night as coughs always seem to get worse at night. Boy, were we tired!

We decided that it might be a good idea to get registered with a doctor so we tootled off to La Ferte and got signed up. We just mentioned that S had this bad cough so the doctor listened to his chest. All of a sudden she was in a panic saying that it was very serious and that he was in serious danger of choking and that we needed to get to the hospital in Ferte 'toute suite et tres vite' (sorry my keyboard is not set up to easily do accents and graves on the top of French words). She said that she didn't have any medication that would work fast enough and that he would need to be given it intravenously and would have to stay in hospital overnight. She gave us a letter and we hurried to the hospital up the road - to be told that they don't have a pediatrics department and that we'd have to go to Le Mans!!!!!! Didn't she know this!!!!!

Anyway, he was seen immediately on arrival at the hospital in Le Mans. Well immediately after dealing with all the paperwork - the French LOVE paperwork!!! I went up to the reception desk and told our story in my failing French. The officious lady waited until I was blue in the face trying to explain our predicament then said that it wasn't her desk that we needed, I'd need to go to the one opposite. So over we went and regugitated the story. Oh Ok they said, looked at the letter, gave us another piece of paper then said that we'd need to go back to the desk opposite to get registered and when we'd done that, come back to this desk. Feeling tired yet?? After jumping through all the paperwork/desk hoops S was put on an inhaler for two hours. That was fun, trying to keep a face mask on an 8 month old baby for 2 hours. However, after the ordeal he was greatly improved, a bot snotty but greatly improved.

So talking of snotty, the nurse came in with this horrible sryinge thing and a wad of cloth and said that she'd just do this toillette de nez, some yucky thing they do to clear a baby's nasal passages. They squirt some kind of liquid up the baby's nose at high speed and then clean up what comes out. I was horrified and said no thanks. On recounting our story to various Mums since, it seems like this toillette de nez is a regular part of many babies lives - for many, a daily ritual, a necessary sanitary hygiene thing, an obsession!!! Geez they've even got machines to do the high speed bit, like cute little Tomy Winnie the Pooh machines Ben noticed whilst collecting S's prescription. To my mind it's barbaric and useless anyway as the gunk just comes back in minutes.

Anyway we came home with some medication, including an antibiotic. He has been as miserable as sin since we gave him the first dose at lunchtime today and has just vomitted all over me BIG time. I guess he's allergic to Amoxycillin then! He's happy now and I won't be giving him any more of that.

I asked the hospital if we could have S's mask after he'd finished with it so R and B are now happily playing Dolls Hospital with it plus a ripped up sheet for bandages. Gosh I remember playing that when I was little.

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