Friday, November 18, 2005

Doctor, Doctor!

Yesterday, I went to the doctor. It was probably the best of my medical experiences in France, although there was one major drawback: America bashing! Let me explain.

I made an appointment for 11:30am. I arrived 15 minutes early, armed with a book, ready to wait for a loooooooong time. However, I was seen immediately, and was out even before 11:30! The docteur was a woman, specializing in sports medicine, although she is obviously qualified to do general check-ups. We spoke about my medical history, and then she listened to my heartbeat and breathing, took my blood pressure, and felt my legs. She told me, "
Do you play any sports? I didn't think so! We French are very skinny. You, mademoiselle, have to be very careful about your weight. It's not like America here! No eating between meals, you can have 4 a day--that is American, right? In France, we only eat 3. 3 meals a day is best."

But, but . . . ! I wanted to protest, "Just because I'm American doesn't mean that it's in my genes to be obese! And besides, we only eat 3 meals a day." It wasn't the worst I've ever experienced. Living in France has given me an idea of what it is like to be an immigrant in the US, and although it is sometimes disagreeable, it is always enlightening.

Before I left, she wrote me prescriptions. Besides my usual, she asked if I wanted anything else. I was extremely surprised! Why would a doctor ask me if I wanted another prescription? and then I remembered--in France, to get Advil or Tylenol or Asp
égic (plain aspirin--Jube's favorite), you have to have a prescription. That is the reason that the French go to the doctor for every little cold--because they need Dimetap! Unfortunately, before I had managed to grasp the reason for the question, I had confusedly mumbled, "Non, merci." Luckily I have enough Advil in stock to keep me for awhile!

UPDATE: No, you don't NEED a prescription to get Tylenol or Advil, you just have to ask the pharmacist and she will give it to you. It's BETTER to have a prescription because then it is reimbursed by the government.


Jube said...

American bashing? Pffft. I'm really sorry to say this, but this post is not as good as the previous ones. It sounds too much like those American bloggers who indulge in reporting (and swelling on) all the negative aspects of their stay abroad which end up being something like 10 percent of their stay, but give the impression that it is 100 percent horrible.

It's too bad because I usually value a critical attitude towards my country.
But I'm sure your next posts will be as witty as the previous ones, and won't follow the facile criticism that foreigners tend to enjoy when they blog about France.

Karina said...

i love france


otherwise i wouldn't still be here!

jube said...

I meant dwelling, not swelling, of course.

Gem said...

I don't think that the doctor was anti-American. It's just difficult to be stereotyped (as I'm sure you understand, Jube!). However, as I said, these experiences are eye-opening, although I could live without them ;)

Mrs. B in Paris said...

Did you tell her she needed to be careful? Because Americans, they are all nice. In America, you can't just be a bitch all the time and say mean things to people because of stereotypes. Rudeness is French, non? In America, we are not rude. Not rude is best.


You are not obese or fat or anything like that. Thanks for the post!

fraise said...

You most certainly can get Nurofen (ibuprofen, same thing as Advil) and Aspégic without a prescription :) I've never had a prescription for any of them and was always able to get them! Just ask at the counter is all.

Gem said...

it's funny, whenever we visit Jube's family, they give him two big boxes of aspegic--because it is a prescription and he doesn't go to the doctor much. I'll have to inform them that you just have to ask.

Gem said...

I was wrong! They get the prescriptions for aspegic so it will be reimbursed. Jube says it's a sneaky way to get out of paying for it. Voila!