Thursday, September 07, 2006


I haven't written much about my job this summer in Nice, because I don't think it is appropriate. I did, however, spend my first night in a hospital, ever. The kids attending the summer program were . . . well, let's say they liked to have your attention. All the time.

So when you get sick and throw up, you think you have appendicitis, and you drag your counselor to the hospital. In the US, if you have appendicitis, they rush you into the operating room and cut that baby right out! In France, as I learned, you are taken under continuous observation for 12 hours. Since we arrived at 3:30pm, that meant we got to spend the night! Oh, yeah. I slept in the room with my charge, since she couldn't speak French very well. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I'm sure it was better than leaving her alone, since we were woken at 1am to get a sonogram and again at 6am for a blood sample... and again at 8am when a whole troupe of doctors and interns walked in to practice their English and diagnosis skills. We slept on the emergency ward, which meant we got to hear a patient moaning all night long. My poor girl was really scared (and I was kind of freaked out, too!) until I heard the nurses arguing with him. He kept asking for methadone, and they kept saying no . . . "and if Monsieur doesn't quiet down, we'll tie him down!" After that we slept well, knowing that the recovering drug addict would be a bit calmer with the nurses watching over him. That night in the hospital cost 900 Euros.

I went to the hospital one other time in July. This time it was more serious, although we didn't spend the night. Another girl had an athsma attack, so we called the ambulance. I rode with her in it, and when we arrived everything had passed. We did have to wait in emergency room admissions, though, and saw a couple of people who had been in a car accident walk by us, bleeding from the head. We spent about three hours at the hospital this time, enough to see a doctor who asked if there was carpet in the dorms where we slept. And--it was totally free, since we only used the ambulance resources!

Although I didn't go to the doctor very often in France, and never to the hospital, I miss the health care. Ahhh well! At least I get cheap dental cleaning from the school of dental hygiene here at ODU!


BB said...

I wanted to know what happened at the hospital, but I didn't know how I should ask. Thanks!

Gem said...

Oh BB, you can ask me whatever you want!