Monday, April 16, 2018

My First Doctor Appointment in France

I successfully visited the doctor in France, but truthfully, even now, I have no idea how to get into her building.
The doctor's office is located on the Cours Mirabeau. Tres chic!
I didn't go early because articles I read talked about doctors always being late because they spend one-on-one time with patients in France, so I walked up to the outer gates at 4:28 for a 4:30 appointment. That's when I realized that I had no idea how to get into the outer gates.
I could read on the name plate that she was in building B, in the RDC (rez de chausseé), but I looked at the code and wondered what to enter.
I had called her that morning on her phone number, which was also listed.
I assailed a woman walking past, "Madame!" And I asked her in French what code to push. As we started to examine her placard on the wall, another woman entered a code and pushed open the gate!
Voilà! I could enter. I scurried after her while waving thank you to the woman who had started to help me.
I passed through a courtyard to the buildings numbered 50 and turned toward the door on the right, building C, so I kept going and turned to the left, building B.
At the next door I hesitated again. How to open the locked door.
A panel on the wall told me to scan up or down until I found the doctor. I did and entered the 4-digit code for her, but then what? Was there a "validate" or "enter" button. I waited too long and had to scroll through the names again, Press the number then press the bell symbol, which looked totally different than the bell symbol in the instructions.
Okay! I heard the door click and pressed into the building. A door to the right had my doctor's name on it, so I pushed on the door, which was luckily open and went to the Salle d'Attente, the waiting room. No one else was in there. I had also read that I should greet anyone in the waiting room, so I dodged that bullet.
In just a few minutes, a woman dressed in a white blouse and white pants stuck her head into the waiting room and nodded at me. I assumed that meant I should follow her, so I did.
She told me to be seated and she sat across a desk from me, entering information into the computer. But I had read enough blogs about visiting the doctor in France to know that this was actually the doctor, not a medical insurance clerk or a nurse.
I wasn't there that long, probably 15 minutes, and I didn't have to get undressed or really even examined other than having  my blood pressure taken.
That's why I went to see her. In the U.S., I take a pill, or half a pill, but my doctor, when she convinced me to take it, assured me it was only a "water pill." In France, they went straight with "diuretic.
The doctor at the immigration office said my blood pressure was too high. A technician at the pharmacy took it and said it was fine. I figured I'd better consult a doctor.
She agreed that it was too high, but France doesn't carry the diuretic my doctor had prescribed. Then she proceeded to tell me why taking a diuretic is only masking the high blood pressure symptom but not fixing it.
She suggested another prescription, and I nodded. She also advised me that I needed to buy a blood pressure machine to keep track of it. I nodded again. I had one in the U.S., but have no idea where it ended up.
We used to keep it in the armrest between the two chairs in the living room. Who knows if it is still there when Spencer sits down in his living room.
The doctor spoke in French the whole time, sometimes very quickly. I hope I understood everything she said.
She gave me a prescription and I carried it to the pharmacy across the street where they filled it for 5 Euros, giving me a receipt so I can send it in to my insurance carrier.
Then they sold me a blood pressure machine for 45 Euros. Guess I really should have held onto that old one.
Afterward, I felt pretty blah. I know high blood pressure runs in my family, but I bicycled 14 miles yesterday and ran 5 miles this morning. I don't think I should have to be on any medication.
But I'll swallow a new pill tomorrow, and maybe try to increase my wine consumption and café sitting to see if it brings that blood pressure down on its own.
The Plane trees along the Cours Mirabeau are finally sprouting pale green leaves. 


Jeanie said...

That would be an adventure. I hope the new meds are effective.

Sim Carter said...

Having to speak to a doctor only in French would raise my blood pressure too! Do they have advertisements for doctors who are able to communicate in anglais as well? I know you're fine w your doc but doctor speak can be complicated in any language. I'd want to make sure I understood every detail. My hubby has high blood pressure and walks etc to keep it down but one thing that's very important to him is to keep his salt intake down as well. In all those gourmet French meals you'r eeating, is that a factor!

As to the wine ... keep on chugging.

Paulita said...

Jeanie, Yes, I'm sure it's fine. I did buy that blood pressure machine that I've only used once. Lol!
Sim, I'm sure I could find a doctor who speaks English. I didn't even ask after I made my painful phone call for an appointment. The pharmacist recommended this doctor so that's why I booked with her. Earl is going to wait until we go to the town where we are staying for the next seven months to find a doctor. But the pharmacist refilled his medicine without a prescription. They don't have my medicine in France so I had to visit a doctor.

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