Monday, June 28, 2010

Hospital Experience, Part II

As I said, I spent the day at the hospital, accompanying a family member who required minor surgery, minor anesthesia, a long wake up get the picture, it was a long day. Here is how it went:

Check in: efficient, friendly, quick.

The nurses: warm, kind, helpful, simply the best, all of them.

The frills: NONE, but I happened to have my knitting with me, so life was just fine.

The patient: mending well, thanks!

The cost: hold onto your hats, friends, family and readers in the US: 68 Euros for the entire deal. That is around $88.

I have had other hospital experiences in France; I had one appendectomy and two births in hospital here. The former was the most frightening, I was twenty-three and about to have emergency surgery in a foreign country, and we all know what they say about health care anywhere but the US. It might be primitive, unhygienic, with methods that have not been seen in years at home.

Hmph! My doctor, after the results of a day of tests and prods and other fun moments, reached the conclusion that a specialist better take a look at me, now. I was sent to his office, in an elegant, eighteenth-century building in downtown Toulouse, that was also his home. It was 7pm. He examined me and then called in his wife, the anesthesiologist, (who had probably been in the kitchen cooking dinner) to take notes for surgery first thing in the morning. I went home, packed my bags and headed to the private hospital to check in. The operation took place in the morning and I awoke from the anesthesia as if nothing had happened; no nausea, no fog, no pain. I was looked after, fed and watered for five days and then sent home. The room was nice, there was a sweet little courtyard outside my window, and croissants and hot chocolate for breakfast. No bill, our second insurance policy picked up what Social Security (national health care coverage) did not pay for; television, private room, probably about $30 over the basic cost. The births, I must say, were a superior experience. Instead of going home missing a body part, I got to take home a baby each time!

So, back to last week. Was it pretty, did we have a tv, beautiful artwork? Not really, but it was comfortable, the medical team was excellent, and we are not in debt for two years after the experience. I even finished one sock and got a good start on another!

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