Visit to a French Doctor

visit to a french doctor - header

Photo by Rob Potvin at motionbug

We’re in the middle of our long-awaited holiday, the first in two years, visiting my parents in France. I’ve been really good at staying away from technology over all; I mean, I check Facebook twice at the beginning and end of the day, and I read a few blogs but nothing more. This is good! Way better than I thought I was going to be anyway. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to blog at all, but I found myself thinking about things I wanted to remember about this trip. If  I don’t write things down, I literally remember nothing so I thought I might as well press publish at the end of it!

Luciole developed small red spots all over her torso and back a couple of days ago so we took her to the doctor’s to get checked up. Let’s just say it wasn’t a mild-blowing experience. I know this doctor very well, at least, as well as one can know the doctor who has looked after them since they were four years old. So he probably knows me way better than I know him. He’s definitely seen more of me than feels comfortable!

On the one hand, he did a good job. He looked at her front and back, listened to her heart, checked her ears and asked us details about what had happened (I had plenty to say but nothing actually happened beside Luciole having a very sensitive ultra blonde-girl skin and being on holiday, which usually means a change in washing powder, different food and heat).

On the other hand… The conversation sort of fizzled out when I asked him what he thought it was and his response to my one request was literally ‘Ne me posez pas trop de questions’ (don’t ask me too many questions) in the dismissive tone of a professional telling you that it’s for him to know and for you to stop talking and annoying him. He then prescribed a cream, telling us absolutely nothing about it aside from when to apply it, and that was that.

There’s nothing that annoys me more than patronizing doctors, but I always suffer from brain-freeze when faced with situations like this one. I go through all the assertive responses I wish I had come up with later on but in the moment, nothing. I don’t like to be rude (or be thought as rude) and I knew I wouldn’t see him again, but I would have appreciated a bit of dialogue, especially when my kids are concerned. I would actually prefer to hear ‘I don’t know’ and/or maybe a couple of suggestions, especially when I can come up with a long list myself. Even more so when I then have to cough up 14 euros for a cream for sensitive skin similar to the one I already had taken with me for the holiday.

My mum saw the doctor after us for a separate ailment and asked him what the problem was. He told her he didn’t know. How reassuring.

For all my raving about how great the French medical system is for the prevention of illness (and as far as systems are concerned, I remain convinced it is good), it has to be said that great service ultimately comes down to individual physicians. I like my doctors open and chatty, so I guess if I ever were to move back to Limoges (never ever ever. Like, ever), I would more likely look for a younger doctor than for an old-fashioned guy who likes to hold on to the old-fashioned idea that physicians don’t need to explain themselves to anyone because science. I may be a pleb but I don’t like to be reminded of it in my face, thanks.

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7 thoughts on “Visit to a French Doctor

  1. I think it always comes down to individuals. I had strange experiences with doctors in Ireland, one even prescribed me some wine for my neck pain (yes, no kidding…) and I had to fork out 50 euros to be told to hold my baby if he cried… I remember going to the doctor in France with my son and everything went fine, so my guess is your doctor was just an old-fashioned patronizing a**hole 😉 On the subject of doctors, do you know that if you have you European social security card you can get some money back, you just have to fill out the form the doctor gave you and go the CPAM. It takes a few weeks to get your money back

  2. haha oh brother- I came done with tonsillitis while in France and boy was visiting the doctor fun. I didn’t know much French and was able to manage “j’ai mal a la gorge.” He took a look- his eyes bugged and I think he got what it was- that is two strong antibiotics and a pain killer spray later.

  3. I totally agree – I have seen some great French GPs and some great UK GPs, along with some horrific ones in both countries, so you definitely have to find the one that suits you, wherever you live. Hope her rash has all cleared up now x

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