Clearly, the move to France is long done as Mom has now been here for over a month. She is settling in nicely, working on her French lessons and has no regrets about coming over.
We’ve done most of the big administrative tasks, however there was one thing left in order for her to get her permanent residence status (carte de sejour) and that was a medical examination. We received notice that an appointment had been made for her at a doctor’s office in Carcassonne; but JM wrote a very nice letter (he writes great letters!) mentioning her age and asking if an exception could be made so that she could visit our local doctor instead.
A few days after the letter went off, we received a phone call from the person in charge saying that they WOULD make an exception and asking for our doctor’s phone number so they could call. We went over last night for the appointment.
The basic reason for this exam is to make sure newcomers don’t have a disease like TB and that they’re vaccinated against polio, diptheria and tetanus, as well as to make sure they are not totally psychotic or serial killers. I think that even if Mom WAS a serial killer, she wouldn’t be very successful because she can’t move very quickly and would easily be caught.
In fact, we were delighted that she could see our doctor, because I had been wanting to set up an appointment so that he could see her medical records and get familiar with her case. It turned out to be another one of those France vs. the US moments and surprised all of us.
For her age, Mom is in pretty good health. She does have diabetes and high blood pressure and did have some pre-cancerous colon polyps removed about 10 years ago. We had copies of the medical records provided by her American doctor and a list of the medications that she takes. Our local internist went down the list of medications to find the equivalents that she will take here. Surprisingly, even though most of the drugs are available here, in almost every case the dosages that are used here are very different than the dosages that are used in the U.S. Indeed, he seemed surprised that for her age and general health she was taking such high dosages of certain things and wondered why she was getting one of the medications at all.
Then he asked when she had last seen her cardiologist and had an echocardiogram. She had never had either! Our doctor asked the question a couple of times because he couldn’t believe that a woman her age with diabetes would never have seen a cardiologist. Apparently here, it’s something that is done annually. He thought it odd that in the U.S. this wasn’t done. Now, it could just be that since Mom was on an HMO it was standard to not order things like that. But to our local doctor here it sounded like bad medicine.
He was also surprised that she hasn’t had a colonoscopy in over five years given that the last time she had one another polyp was removed. So it seems that once she is fully integrated into the French medical system (in February), she will need to have a bunch of medical stuff taken care of. I think we’re going to learn lots more about those differences in medical care as time goes on.
Ciao for now.