Our local GP is on vacation. I knew he was going on vacation, but thought he would be gone this week and next. Mom needed to get her prescriptions renewed, which entails a doctor’s visit once every three months, as there are no over the phone refills here. Our doc thinks, and I agree with him, that seeing your doctor four times a year when you’re on regular medication is not a burden.

However, having discovered that he was on vacation last week and this week, I realized that NEXT week, when Mom’s prescriptions run out, his office will be a zoo. My guess is there will be a minimum of a two-hour wait every morning next week, and there are no evening appointments until 7 pm or so. Since he always runs late, that means 8 or 9 pm, which is just too late for us.

So, since Mom doesn’t have any current problems, I figured we could go and see the replacement doctor.

There is a service that doctors can use, where mostly Baby Doctors (the ones just out of medical school) can work as little or as much as they want and take over for doctors who are going on holiday. It’s really a great system. They keep the same office hours, handle emergencies and are just there to take up the slack. What was interesting for me was knowing that there would be very few patients in the waiting room, as most people would rather wait for their regular doc to return.

As it turned out, there was an article in this morning’s newspaper about the fact that in the next few years, our department is going to have a major doctor crisis. The average age of doctor’s in the Aude is higher than in many other areas, so many of them are going to retire. Young doctors don’t want to set up rural practices, because they make less money, work harder and are farther away from the “big city.” It’s going to be a problem.

I was mentioning this to Mom in the car and somehow it turned into an anti-Obama health care rant. I’m not proud of myself, but I lost it. I mean, there I was, driving her to a doctor’s appointment where almost ALL of her care is covered 100% by French social security because of chronic illnesses, and she is complaining about health care reform in the U.S. On top of that, although we do have a supplemental policy here to cover the small portion of her bills that are not paid 100%,  the social security portion of her care is FREE this year, because her income was too low for her to be required to pay a premium.

When I started explaining all of this to her, she admitted that she didn’t really know what was in the U.S. Healthcare Reform package. So why was she against it? She has no idea, but FAUX says it’s bad, so it must be. By the time we got to the doctor’s office, she did actually admit that she didn’t want people like JM and me to die in the streets because we weren’t insured, and she did remember that her insurance company had denied her late husband’s chemo therapy as being unnecessary, then approved it AFTER he was dead.

I apologized for getting so worked up, but honestly, I couldn’t believe she would have the nerve to complain. I asked her if she liked her healthcare here and she admitted she loves it. I sure wish I could get her to think more often!

When we got to see the doctor, Mom’s blood pressure was pretty high. I had to explain to the doc that I thought that was my fault and told her why. Then we discussed the American situation a bit. As usual when I tell anyone here about the way things are in the States, they kind of stare at me in disbelief. I think I scared her, because she’s going to visit her sister in Canada next week and was worried about what would happen to her if she had a car accident or something. I reassured her that Canada was NOT the States, and she could rest easy.

It turned out to be a lot more interesting a visit than I had imagined.

Ciao for now,


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4 thoughts on “Doctoring

  1. How neat that you were able to have a discussion about healthcare with your mom and that she was heard your points. I take it that her prescriptions got renewed with no problems?

  2. Hi Randy, This health coverage change is freaking out a lot of us over here. We feel that the change is so radical that it is a bit out of touch with reality. We posed some questions at the company meeting and the HR personnel was as baffled by the changes just like most of us. They were not able to give any specific answers saying that amendments are being made as we speak. Frightening, isn’t it?

    • Gene, I think if there hadn’t been so much lobbying and politicking going on, it would all have been a lot simpler and better.

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