This recent spell of cold and wet weather has not agreed with our eldest son, Reuben. Unlike the rest of the family who can spend time indoors when it's wet and light the fire when it's cold, Reuben is exposed at school to all the germs that spread at the beginning of term and is out in the playground each day whatever the weather. So inevitably, last week, he came down with a cold and after a wheezy night we decided it was probably best to take him to the doctor.
Having only been here 2 months with sunshine and good health, what we would do when someone fell ill is not something we had given too much thought to. Our village however is lucky in that we have a relatively new (officially opened in 2010 but looks hardly used...or just very well looked after!) medical centre. With a pharmacy and surgery with nurses, dentist, reflexologist, psychologist, dietician and more we seem to be covered for most ailments!
We were expecting to have to register and book an appointment. To our surprise we were seen as soon as we walked in the surgery by the doctor, Veronique. I had my French all ready to go, cough...une toux, breathing...respiration. I started by explaining that we were English and had just moved to the village, at which point Veronique said that she spoke a little English. It turned out she is Dutch, lives in the village and her children go to the school with Reuben. She sat him down and checked his breathing and decided that the problem wasn't on his chest but in his larynx. She suggested we give him two different medicines and gave us an extra one in case he was in pain. The French are famous for handing out medicines and she did actually ask us if we wanted anything else!! Before saying maybe that was enough to get started with!
I've never been to a doctors before where you're faced with a credit card machine on the doctor's desk. Here in France you pay for your appointments and prescriptions upfront and can then claim money back through the national health system. We paid 26€ for the appointment and another 8€ for medicine at the pharmacy. Having only just set up businesses we have yet to register with the health system. For now I am just relieved that we had a positive experience, know that we will be seen quickly if our health fails us, and that the sun has decided to return this week!