There are rumours that the French government is trying to bring about changes to the system which will make it more like the NHS. Doctors went on strike against the idea and are threatening more action later this year.
Unfortunately our local hospital doesn’t have a good reputation and people try to go to Reims for operations and even for consultations with specialists. The new system would reduce or even dispense with patient choice.
At the moment things still move pretty quickly here however. For esample, Whale complained that he was short of breath and when the doctor came on Tuesday she ordered a blood test and x-ray. The nurse did the blood test on Thursday morning and at 8.15p.m. our doctor called to say the results indicated a problem and she wanted him to go into hospital.
“Well, maybe it could wait until the morning but I’ll ring the hospital and then let you know.”
Five minutes later she called back to say they were sending an ambulance and she would bring a letter and ‘bon de transport’ herself. The doctor and ambulance arrived together about ten minutes later and off he went; no time to panic!
However, it transpired that he had to wait over two hours in A & E before being seen which accounts for the fact that they couldn’t tell me anything when I rang at 10.30. They even implied that he might be sent home that night. At 11.30 they said he had been taken to a room and they were waiting for test results.
“Will you be keeping him in overnight?”
“Oh, I don’t know. There doesn’t seem to be much wrong with him; he’s calling us every five minutes. Ring back in a couple of hours.”
“Sorry, but I need some sleep. Will you ring me if you’re sending him home please?”
She agreed and I warned CC and Jay to listen for the phone and come and wake me as I sleep like a log.
Next morning I rang at 8.30. No news. Ring again at 11.
A few minutes before 11 Whale rang me, courtesy of the hospital phone.
“They’re sending me to a ward. I don’t know where but there’s a problem with my left lung.” He sounded rather worried.
I promised to ring them and find out what was happening and where they were taking him so we could bring in all the things he needed.
They said he was going to the pulmonary ward but didn’t clarify what was wrong.
CC, Jay and I went in at 3 o’clock but CC, being claustrophobic, was surprised to find that the door to the staircase was locked. In fact, there was a notice saying “This door must remain closed and locked at all times”. How crazy is that?
She went for a coffee in the entrance hall and Jay and I and found his room on the third floor. It’s a double room but the other chap seems very pleasant.
Whale’s main concern was that he should have the telepone connected so I went to ask for the necessary form. The system had changed since the last time and now telephone and television were dealt with in the same office with no need for a form – just the name and room number.
When I went to the lift I came face to face with a bemused looking gentleman who said he was trying to get to the ground floor but the lift wouldn’t go there. I went in and saw that it said something about being ‘locked’ so suggested we try another lift. He followed me into the one next door and despite saying we were on the ground floor, when the doors opened we were definitely NOT. He went to ask someone and a lady kindly accompanied us, pressed all the right buttons and made the lift go down. It seems you have to press the correct button among the four marked rdc. (rez de chaussée: ground floor)
It was best not to tell CC about that little adventure when I saw her at the coffee bar. She was still drinking so I went to find the telephone office myself. There was a queue but eventually I organised a connection for Whale putting 20 euros on his account so that he could phone England and went back to his room with the details.
He was happy and having supplied him with books, biscuits and mineral water we said goodbye.
He rang this morning to say they had diagnosed pleurisy and give a list of things to bring in at visiting time this afternoon.