Saturday, November 06, 2004
My Sick Sister
So I'm going along with my day. It's Saturday, so that means blueberry pancakes for breakfast. After that we all went to watch my son play soccer with a group of American kids. It was another wonderful chilly Fall day.
We get home and I get a call from my France sister. She hasn't been feeling well this week -- throwing up daily among other ailments. Well, she calls to tell me the doctor made a house call this morning and that she is being sent to the hospital for tests. She tells me the ambulance will be picking her up shortly. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She went through the whole treatment.... detection, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. It wasn't easy, but at least she was on the road to recovery. Now, of course, she probably just has a serious flu bug, but it's difficult not to worry that it's more serious. So she knew we'd all be very worried and asked me to call my US sister and father to let them know what was going on.
The French health care system is very different from the US. As I said, the doctor came to her house to examine her. That basically never happens in the US. The doctor recommended that an ambulance take her to the hospital because my sister was feeling nauseous when she sat up. It's rare to hear someone take an ambulance in the US unless the person was incapacitated. Then, once there, who knows how long she'll be there. In the US, everything that can be treated on an out-patient basis is treated that way.
As it turns out, the nurse told her if the doctor doesn't think it's an emergency, then they might keep her at the hospital for two nights and give her the tests on Monday. I can't imagine a situation in the US when they'd keep you for two nights because the specialist wasn't working on Saturday. I barely stayed two nights after my US cesarean deliveries.
All these things are pretty much normal over here, but inconceivable in the US. So when I was telling my father all this.... that the doctor came to her house (wow) that she'd need to take an ambulance (oh my gosh!) and that she'd likely be there for more than just the day (that sounds really serious) I realized it sounded really bad. I tried to tell him this was normal health care over here, but he probably thought I was just trying to minimize the problem.
I'm sure she just has a serious flu. Hopefully we'll find out soon.
-- said Auntie M in Paris