19 June 2005

Episode No. 5: The waiting...

I was sent home with all my records, labs, and even my X-rays. “This is the french way,” said the doctor. I was given a large bag with The American Hospital of Paris logo printed on the side. It looked like I had stopped by the gift shop on my way out. A different woman was working the welcome desk where I had to pay the bill and get my prescription stamped. Without the stamp, the pharmacy would not honor the script. “Be sure to get the stamp,” they all told me before I left the nurses’ station.

The hospital bill was about ten-percent of what I expected it to be. It made me question the American health system. But more importantly, I was not charged for the phone call to the U.S. The prescriptions cost less than 40-euros to fill. That’s less than what the co-pay in the U.S. would have been. Perhaps, I should stock up on pain killers before I go home.

I cabbed back to my sketchy neighborhood. It was Monday. I took advantage of my window of good health and went to the grocery store before going back up the stairs to the seventh floor. I tried to buy a phone card at La Poste, but the line was too long. I can get the same thing at my school with less hassle. It was too early to call T in Maine, so up the stairs I went with two bags of groceries, a bag of pills, and my enormous hospital gift bag.

I went to sleep for a while. It was too hot to do anything else. Smog had collected on the horizon as there was no wind to carry it off. Finally, at 6 p.m. the evening breezes came and things were more bearable. I went down to do my laundry at the laverie. It embarrasses me that I end up with a drenched wet shirt after five minutes outside. Then I have to go about my business looking a mess, while the french people look on. I called T after putting the laundry in the washer, and then went to the Australian pub for a pint of Fosters after putting the laundry in the dryer. I probably shouldn’t have had alcohol with my meds, but on a stifling hot night after a stint in the hospital, the beer tasted good...and normal.

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