October 1, 2014

The fight back begins

I needed to go back to Rouffignac for my blood test good and early because I received a message yesterday saying that a new Black and Decker cordless screwdriver that I ordered would be delivered some time before 1.00 pm, and I know what happens if you’re not in when the delivery happens. You end up losing at least another 24 hours. So I arrived in the health centre waiting room at around 8.20 am thinking that I’d be first in the queue. However, I’d totally underestimated the ability of elderly French people to get out of bed and get themselves organised as there were already two people in front of me! No matter, I was dealt with by a very considerate lady nurse within 15 minutes or so and as the adjacent Pharmacie was still not open by that time, I was then off back home again to receive my delivery.

It came after the usual telephone call from the driver to get directions to my house by about 11.00 am and then, thank goodness, I was free to get down to the Pharmacie at Montignac to pick up my antibiotics. And just as well too, because by that time I wasn’t feeling too well, as my ‘light flu-like’ symptoms of yesterday had progressed to ‘moderate’, if not ‘severe’. This was the first time that I’d used the French ‘Ordonnance’ (prescription) system but all I had to do was hand over one of the two copies of the prescription that my doctor had printed off yesterday together with my ‘Carte Vitale’ health card. You need to produce your Carte Vitale whenever you apply for any form of treatment – I’d had to with both my doctor and the nurse – and they plug it into a small terminal that’s similar to a credit card machine that records that you’ve received treatment. Then they work out the cost.

As a retired person in the UK, I was entitled to free NHS health care, including prescriptions, but that isn’t the case here. I had to write a cheque for 23€ to my doctor for his consultation and pay 6.10€ for my blood test. And my prescription cost 4.65€. So that makes a total of 33.75€ (around £25), not an inconsiderable sum for quite a few retired people living on limited incomes, but for me a small price to pay I think for the incredibly speedy, considerate and effective service that I consider that I’ve received. My old doctor in the UK was a lovely person and never gave me less than her full consideration and attention, but overall I think that the French system has performed much better than the UK one over the last couple of days and without any fuss or drama. Plus, as I mentioned in my last post, I was mortified by some of the reports I found on the internet about the appalling level of care, lack of it more like, that many patients infected with Lyme Disease had received at the hands of the UK NHS.

My 14 day course of two antibiotic tablets per day comes to a total of 28 tablets. In fact, I was given a full pack of 30, so as I’ve been advised on many occasions in the past to boost the dosage in the first couple of days to rapidly get the medication up to the required level, I’ll take 3 today and tomorrow and then cut back to the normal level. And I’m glad to say that it already feels like it’s working and I’m sure that my ‘flu-like’ symptoms are already beginning to subside. But as I still don’t feel well, I’ll not be taking on any ‘heavy’ work today. The next four days or so will remain dry so I should have enough time after tomorrow to get the back of the wood store build broken. Plenty of time, I hope, to roll up my sleeves and get the job done.