Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Medical Matters - Of The Female Variety !

If you are male and squeamish - move past the end of this section quickly!

As is standard here in France, I have a checkup at the Doctors every three months because there is a history of heart problems and strokes in my family.

Last visit, I mentioned I was due a cervical smear test and could I make a booking. Charming Dr Castan explained that these were carried out by a specialist in Beziers - and phoned and made me an appointment there and then.

Because it was not urgent and I had not just had a baby, I said that a date in two months time was fine by me. They would have fitted me in in the next two weeks if necessary!

Well, today was the day. And I turned up at the hospital at 10:30am for my 11 o'clock appointment.

Why so early? Because I know the system now, that's why!

When you arrive, you go to the central foyer of the hospital - NOT to the specialist department.

You take a ticket (like the ones at the meat counter in the supermarkets) in front of six glass fronted booths. When it is your turn, you go in and a helpful person logs you into the hospital system.

They check all your details listed, correct any that are wrong, and generally make sure all the information needed is added to your records. They scan your carte vitale and take photo ID from you - which they check against your face (to make sure you are who you say you are!) and keep until after your treatment/appointment.

They print off a page of sticky labels with your details, the department you are visiting and the date. These you take with you to the specialist department - to be stuck to any paper records produced that day and on any samples that will be sent away for testing.

The computer system also automatically sends a message to the specialist that you are on the premises.

You then make your way to the correct department - with directions given to you at the 'booth' to make sure you know where you are going!

When you get to the specialist department, they have all your records to hand and take the labels. You wait in the waiting room.

Virtually on the dot of 11:00am my specialist (Dr le Blanc) comes out and calls my name, shakes my hand and invites me to come to his office.

Can I side-track for a second. Dr le Blanc was very tall, very skinny, bald and as white as a sheet. A zombie perhaps?! But he was very nice, softly spoken and I never once felt embarrassed considering what he had to do to me!

He asks me to sit down and says (I kid you not!) - I am here to listen to anything you feel you would like to tell or talk to me about. Don't worry if you think it might be too minor or not important enough. Tell me about anything that might be worrying you.

What did I say?!
Well, just that I was there for my regular checkup - and had nothing else to mention! But thank-you for the opportunity......OK, I did not say that, but I certainly thought it!!

Moving on swiftly - he carried out the smear test (as efficiently and quickly as I have ever had it done!), did an internal examination to check my ovaries and then checked my breasts for lumps etc.

All done, he immediately told me that he could not find anything to be concerned about - so that I would not worry whilst I waited for the test results. He was SO SO considerate!!

I went back down to the foyer to the payment desks. In the time it took me to get there, they already had access to my appointment and treatment details and the bill was ready. I paid the proportion not covered by the health service - a massive 8.40 euro - and they then gave me back my ID, and said goodbye.

I was back in my car and setting off home by 11:20am. Obviously, not telling Dr le Blanc all my troubles, saved him 10 minutes! He had time for a coffee before the next appointment!

Now, if it had been my Mum.....she would have needed a double appointment! She loved to chat to Doctors!


Lesley said...

This sounds so familiar - but it is not so efficient at my GP surgery. Mine was done a couple of months ago, and thankfully all clear

Jacqui U said...

What us women have to go through.....

Hopefully I will be all clear as well!