Don’t worry, I didn’t fall off my bike already. But I did finally get up the nerve to see a doctor about my eyeball. Yes, my eyeball and I have not been getting along lately. Because while I enjoy staring at my laptop screen 90% of the day, my left eye would rather twitch frantically until I chill out and stare at anything else for a while.
Now up until this point I have avoided foreign healthcare at all costs, waiting for trips home to get checkups and renew prescriptions. But as you might imagine, trying to type while holding your eyelid still with one hand isn’t so fun. So I took a deep breath and booked an appointment with an opthamologist.
To be fair, I cheated and went with a guy at the American Hospital who speaks english. But I was still supremely nervous. Why? Was I scared of socialists? Afraid I might have to fill out paperwork in French? Worried that champagne might be the only form of anesthesia?
I could only hope.
But my first French healthcare experience was totally fine. Different in many ways from typical American care, but really, I came out unscathed and well treated. You just have to set some expectations before going in:
1. There might not be air conditioning. Even in a modern (looking) hospital.
2. But there will be coffee and croissants in the lobby.
3. Since you’re American, the free part of french healthcare doesn’t apply.
4. And it may or may not take you 10 minutes to figure out how to write a check to pay the doctor.
5. The nurses will not be offering restorative coupes de champagne.