Wednesday, March 11th, 1992 Paris
Woke up about 7:30 am. I got up about 8:30. We dressed and went down to the lobby. Jim ordered a cab to take us to the hospital and we had juice (18f) and coffee (12f) at the bar. Nice cab driver had a small black poodle with him. He said the dog was eight months old…very well behaved…never barked or moved. Arrived at the hospital about 9:30 am. The cab fee was 125f. Got to the Caisse des Consultants Desk (cashier) to pay for today’s visit. The system works by numbers. We were #21 when we arrived and pretty soon we were helped. Got it figured out and I remembered Jim saying last Thursday that the only credit card that worked was his VISA from the credit union. Volla…it worked again and we paid the 38f for the visit.
We then proceeded to the Chirurgie Orthopedique et Reparatrice building. It was packed with people! Must have been at least one hundred people waiting to be seen. Broken legs, etc! Wanted to video the scene but Jim didn’t want to appear rude so we didn’t. As the time passed we waited and waited. I’ve written my journal for all day yesterday and up until now and it is now twelve noon. We were just told it would be thirteen hundred hours (1 PM) before we saw the doctor! Jim has gone for a walk and I’m still here with my journal. Not as many people still here but at least thirty or so. Even the French speaking seem to be having trouble getting helped. So much for a socialized medical system. The smoke in here is making my eyes burn. They keep wheeling a very old person…probably a woman, Jim says it’s a man; in and out of the area. He seems asleep and nearly dead. I also suspect that Jim is right and the staff has gone to lunch. I’ve just re read the entire journal and had a granola bar (should have left the dried soup at home and brought more bars) and it’s 12:45 PM. Time to write postcards.
Okay, 1:15 PM and I made a fuss. Jim calls me the “Ugly American”; but it worked. They have found a doctor who spoke English. He was on his way out for the day but took the time to see that the x-ray was ordered and we got the help we needed. He was great. Said he’d spent time in Los Angeles and San Francisco and had faired rather well but when he went to Japan he’d had a terrible language problem and so always tries to help when he can for travelers like us. He was amazed when he learned how long we’d waited to see a doctor. Will send him something from states. He very carefully explained that a fairly new procedure was used on my pins but new x-rays looked fine. Did a letter explaining procedure for USA doctors. Gave us two new bandages to redo on plane—due to the pressures. Said brace could come off at end of four weeks and pins should be out in six weeks. Total cost was somewhere about $700. USA dollars for everything. We finally left hospital about 2 PM. Walked stores in the area. Jim had purchased a water warmer at one of the stores in the area. Found a post office and bought postage for twenty more cards. I’m great at that. 3.70f per card takes 3 different stamps.
We caught a bus to another area. Found a Burger King and had FOOD! We each had a whopper for 38f each, including a coke & frites (french fries)….delicious!
We stopped in an old church across the street named St. Pierre de Montronger. They were in the middle of a funeral. The whole inside was filled with scaffolding for renovation. But, the church was still being fully used. Then we caught another bus to Notre Dame (like going home) to change more money, bought postcards and some transparencies of the church windows. Opps, almost forgot my leather skirt…bought on sale for 299f. That was an experience trying the skirts on to find the right size. Between the broken arm and a very small area with a male clerk…it was something…but Jim prevailed and we found one that fit.
Back on the bus from Notre Dame to Orly bus area which took us back to the airport for 42f. Then we found the Holiday Inn bus waiting. Splurged and bought a mini bottle of scotch. Home again. I showered and repacked. Jim walked the town of Runger and brought back a long loaf of french bread fresh from the oven. We had it with our soup that we made from water heater that Jim bought while I was in the hospital and the dry soup we brought with us from home. Watched CNN and Nixon’s speak from D.C. on being careful about Russia and election…his birthday speech. Wrote about ten postcards. Ready to leave for Renne tomorrow.
And the end to a much better day!