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Archive for September, 2010

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Two words I would desperately love to be able to say to my Doctor right now. I have been trying very hard to say them but my Doctor appears to have disappeared.

Originally I thought he was on holiday and made do without him, but I’ve been trying to reach him since the beginning of September now without any luck. My need to contact him opposed to just any Doctor is urgent and is because the pesky French social security has managed to loose my attestation of declared doctor since I switched from one service to another.

This missing attestation means as far as they are concerned I do not have a declared Doctor and all my medical reimbursements for normal appointments, specialists, x-rays, IRM scans etc are only reimbursed at 30% of what I paid and my additional health insurance policy won’t accept to pay the difference.

This mess up is meaning that I am hundreds of Euros out of pocket and the only possible solution to remedy the situation is to get my Doctor to resign a form.

Desperate to track him down, I went on a detective mission yesterday and visited his office which like many French GP’s is in a residential apartment block. His button on the interphone was no longer working and his shutters were all closed. Not a good sign. Next I checked out his letter box. My crouching down on the floor on all fours and putting my head at a really odd angle I could make out that there was quite a lot of post in the box. Now, I don’t know how much post a Doctor normally receives but that looked like a lot. Not a good sign.

I must have raised suspicions as a resident of the apartment block came out to see what I was doing, I don’t suppose that it’s everyday that they have fake blondes loitering in the entrance hall on all fours trying to peer into their letter boxes!

Alas, the resident quickly confirmed that the Doctor had not been seen for almost two months and nobody knew where he had gone or if anything had happened to him.

This did not leave me with much hope and I popped the letter I had pre-prepared into his letter box with my request and hoped that he would pick it up soon. I left the building dejected, wondering what had happened to my Doctor and whether he was okay and also worried about the financial consequences for me vis-à-vis the Social Security due to his disappearance.

On returning home, I called the Social Security to explain my plight and see what could be done. Afterall, it isn’t just a few Euros I was talking about so it was definitely worth the call however complicated it may be, what with the French aspect (okay so I am fluent, but dealing with these people is hard work even for Frenchies) and my lisping with my braces.

By way of a miracle I spoke to a lovely lady who did not sound at all surprised that my Doctor could disappear (is this a frequent occurrence in France then?) and she told me not to worry. Apparently they can contact my old Caisse and get confirmation from them that I had already declared my Doctor. Question: why did they not do this originally when I told them I had already declared it?

Now,  I have to go and find a new GP to register with. This may seem an easy task to most but if you’re looking for someone who actually listens to what you have to say before they start writing the prescription then you’ll realize that this is not the case. At least not around here anyway.

My Doctor was a rare pearl and I sincerely hope he is well whatever may have happened to him.

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I am officially having a pure, Ugly Betty moment. The worst is that it is not just a moment but is going to be my life for the next two years. Worse still is that I have chosen to live this… what can I possibly me talking about?

Ugly Betty and her braces

Braces! That’s what!

I’ve never been happy with my teeth or dents de bonheur as I’m told they’re called in French (teeth of happiness) because of the large gap between my front teeth. I did wear braces when I was younger but the orthodontist messed up and then lost my files when my parents queried why my teeth were still gappy.

A few years ago, I was told that I would have to wear braces on my bottom teeth as they were turning in on each other or risk loosing them as I got older.

So this year I decided to grab the bull by the horns and get my teeth all sorted, in search of a Hollywood Smile.

Today was the big day and I had one set of braces fitted behind my top teeth. Esthetically they’re great as you cannot see them, but practically they’re a disaster as I cannot eat or talk.

Do you notice how you run your tongue around the back of your teeth? Well I never did and now that I can’t I find it impossible to eat. Not to mention chew. I cannot chew because of the spacers they have stuck to my bottom and top teeth to stop the two sets touching and thus ruining all of the dentistry I’m having.  This is already seriously hampering with my food intake meaning I can only eat things like mashed potato and soup. I have to admit that it’s an excellent remedy for dieting but for once in my life I was not trying to loose weight!

In less than a month I will turn 30 and yet here I am sounding like a 12 year each time I open my mouth to speak. Apparently I don’t sound as bad when I speak in English, but when I speak in French it is la cata!

The funniest thing is that I now eat like a granny and speak like a pre-teen!

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So, back to school, back to work, back to getting on with your life now that the relaxed, do nothing, don’t bother months of July and August are rapidly becoming nothing more than faint memory – it’s “La Rentrée”.

La Rentrée is like a second start to the year in France. It not only marks the start of a new school term but more like a start of a new year for all. A new year that runs between September and December of course.

La Rentrée was a non event for me because I was in Lyon all throughout August and spent most of my time moaning how my local butcher, hairdresser, tabac, boulangerie, traiteur, market and you name it were all closed. Oh, how I now wish I had cherished those moments of peace and quiet and free car parking now that the craziness of city life has taken over again.

Never was there such a reminder as to what hell living in a city can be as this Monday. A simple trip to the garage and back to pick up my car. When we dropped it off before La Rentrée, a round trip took a maximum of 40 minutes. This was to reach the other side of Lyon, driving through the city centre and back.

Not to be this Monday. No, it took no less than 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the drive there and back. This was certainly not helped by the fact that the education workers were striking and had decided to march right through the centre of Lyon, exactly the same route that we were trying to take!

Each time we turned into a street we were greeted by the barricade of police blocking the street so that those who were on strike could march their way through. As we weaved our way desperately around the city, swinging a left turn here and a right turn there we gained speed on the procession but lost lots of time on the clock. It was rather like starring in our very own PacMan arcade game; desperately trying to escape the demonstrations and reach our destination before they did.

When we did finally reach the garage I was dumbfolded to see that the protestors had arrived before us. Upon closer inspection it didn’t look like they were protesting at all, they had a marching band, a singer and seemed in very good spirit, not upset about anything at all! Maybe they were extra pleased as they’d beaten us there?

On a side note, I didn’t realize that this was not the main strike and that there was a national strike on Tuesday. I doubt those that protested on Tuesday were in such high spirits mind, it absolutely peed down with rain all day long…

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