Last week I went to get a rabies vaccination. My sister, the public health specialist (1) recommended it because I’m going to India for a couple of months.
In Australia I went to the travel doctor and had a gazillion vaccinations to bring everything up to date. But before I could complete the course of rabies injections I had to leave the country. The only possibility for the third jab was in France.
OK, no problems (only solutions) – as we say in the events industry.
The difficulty in France as I found out is that you have to order the vaccine, make an appointment with the infermière, pick up the vaccine and then have the vaccine. All in my inadequate French.
Good news! There is a doctor, but not an infermière in the building! After listening in on a telephone conversation, Vincent may or may not have rung him or her, and they are going to come to the apartment to give me the jab!
Blimey. Over and above.
The process reminds me of the Times of Interesting Diseases. When I worked in the Australian Embassy in Hanoi the local hospitals were still in disarray and we visited the Swedish-Embassy based Clinic to get medical treatment. Having tummy problems was such a common occurence that we would brazenly hand poo samples over the counter, with no shame. Once I had amoebic cysts, another I was just really sick. Completely put me off fevers as an excuse for a day off work but I won’t go too much into descriptions (black poo).
Phoebe (2) worked for Australian Volunteers Abroad, and seemed not to have the same access to the Swedish Clinic. She took herself to the local hospital and they took her to a laboratory within the hospital, gave her a microscope and a book and told her to diagnose herself … AND SHE DID! She doesn’t remember this, but I’m pretty sure it is true.
The system in Chile, which think was a good one, is that you go straight to a specialist rather than go to a GP first like in Australia. There I had ‘parasitos muy abundante‘.
Back in France, rabies is called ‘la rage‘. (I’m pretty excited about that, as you can imagine). I Google Translate ‘avez vous le vaccine contre la rage‘ and the Plan B ‘do you know where I can get the vaccine against la rage‘. The local pharmacy lady doesn’t have the vaccine and says that only the Tropical Diseases section of the hospital (‘Service des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales‘) or a vet would stock it.
No time like the present, so I jump on the tram to the end of the line – Hopital du Nord and once there follow the signs saying ‘Ebola’.
At the Service des Maladies I find some very helpful people. No, I havn’t been bitten by a dog, I am going to India. Of course! Please wait here and a doctor will see you. Jackpot – maybe they not only have the vaccine but will administer it as well. Now remember my inadequate French ability here. The answer seemed to be that I was not French, so I would have to back to the city, find a pharmacy, order the vaccine and then see an infermière. Sigh.
I go to a bigger pharmacy and they say that not only will they order the vaccine but it will be available tomorrow morning. In time for my appointment at home.
Excellent, I love France!
Have you had to go to a doc while overseas? How was your experience? Hopefully for nothing serious!
(1) you’ll hear more about my sister, she is the voice of logic.
(2) you’ll hear more about Phoebe as well. Hijinks!
And speaking of Phoebe, this post is linked to #AllAboutFrance which is a blog hop hosted by Phoebe via her Lou Messugo website. If you are a blogger get on it http://www.loumessugo.com/en/blog/entry/all-about-france-link-up. If you are looking for a Gite in the South of France – get on her website – http://www.loumessugo.com/en/
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
Oh I can see there’s going to be trouble with Agatha Bertram and her stories from the past! You say I don’t remember this anecdote, well once you reminded me I certainly did! I remember clearly cycling out to the far suburbs of Hanoi thinking Oh god if I have an accident, not that I’m wearing mismatched underwear, but that I’m carrying my own poo in a pot! Which could go everywhere!! And I remember being mortified by the smell…..perhaps that really is enough information! Thanks for linking up and welcome to the blogging world! So happy to have you here (even if I may live to regret saying that!!)
Hahaha! Phoebe, I might have to think of a pseudonym for you, because I think you will feature in a few of my reminiscing blogs ;).
You had to buy your vaccine and take it to the nurse to have the jab. In some cases, you have to buy your own disinfectant and compresses!
I would have thought all the pharmacies would have been willing to order the vaccine though!
Oh no! So it could have been more complicated! ;). I look forward to reading more about a fellow Aussie in France.
This made me giggle. Why have a one-step process when you can have a process involving several stages? I sometimes wonder whether it is done specially so that you can feel a bigger sense of achievement at the end…
Ha! Just read your posting about running and the honesty of French people. Another step in the path of understanding my partner !! thanks for the comment 🙂
Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault says
Phoebe recommended I read this post and I can see why, it was a good read! I had to get tetanus jabs for the boys and where-as in the UK you ring up the doctor’s surgery and get an appointment there with the nurse of course it is totally different in France. First get your prescription from the doctor, then go to the pharmacy to buy the vaccine then go back to the doctor who administers the jab! Oh and I found it rather strange having to post my own cervical smear as I am sure the post lady knew exactly what I was handing over to her in the post office! #AllAboutFrance
Hi Rosie, apologies for the delay in replying – I’m on the road in India at the moment. Post your cervical smear!! I havn’t crossed that bridge yet!
Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault says
So Phoebe says – have a great time and don’t get any worm infestations!
thanks ! So far so good …
Typical French – that’s my only comment 🙂
Hahaha! me too.