02 May 2009

NOT the Swine flu...

I should have all sorts of interesting posts and interesting photos. After all, we were in Holland for the long Easter weekend, than I had 6 days out of Paris. Locally we had the riots last night.

But I have been too sick. The flu struck my first morning in France and it has just beaten me to the ground. Of course, I know that influenza is a virus and that therefore, after the first day or so (when antiflu meds can be taken) there is really nothing to be done. I dealt with the aches and the deep, bone-deep, pain. The exhaustion. The fevers. The sweats and the chills. I hydrated. I even managed some sightseeing through my exhaustion (although nothing to what I had wanted) and I endured.

Through today, in fact. This week my bones no longer hurt, I no longer had deep wracking chills and sweats that required me to shower twice a day. But I started to cough. A non-productive cough. As we all know, Germany has no adequate cough medicine. Luckily I had kid's Mucinex (guafinesin and dextromethorpane) and started swigging it (my Lors, I miss Nyquil). After 2 days I started coughing so hard that my ribs hurt. Thursday night when I started to go to bed, I was afraid to: I felt I wasn't under-oxygenated. I sat up for a while, until that weird ratting noise in my throat went away.

I felt better Friday morning, with lots of hot chamomile tea and honey. And Wednesday I had been at a different dr., for some minor outpatient surgery, and he checked my lungs and said they were fine, so I thought everything was getting better. He even gave me an IV antibiotic (as is standard in the US after minor surgery, although there they just give a pill). How could things get worse?

Well, Friday night, as I heard what really did sound like the death rattle, I realized that things were worse.

This morning we hopped up and all four of us headed to the ER. Yesterday was May Day, a legal holiday (taken very seriously in Europe as a day for rioting and idiocy) and I hadn't wanted to make us all sit in an ER for hours, yet was a bit afraid to go alone.

What a doofus I was. Of course, in a country where healthcare is not tied to wealth or job status, an ER is actually used for emergencies, not for ordinary care. I was seen within 5 minutes. Wicked strong antibiotics and a bronchial inhaler (never had one of those before) later, we were on our way. How cool it is. Why didn't I visit a regular dr., you ask? Well, I actually don't have one. My children's pediatrician (absolutely fabulous guy) has given me my flu shots, my meningitis shots, and checked me for strep. He says all peds do the same, because otherwise parents would never get taken care of. I didn't think it made any more sense to try to emergency visit my OB-GYN (who might actually have emergencies relating to her specialty) and the experience was wonderful: I only hope that all Americans one day have the opportunity to experience a medical system that is rational and not over-burdened.


Charlotte said...

Sorry to hear you haven't been well and that it impeded your holiday. I do agree that the German health system is excellent - my kids have had three hospital stays on the state and I have been nothing but impressed.

honeypiehorse said...

Yeah, once you get past the PCP and sage tea here, the serious care is wonderful. Hope you're feeling better.

Betsy said...

Sorry to hear you've been feeling so rotten! Am glad your experience at the ER was positive, though, and that you're on your way back to good health! Feel better soon!

Judith in Umbria said...

Yes! If Americans would stop listening to the scare mongering about "socialized medicine" and start listening to experiences of real people in national insurance schemes, the goal of universal health care would advance. I sometimes think Americans imagine Stalin leaning over them and peering down their throats. I don-t know why Canada's system is so burdened, unless it is the huge area and small population, but it isn't a typical or necessary situation, is it?