Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hooray for Healthcare!

Not too many people know this, but five years ago when we were conducting our first living-in-France experiment, Jeff and I decided we'd give parenthood a go. It was part biological clock, part romanticism; have you ever seen French children? They're the cutest things ever, AND they're well-behaved. I wanted to be part of that. Jeff ... well, not so much, but he agreed to give it a try. Close to the end of my first trimester, we decided to tell our families, and many joyous long-distance phone-calls were made. About a week later, I had a miscarriage. Big bummer.

I hadn't planned to go to the hospital--I thought it could wait 'til morning when I'd visit my private doc--but after describing the symptoms to my belle soeur Nathalie, who lives in Paris and is a medical professional, she suggested we meet at Hopital St. Antoine, a public hospital just two blocks from our place.

We three arrived at about 10 0'clock at night and went straight to the emergency room. There might have been one other person waiting there, but the doctors saw me almost immediately. After a thorough exam, they confirmed the bad news, and suggested I stay overnight. I told them I lived nearby and that I'd prefer to come back the next day. They said "pas de probleme" and made an appointment for me to return the following morning.

When I arrived, they ushered me into a private room, tucked me into bed, and gave me some medication and an IV. I was there for the better part of the day, and throughout my time there, someone or another would come in to make sure I was OK, bring me water, and generally extend a bit of kindness in my direction. After my experience at General Hospital in San Francisco the year before, my stay at Hopital St. Antoine seemed positively magical. When I checked out, they promised to send me a bill, but forewarned that because I didn't have insurance, it was going to be pretty expensive. Very, very expensive. They were sorry. I was worried. When the bill arrived two days later, I was indeed shocked at the amount: 88 Euro.

I don't know if the health care reform bill Obama just signed into law will translate into hospital bills that are truly affordable for Americans, but even if it's just a symbolic gesture to prove he's serious about making change while he's in office, it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully, though, neither I nor anyone reading this will have any reason to experience the newly revamped American medical system (or the old French one, for that matter) any time soon.


  1. Booooo! I am sorry to hear the news (even though it was awhile ago) We have been through the same thing twice in the last 9 months and it suuuucks... Looking forward to seeing you guys at Highlan's bday.

  2. What a drag, Eric. Big hugs to you and D. I'm sure you've heard this before, but miscarriages are SUPER common, and that it sometimes takes a few (sadly) before you get the results you want. (We just gave up after that one time.) Anyway, you can do it! Fingers crossed for you both, and looking forward to seeing y'all in a few weeks! xx

  3. Our health care system here is so weird. Hopefully, like you said, that will improve. I was hospitalized once in Mexico and, though i had insurance, I was amazed that I never got billed a single penny. I have insurance here and they never seem to want to cover anything. Also, I just found out that when I resign from my current position at the end of the year, it will cost me over a thousand dollars a month to continue my current insurance (also covering The Husband) through COBRA. Ridiculous. Things like that make me want to abandon ship as far as the US is concerned.
    I'm still sorry about your experience with the miscarriage... but I'm glad that you were in such good hands when it happened.

  4. Thank you for sharing that very personal story, Aurelia.

  5. I think about that often, Aurelia, because well it was such a bummer. But times marches on. I wish it sashayed a bit more, that's more fun.
    My friend just got a hospital bill for $230,000. No insurance. But, some "angels of mercy" group paid her bill. Don't know how, don't know why, but they did. Odd stuff happens.

  6. Hey you!

    I was poking around on your blog today, and read up on recent posts (well, still reading the most recent one on India, but I will get to finishing it soon -- WONDERFUL photos though m'dear, and hey, you are a hottie in them. Just sayin'. *wink*). I got to reading this one, which you linked in on the one about planning to go to India, and I'm sorry to have missed it the first time it was posted. Well, better late than never, eh? I'm glad you linked it so that I could read it today.

    You know, I have experienced two miscarriages in addition to having two kids that made it -- one happened at 17 weeks and the other at 8. It sucks, no matter how or when it happens. I understand what it is, what it feels like to experience. In light of that, what stands out to me the most was the level of care and consideration you received in your experience in France. And holy heck -- 88 euros as expensive healthcare! Oh, if only that were considered expensive in the US. *sigh*

    Anyway, I just wanted to chime in with very good juju for you in the future, however and whatever you want to do in regard to parenthood! Just know that I am thinking of you with it all, and hope for yours and Jeff's best with it.

    Big hugs. :)


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