Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Take Your Child to the Doctor in a Foreign Country

1. Get a recommendation for a pediatrician from a friend you met at IKEA. Call the pediatrician’s office and schedule an appointment.

2. Arrive in front of the office and find a parking space on the street.  Insert money into the parking meter and then realize that you’ve used the wrong coins and have paid for parking until 9:00 the next morning. Darn Euros.

3. Check in with the receptionist and say a quick prayer of thanks that she speaks English.

4. Wait until the doctor calls your name.  Say a quick prayer of thanks that she speaks English.

5. Explain your child’s symptoms to the doctor.

6. Per the doctor’s instruction, collect a urine sample from your child in the tiny cup that she hands you. 

7. You’ll then want to wash and sanitize your hands like nobody’s business because getting a urine sample from a 4 year old isn’t necessarily neat and tidy.  Ask yourself why you don’t carry latex gloves in your purse. 

8. Watch the doctor test the urine and learn that the sample will have to be sent to the Laboratoire de Microbiologie.

9. Learn that “sent to the Laboratoire de Microbiologie” means that YOU actually take it to the lab at the Clinique Pediatrique yourself.  That’s correct.  YOU YOURSELF will be driving your child’s urine sample to the lab.  Wrap the sample in a tissue and put it in your purse.  (Remind yourself to thank the friend who gave you a packet of tissues that say ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’  Because if there ever was a time to carry on, it is now.)

10. Return to your car and enter the address that the doctor gave you for Clinique Pediatrique in your GPS.  When your GPS says that it is not a valid address, simply change the building number and drive in that direction.  Say a prayer that you will end up in the right place.

11. Find the Clinique Pediatrique and park in the underground parking lot.

12. Walk 1/4 mile to drop off the sample with the receptionist, as directed by the doctor.

13.  Learn that the receptionist at the Clinique Pediatrique no longer takes samples and you must take it to “the Center Hospital.”  Watch and listen as the receptionist points to exit signs and holds up one finger while saying, “One minute only.” 

14.  See a sign for “Municipal Hospital” and walk in that direction.  Say a little prayer that this is the Center Hospital and that your assumption is correct that the receptionist meant it is just a one minute walk. 

15. Send your husband a text and laugh at the absurdity that you’ve been carrying a cup of your child’s urine in your purse across town.  Say a prayer of thanks that you had a zip lock bag in your car.  And lots of alcohol based hand sanitizer. 

16. Enter the Municipal Hospital and ask the man at the entrance if he speaks English.  When he says that he does, retrieve your child’s urine sample from your purse, hold it up and show him the note from the doctor.  Wait for him to nod his head vigorously and say, “Oui, Madam.  You are in zee right place.”

17.  Begin the process of submitting the sample, which is much like registering for surgery.

18.  Listen as the man gives you directions up the stairs to the Laboratoire de Microbiologie, which is on Floor 1.  Look at him confused until you remember that in Europe, the ground floor is called Floor 0 and what we would call Floor 2 in the US, is Floor 1. 

19.  Take a wrong turn and cover your child’s eyes to shield them from an EMT bringing in a trauma patient on a gurney.

20. Find the Laboratoire de Microbiologie.  Silently cheer and do a dramatic fist pump.  Read the sign on the door that says it closes at 18:00.  Subtract 12.  That’s 6PM.  Look at your watch to see that it is 6:08.  Knock on the door anyways. 

21.  Ask the man who answers the door if he speaks English.  Again retrieve your child’s urine sample from your purse and hold it up, along with the note from the doctor.

22.  Breathe a sigh of relief when he says that he is the person to process it.  Return home and sanitize the inside of your purse.

23. Call the doctor’s office the next day to get the results.  Wait for the doctor to “ring you back.”

24.  Say a prayer of thanks that your child’s sample was normal and negative for infection.

25.  Then say another prayer that no one in your family requires a blood test in the next three years.

1 comment:

  1. Holy moly, that is insane! I'm glad she's ok, but it sure seems like there should have been an easier way to get that done. So did the doctor actually do anything for Hannah?